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  • Writer's pictureChristine

Christmas Ornaments are Travel Treasures from Around the World!

I love Christmas, and one of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating my trees (yes, I put up two trees!).  I love to pull all of my ornaments out of the boxes and remember where each of them came from.

A picture of my Christmas tree lit up. The tree is decorated in gold and white lights and stands about 10 feet tall.

My “big” tree in my living room. This tree is decorated with gold and white lights, and holds my more expensive ornaments.

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Most of my ornaments have some sort of special meaning to me.  In some cases, they are ornaments that were passed down from my parents or grandparents.  I also have ornaments that I made when I was a little girl.  But my favorite ornaments are the ones that I bought during my travels.

I don’t buy a lot of souvenirs when I travel, but there are two things that I do buy to help me remember the places I’ve been.  I always buy a refrigerator magnet.  My refrigerator door is covered with magnets from many of the cities I’ve visited.  The other is a Christmas ornament to hang on my tree.

I had a feeling that a lot of my Tips2LiveBy readers did the same thing.  So, I asked everyone to send me pictures of some of their favorite ornaments while they were putting up their Christmas trees this year.

Here are their ornaments and their stories.

(By the way, the picture of the tree at the beginning of this article really is my tree.  I have always had a real tree in my living room and an artificial tree in my family room.  After the “Great Christmas Tree Crash of 2015” – my real tree fell over and broke a lot of my treasured ornaments – I decided to switch to an artificial tree in my living room this year.  The one I got is amazing, and I am SO happy with it.  It’s 10 foot tall and does not come pre-lit (I like to do my own lights).  For less than $400, it’s a great deal.  You can order it here.)


Julie is a friend I met during a cruise on the Douro River through Portugal earlier this year.  She loves to travel and loves to collect ornaments from her travels.  In fact, she’s the one that gave me the idea for this article!

A picture of a number of ornaments from lots of different locations laying out.

As you can see from this picture, Julie travels a lot and loves to collect ornaments from each of the places she’s been.

Julie sent me a lot of pictures of ornaments, and it was hard to pick just a couple to share.  One of my favorites, was this egg shaped ornament from her recent trip to St. Petersburg.  It’s a place not many people visit, and the painting on the ornament is absolutely beautiful.

An egg shaped ornament with blue, red and green colors. Painted on it are the words "St. Petersburg 2017".

This hand painted ornament was purchased during a recent trip to St. Petersburg.

My other favorite, was this silly one from the Florida Keys.  It makes me think of the sun and warm weather!

A picture of a man with a Merry Christmas hat on and it says its from the Florida Keys.

This guy would be a fun addition to any tree!


A picture of an angel ornament in a white dress.

Crete’s angel from New Zealand.

Ornaments that you buy with loved ones are always the most special.  Crete’s 90 year-old grandmother lives in New Zealand, and they bought this beautiful angel when she visited her several years ago.


Kris went on her honeymoon to Hawaii, and returned for her 5th wedding anniversary, so this ornament has special meaning.

A picture of a reindeer ornament.

This cute reindeer was purchased in Maui on Kris’ 5th wedding anniversary trip.

Kris has also traveled to several countries in Europe, and shared a couple of her favorites with us.

A red egg shaped ornament with a hand painted snowman on it.

This cute little snowman ornament was purchased in Austria.

A gold ball ornament with white trees painted on it.

Kris bought this beautiful gold ball in Ireland.


Sometimes the best memories are the ones you make close to home.  Kerry is from Toledo, OH (my hometown).  Ever since her daughter (who is now 11 years old) could walk, Kerry, her daughter and her Mom have had an annual tradition of spending a “girl’s day” and visiting the mansion at a local metropark.  Each year, the mansion is decorated for Christmas and is open to the public to visit.  Over the last few years, the tradition has expanded to include Kerry’s stepdaughter and sister.  Those memories make this one of Kerry’s favorite ornaments.

A picture of a plate shaped ornament that has a picture of the Manor House in a snowy scene.

Kerry’s special ornament from her annual visit to the Wildwood Manor House in Toledo, OH.


Jen is a lucky to have a job in the travel industry, which means she gets to go to a lot of cool places.  One of her most recent trips was to Panama, where she picked up this hand-made ornament.

A ball shaped ornament with pink and green colors and a banana.

Jen bought this ornament in Panama. It’s hand-painted and made from the shell of a tree nut.

Jen’s favorite ornament from her travels is from a trip she and her husband took to Iceland in 2011.  She purchased it in a little Christmas shop in Reykjavik that is only open for the holidays.  Iceland is famous for its wool, which is what the body of this ornament is made of.

An ornament with a large wool ball for a dress and a wooden head on top.

Kata the Icelandic Christmas angel was purchased by Jen and her husband in Reykjavik.


Kristen shared two ornaments with us.  The first was purchased on her honeymoon in Hawaii.

An ornament with Santa in a grass skirt and flip flops on.

Santa looks like he’s ready for a luau instead of snow!

Kristen also shared a favorite ornament from her family’s first trip to Disney.  Her daughter was 5, and her sons were almost 2 at the time.  Kristen loves this one because it’s an old-fashioned style ball, which are hard to find.

A Christmas ornament ball with a Disney scene painted on it.

I love the colors and the detail in this special ornament from Kristen’s first family trip to Disney.


Lori found an ornament treasure at a flea market.  Even though she didn’t travel to Japan to get it, the ornament came from there.  In fact, she thinks the ornament pre-dates WWII, as it has “Nippon” painted on it, rather than Japan.

An ornament of a girl dressed in a red and white Christmas outfit.

Lori found this cute little girl at a flea market. She thinks the ornament was made in Japan pre-WWII.


So what are my favorite ornaments?  I have so many that it’s hard to pick just two.  So, I decided to go with ornaments from two of my favorite places in the world.

Frankenmuth, Michigan is a little town just north of Flint.  The town is German-themed, with tons of little shops on the main street, and the best all-you-can-eat chicken dinner in the world.  Frankenmuth is also home to Bronner’s, which is the world’s largest Christmas store.

When I was growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Frankenmuth was just a couple hour drive from us.  My parents would take us up there every year, and let us pick out a special ornament.  Since we’ve moved to Philadelphia, I don’t get back as often as I’d like, but I still try and make a trip up there from time to time.  During my last trip, I picked up this ornament to represent my favorite Christmas store on my tree!

An ornament shaped like a shopping bag and filled with ornaments. It's a replica of the bags they use at Bronner's.

This is hung front and center on my tree to remind me of my favorite Christmas store!

One of my favorite places in the world is Poland.  I am of Polish decent, so the country holds a special place in my heart.  During our first visit there several years ago, I saw these two ornaments in a little shop in Krakow, and had to buy them.

A boy and girl ornament in red yarn snow suits.

My little Polish snow people! I love how they are all decked out in their winter attire!

So, there you have it – some of my reader’s favorite ornaments from around the world.  As you celebrate Christmas this year, I hope you have some ornaments on your tree that bring back special memories for you too!

Do you have a favorite ornament from your travels?  I would love to hear about it!  Comment below or e-mail me at

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