{seasonal style} Eclectic Ornaments of Christmas

What is your favorite Christmas ornament? Is it a special family heirloom passed down through the generations? Pom poms and glue made my your kids at school? Or maybe a new ornament that was just too pretty to pass up? Today I've joined with 14 of my home decor blogging friends to share the story behind some of the most meaningful ornaments in our eclectic collections. My pick comes from over 9,000 miles away...

I have always loved to travel, and I began collecting travel related ornaments many years ago - a combination of ornaments purchased abroad, globe and other travel themed ornaments bought close to home, and even DIY map ornaments that document each of our vacations. 

Two years ago, Scott and I had the opportunity to check one of the major trips off of our bucket list - a safari in South Africa. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience packed with incredible memories. We went spent the days going on early morning and late afternoon game drives to watch the animals in their natural habitat - we saw a family of elephants hugging, saw a mother giraffe with her new born baby, watched a lion track her pray, and walked with in feet of a cheetah eating a recent kill. We even did a cage dive with great white sharks {you can read that story here}.

One of my favorite mornings was spent exploring a beach along the Indian Ocean before taking a boat cruise along the St. Lucia Estuary to visit the resident hippos. These giants might look slow and lumbering, but they are actually widely recognized as Africa's most dangerous animal. They are easily frightened, aggressive, and fast... a scary combination for an animal that is often found wandering the streets of St. Lucia at night, and a frequent visitor to hotel swimming pools. The sheer volume of signs warning of the danger is quite telling...

But viewed from the safely of a tour boat, these animals are absolutely incredible to watch playing and fighting in the water!

Along the drive from our lodge to the St. Lucia Estuary, our guide, Paul, made numerous stops for animal and bird sightings, and to share a few local tastes with us. At one point, he picked a monkey apple and cut it open for everyone to have a bite {it's delicious, but tastes more like honeydew than an apple}.

Later that day, as we were disembarking from our boat cruise, a man was sitting by the river hollowing out monkey apples and carving them into tea light ornaments.

I knew this would be the perfect addition to my collection of travel ornaments, so I chose one with a carving of two hippos and a marula tree. Keeping this delicate ornament safe through the rest of our travels around South Africa, and in our luggage for the long flight home, was quite a challenge, but it made it back safely and it is now one of my very favorite ornaments in my collection!

Thanks for letting me share the story behind my monkey apple ornament with you! Now, here are the favorite ornaments selected by my fellow bloggers. It's a great collection of old, new, DIY, and kid crafted. Follow the links below to learn what makes each of these ornaments so unique and special.

Eclectic and Meaningful Christmas Ornaments

I would love to see your favorite, most meaningful ornaments, too! Share them on Instagram and be sure to tag me!


  1. how special is that?!?! and i TOTALLY want a beware of hippos at night sign... that is awesome! i mean, i know it's real, but it made me giggle.

  2. I love love love that you have a travel ornament collection! We just collect mugs ahahaha
    But seriously, did you get close enough to a hippo? I feel like that would be a walk on the wild side!
    Love the ornament and the story behind it. Great choice!

  3. Oh wow! I absolutely loved reading the story behind your ornament, Angela! That's so awesome - thank you for sharing!

  4. We collect travel ornaments too! But we've never been able to do something as cool as an African safari! I loved hearing your story!

  5. What a great story!! A truly eclectic/global ornament. Enjoyed seeing your travel pictures.

  6. I love stories like this one. How inspiring to add more than just a traditional ornament. This is something I need to do more often....ornaments with a backstory. Thank you for sharing.

  7. What a great story!!! I love this ornament so much! Definitely speaks to my global aesthetic . :)