Thursday, June 10, 2010


I found this beautiful metal penguin ornament at the UNICEF gift counter in the basement of the United Nations building in New York City. It’s a simple cutout design with a cutout wing and a green finish on the penguin’s back, though it doesn’t show very well in the photo. I have another penguin ornament from the U.N. that you’ll hear about later, but it came from the U.N. gift shop, which is also downstairs near the UNICEF counter. I don’t know why, but penguin ornaments and Christmas cards are scarce at the U.N. gift shop, the UNICEF counter and the larger UNICEF store across the street. I go to the U.N. every year to mail my penguin Christmas cards, where the stamps are usually colorful and often convey a message of world peace. The U.N. operates post offices and issues different versions of its stamps at its facilities in Brussels, Geneva and New York. The rates at the New York office, also downstairs, are the same as the U.S. for domestic and international postage. There’s never a line, even at Christmas time, so I usually make time to visit the gift shops, the bookstore (yes, it’s downstairs too) and then see whatever temporary exhibit is on display in the entrance lobby. One year, a boys’ choir from a British school gave an impromptu concert of Christmas carols in the lobby while I was there. It’s one of my favorite Christmas memories.

Green and gold metal penguin with cutout wing
Acquired: December 2001, UNICEF gift counter, United Nations, New York
Number: 0174
Size: 4.25 inches tall

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