Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sad sack

I’m a sucker for long-faced penguins like this one. He looks like he doesn’t have a friend in the world or a penny to pinch. All he has is a little blue Christmas light bulb (probably burnt out) tied to a loop of silvery string. The label on this one said it came from a company called Merry, Merry Simply Christmas.

Sad felt penguin with Christmas light on a string, Santa hat and purple scarf
Acquired: Nov. 21, 2007, Sears Volusia Mall, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Number: 0411
Size: 6 inches tall
Price: $2.99

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stand clear!

Here come some fast-moving penguins, two on skis, one on a sled, and you’ve got to be on the lookout because these three see-through penguins might be hard to spot  as they rush downhill.

Clear acrylic skiers and sledder with silver highlights
Acquired: November 19, 2007, Macy’s Seminole Town Center, Sanford , Fla.
Number: 0408 0409 0410
Size: 2.25 to 2.75 inches tall
Price: $4.20 each (originally $7)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Snow globes

I like these two ornaments featuring a loving penguin couple and a family of three inside clear snow-filled and snow-covered globes. They look fragile, but the globes are plastic, not glass, which means I don’t have to worry too much about breaking them.

Two plastic globes with loving penguins and penguin family
Acquired: Nov. 19, 2007, Macy’s Seminole Town Center, Sanford, Fla.
Number: 0406 0407
Size: 4 inches tall
Price: $6 (originally $10)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A pair o' peppermint penguins

Sometimes I have a feeling that I might be buying a duplicate ornament, sometimes not. And it doesn’t matter if the two are a week apart or, like these two penguins, a year apart. It’s just impossible for my aging brain to keep track of all 800 plus penguins. One reason I started the blog was to give me access to the collection wherever I might be. We’ll see how it goes as we get closer and closer to Christmas.

Two glass penguins with Santa hats and peppermint-striped scarves
Acquired: November 19, 2007, Macy’s Seminole Town Center, Sanford, Fla.
November 16, 2008, Fountains of Wayne, N.J.
Number: 0405 0569
Size: 4 inches tall
Price: $6 (40 percent off); $7.99 (15 percent off)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Red hat and a candy cane

I went along for the ride with a group of relatives who were shopping for practical things like shoes and television sets. I slipped away here and there as we made our way around the mall and came home with a handful of ornaments, including this nice glass penguin from Macy’s that was on sale.

Acquired: Nov. 19, 2007, Macy’s Seminole Town Center, Sanford, Fla.
Number: 0404
Size: 3 inches tall
Price: $3.60 (originally $6)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Self-made penguins

These two penguins came from a kit that made four finger puppet ornaments. I bought it on the way to a family gathering for Thanksgiving. We had a good time putting them together, although it was difficult because they are so small. I remember it was especially tricky wrapping a black pipe cleaner around a paper cone for the body, gluing it down as you twisted it around. My great niece and great nephew, Hayley Brown and Cory McDonald kept two of them. I intended to take only the one I made, but I forgot to pack it although I assigned it a number. My brother mailed it to me later with some presents and I opened it on Christmas Day to find not one but two penguins inside. By that time I had added a number of other ornaments, so their numbers are not consecutive. If whoever made the extra ornament wants it, I’ll be happy to send it along. Meanwhile, both are happily ensconced at My Penguin Tree.

Do-it-yourself kit penguins
Acquired: November 18, 2007, Cracker Barrel, Walterboro, S.C.
Number: 0402 0445
Size: 4.75 inches tall
Price: $1.49

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hey! (repeat verse)

You can keep singing if you want, but these two penguins bring Jingle Bell Week to a close here at My Penguin Tree. They are both enjoying the winter weather in keeping with the mood of the song. One is on skis equipped with toothpick poles, and the other is gliding along on skates. So, jingle bell fans, I’m sure we’ll find a few more ornaments down the road, just not bunched together like we had this week. Today’s penguins represent another milestone in the ornament collection, taking me over the 400 mark. We still have hundreds of penguins to go, so stay tuned.

Round, green and blue penguins on skis and skates with dangling jingle bells by CBOCS, Lebanon, Tenn.
Acquired: Nov. 18, 2007, Cracker Barrel, Fredericksburg, Va.
Number: 0400 0401
Size: 4.5 inches tall
Price: $2.99 each

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In a one-horse open sleigh

Ditto from yesterday’s post on the title not matching today’s ornament, but it’s still Jingle Bell Week on My Penguin Tree until we run out of either lyrics or jingle bells or both. Like yesterday’s penguin, these two seem to be attired appropriately for dashing through the snow, and it looks like they’ve just come home from the woods with a freshly cut Christmas tree.  Oddly, one penguin has a normal ceramic body while the other’s body is a red jingle bell.

Stacked up penguins on a jingle bell by CBOCS, Lebanon, Tenn.
Acquired: November 18, 2007, Cracker Barrel, Walterboro, S.C.
Number: 0403
Size: 4.5 inches tall
Price: $1.99

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh what fun it is to ride

O.K., so the title doesn’t really match the ornament, but it’s Jingle Bell Week and I thought maybe the lyrics would help tie it all together. This jingle bell penguin might actually be suited up for a sleigh ride in his scarf and hat. They did a very nice job on the woven texture in the ceramic top half of the ornament. I found this penguin at a shop very close to where I live called Switzerland Old World Gifts. They have an amazing collection of beer steins, and enough clocks to drive you cuckoo.

Small green jingle bell body with ceramic head by The Boyds Collection, McSherrytown, Pa.
Acquired: November 11, 2007, Switzerland Old World Gifts, Tannersville, Pa.
Number: 0399
Size: 2.5 inches tall
Price: $2.99

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jingle all the way

Jingle Bell Week continues on My Penguin Tree with this crafty penguin whose body is a large, black jingle bell that’s painted white on the his belly.

Large jingle bell body with Christmas tree, Santa hat and candy cane scarf
Acquired: November 11, 2007, A.C. Moore No. 88, Stroudsburg, Pa.
Number: 0398
Size: 4.5 inches tall
Price: $2.99

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jingle bells, jingle bells

It’s Jingle Bell Week on My Penguin Tree. For whatever reason, jingle bells started popping up as a component on the penguin ornaments I was finding during a stretch of time in late 2007. They’re all close enough that I thought I could bunch them together and take care of them in one sweep. These four penguins each have a jingle bell head and a jingle bell body. The two top penguins, that hang as if they were flying, are identical. One of them I bought almost a year later than the other three, and I didn’t realize I was getting a duplicate.

Three jingle bell penguins
Acquired: October 14, 2007, Christmas Past, New Hope, Pa.
Number: 0390 0391 0392
Size: 3 inches tall, {flying) 3.5 inches long
Price: $2.95 each

Flying jingle bell penguin No. 2
Acquired: June 28, 2008, Jim Thorpe, Pa.
Number: 0488

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The tag on this penguin said “Nicole Quality Value, Mt. Laurel, N.J.”, which makes it sound like someone has a fun cottage industry putting together crafty ornaments. But it also had a “Made in China” label on the back. It’s very nicely done and maybe the least I ever spent on a penguin ornament.

Foam cutout with green scarf and hat
Acquired: November 11, 2007, A.C. Moore #88, Stroudsburg, Pa.
Number: 0397
Size: 4 inches tall
Price: 30¢

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Silver beauties

I bought these two pairs of penguins about a year apart. The first year they came with black velvet ribbon bow ties, but the next year they had red bows. The white and silver penguins have their wings outstretched and the black and silver ones have one wing raised.

Be Jolly Holiday Ornament silver, black and white penguins with black and red bow ties
Acquired: November 11, 2007, December 20, 2008, Target, Stroudsburg, Pa.
Number: 0395 0396 590 591
Size: 3.5 inches tall
Price: $2.99 each

Friday, September 17, 2010

Family value

This penguin family almost looks like a group of snowmen, but you can see their black wings and the tips of their golden toes. This is a really nice blown glass ornament that was a real bargain.

Glass family of three
Acquired: November 11, 2007, Target, Stroudsburg. Stroudsburg, Pa.
Number: 0394
Size: 3.25 inches tall
Price: $2.99

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Color coordinated

This penguin is an unusual color and has skis the same glittery shade of blue. It makes me wonder if it’s really supposed to be a penguin. The big belly and the tiny wings are proof enough for me.

Glittery blue skiing penguin
Acquired: November 11, 2007, Target, Stroudsburg, Pa.
Number: 0393
Size: 5 inches tall
Price: $4.99

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Clowning around

These three penguins look pretty goofy with their long, glittery, colorful hats, but the funniest thing about them might be their huge feet that wiggle when you touch them because they’re attached with springs instead of legs.

Knick Knackeries by Holly Adler set of three clown-like penguins with springy feet, Kurt Alder, N.Y., N.Y., made in China
Acquired: October 14, 2007, Christmas Past, New Hope, Pa.
Number: 0386 0387 0388
Size: 4.5 inches tall
Price: $7.95 each

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fun on the ice

You can tell they’re having a good time by the big grins on their long pointy beaks. The ice fishing penguin looks pretty happy with the big gift-wrapped fish he’s holding.

Kurt Adler pair of skating and fishing penguins
Acquired: October 14, 2007, Christmas Past, New Hope, Pa.
Number: 0384 0385
Size: 5 and 4.5 inches tall
Price: $9.95 each

Monday, September 13, 2010


If these two penguins weren’t hugging each other, I might want to hug them, they’re so cute. Those goofy wire feet make it possible to stand this ornament on its own, a feature that comes in handy when you run out of room on your Christmas tree.

Raz Imports chubby hugging pair, made in China
Acquired: October, 14, 2007, Christmas Past, New Hope, Pa.
Number: 0383
Size: 3.25 inches tall by 4.25 inches wide
Price: $7.95

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Suiting up for Santa

These look like the same four penguins from yesterday’s post although they are not identified by name. I bought them all the ornaments at the same time, but never made the connection until now. I’ll have to check to see if they were released in separate years.

Hallmark Tip-Top Santa South Pole Pals
Acquired: October 5, 2007, Jay’s Hallmark, Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York
Number: 0381
Size: 4.75 inches tall
Price: $16.50 each

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dressed for the holidays

These four penguins making holiday preparations have names. Flip is wearing reindeer antlers, Skip is baking cookies, Tip is entangled in Christmas lights and Scooter is adorned with angel’s wings and a halo. The detail shows the backs of Skip and Scooter. The backs of the other two are plain so I didn’t include them.

Hallmark South Pole Pals
Acquired: October 5, 2007, Jay’s Hallmark, Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York
Number: 0377 0378 0379 0380
Size: 2.25 to 3 inches tall
Price: $10 each  

Friday, September 10, 2010

Something fishy

The box for this ornament says the Eskimo is making fish flavored ice cream for his penguin friend. It ‘s part of a long-running series designed by Hallmark artist Sharon Visker.

Hallmark 2007 Frosty Friends (No. 28 in series)
Acquired: October 5, 2007, Jay’s Hallmark, Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York
Number: 0376
Size: 2.25 inches tall, 3 inches wide
Price: $12.50

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kris Kringle, part VI: Last, but . . .well . . . least

Marge took her time wrapping each of the eight ornaments I bought in recycled pieces of bubble wrap, a nice personal touch, like her handwritten price tags that you can see in some of the pictures, or her receipt which said “31MAR” that ran off the edge of the paper. Marge put this smallest skating penguin in its own oversized plastic bag so it wouldn’t get lost on my trip home. You can see how tiny it is by the size of the metal hanging hook in the photo. That’s an ordinary wire Christmas tree hanger. The ornament has some markinsg on the bottom. It’s hard to make out, but I think the writing says “© 1991 Hmk. Cds.” Also there is a tree emblem with the number 4 that indicates this ornament is fourth of a series. I believe this is also the last of the series, and it’s also the last of the penguins from Kris Kringle. I asked Marge if she thought she might find some new collectible penguins to replace the ones I bought and she said she would let me know. I left her my email address and phone number, but I never heard from her.

Hallmark 1991 Penguin Pal tiny skater sitting on his bottom
Acquired: Sept. 2, 2007, Kris Kringle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Number: 0374
Size: ¾ inch tall
Price: $6.95

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kris Kringle, part V: Chilly Willy

These Chilly Willy ornaments really brought back some memories. He was the creation of Walter Lantz, who is more famous for his Woody Woodpecker, my favorite cartoon character. I liked Woody, not because he was any funnier than Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse and their friends, but because of his infectious staccato laugh and because I could do a pretty good drawing of him when I was very young. Willy probably made an impression too, though I don’t remember trying to draw him. I mentioned to Marge that the pole was broken on the fishing Chilly Willy, thinking she might have another copy. But most of the ornaments in her store are one-of-a-kind. She sought out collectibles like the Hallmark serial issues. “I’ll give it to you half off,” she said.

Fishing Chilly Willy
Acquired: Sept. 2, 2007, Kris Kringle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Number: 0372
Size: Fishing, 4.5 inches tall; skating, 3.5 inches tall
Price: $5 (half off from $9.99)

Skating Chilly Willy
Acquired: Sept. 2, 2007, Kris Kringle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Number: 0373
Size: Fishing, 3.5 inches tall; skating, 3.5 inches tall
Price: $6.95

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kris Kringle, part IV: Mom and Pop

There was no one in the store that day except me and Marge, the owner, who got into the Christmas business when she bought a box of ornaments at an auction and started selling them at street festivals with her husband. One thing led to another and Kris Kringle was the result. Her husband had died about ten years earlier, but she kept the shop open, even though she said it didn’t really make that much money, because she loves it, and just in case her grown children wanted to keep it going. In the back of the store was a shelf filled with toys from fast food kiddie meals to keep her grandchildren busy. I wandered through the store until I found the penguin cache where Marge caught up with me. “I wasn’t going to be open today, but I thought I would get some things done,” she told me. I still can’t believe how lucky I was to find this amazing place, a “mom-and-pop” shop that would be just like one I might have liked to own myself.

Hallmark 1989 Mom and Dad skaters
Acquired: Sept. 2, 2007, Kris Kringle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Number: 0370
Size: 2.5 inches tall
Price: $9.75

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kris Kringle, part III: beak to beak

I always have a feeling of wonder when I walk into a Christmas store. When you step through a Christmas shop doorway, you leave the busy everyday world outside and spend a few moments surrounded by all the colors and lights, sometimes music and aroma, that evoke memories of childhood joy, family tradition and earthly peace. When I went into Kris Kringle, I knew I was in an extraordinary place. First of all, it didn’t look like a store, but more like the home of an eccentric who obsessively added Christmas decorations year round and never took any of them down. And it was orderly. Here were the antique Santa figurines. There were all the wild animal ornaments. The snowmen had their own aisle. And the penguins were neatly arranged on their own little tree. I picked it pretty clean, but I left behind several ornaments that I already owned. Here’s another one of the ornaments I bought that day, two penguins, each with it’s own hanging loop, but glued together at the beak.

Hallmark felt kissing penguins attached at the beak
Acquired: Sept. 2, 2007, Kris Kringle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Number: 0369
Size: 4 inches tall
Price: $4.50

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kris Kringle, part II: hollow head

I headed for Scottsdale, hoping to find some local flavor for dinner and also hoping to find some gift shops, maybe even a Christmas store. I didn’t know where I would wind up, but I began to worry when all I could see were fast food chain after fast food chain and not much in the way of boutiques. McDonalds, Burger King, even Taco Bell, were the only restaurants I could see. I was even ready to settle for a Carl’s Jr. as I grew hungrier and hungrier. Finally, I spotted a place that was brightly painted and had splashes of neon signs in its windows. Better yet, there was a multi-level parking garage next door. And it looked like I had arrived in the heart of old Scottsdale with several shops in view. I parked in the garage and walked toward the exit near the restaurant. As I came out of the garage I could see a shop directly across the street with a sign in huge letters that said, “Kris Kringle.” I couldn’t believe my luck. Unfortunately, the store was dark and the neighborhood seemed deserted, not surprising because it was rather late on a Saturday. But a sign on the door said the store would be open the next day. Here’s another one of the ornaments I found when I went back. It’s a hollowed out ceramic penguin head, which seems like it might have a functional purpose, but it’s too big to be a finger puppet or a thimble.

Ceramic penguin head, made in China
Acquired: Sept. 2, 2007, Kris Kringle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Number: 0368
Size: 1.5 inches tall by 2.25 inches wide
Price: $5.95

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Kris Kringle, part I: the real thing

While I was making plans for a convention trip to San Diego, I couldn’t help noticing that Anaheim and Phoenix where kind of in the neighborhood. These were three cities where I needed to see baseball games in order to complete my tour of all the Major League ballparks. So I devised a plan to fly in to Phoenix, drive to San Diego for the convention, and then drive back to Phoenix to fly home. I was hungry when I arrived back in Phoenix and I also wanted to see a little bit of the city during my short stay there. Oh, yeah, I also thought I might be able to find a penguin ornament. Well, I found several, including this tiny realistic emperor, in Scottsdale at Kris Kringle, the coolest Christmas shop I’ve ever seen. I’ve already posted another one of the penguins I bought back in April when I needed to post an Easter egg shaped ornament. For the next several days I’ll be posting the rest along with more about this amazing store.

Small realistic emperor
Acquired: Sept. 2, 2007, Kris Kringle, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Number: 0367
Size: 2 inches tall
Price: $4.99

Friday, September 3, 2010

Out of my gourd

I was in San Diego for a journalism conference and had a free afternoon one day. I did two things. I drove to Los Angeles to see a game at the stadium in Anaheim and I found a souvenir penguin Christmas tree ornament. The baseball game was easy, but finding a penguin Christmas ornament in southern California in September took some work. I thought I might have my best chance in Old Town San Diego, an artsy-crafty area mixed in with some historic buildings. I found some penguins in a nifty soap store, but they were neither soap, nor Christmas ornaments so I took a pass. There were a few Christmas tree ornaments in some of the shops, but not any penguins. I went up and down each street and alley and poked my head in almost every door. Nothing. The last shop had a front and back entrance. I walked in, looked around, saw nothing and was prepared to accept defeat. But as I walked out the back door and looked to my right, I saw this painted gourd along with several other gourdy critters hanging on a pegboard. From there it was on to Anaheim to check another baseball stadium off my list. Two missions accomplished.

Painted gourd
Acquired: September 1, 2010, Old Town San Diego
Number: 0366
Size: 4 inches tall
Price: $15

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three wise penguins

For some reason, these three winter sports enthusiasts have taken on the guise of the three wise monkeys from Japanese lore — See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil. Maybe they represent Ski No Evil, Sled No Evil and Skate No Evil.

Kurt Adler ceramic trio of sledding, skating and skiing penguins in the guise of the three wise monkeys
Acquired: July 21, 2007, Christmas Cottage, New York
Number: 0362 0363 0364
Size: 3 to 3.5 inches tall
Price: $3.95 each

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Felt brigade

Here are some sets of felt penguins from different places that are all the creation of Hannah’s Handiworks. The four colorful penguins came from Christmas Cottage in midtown Manhattan. I found the beige set at Christmas Past in New Hope, Pa. The beige penguins have a unique feature. They can be squished or stretched to be different heights. I’d love to see what’s going on inside, some kind of spring mechanism that sticks when you stretch or squash the penguins.

Hannah’s Handiworks felt penguin heads and full-body penguins with red and green knit scarves and hats, made in China
Acquired: July 21, 2007, Christmas Cottage, New York
Numbers: 0358 0359 0360 0361
Size: 8 to 10 inches tall
Price: $9.95 each

Hannah’s Handiworks beige felt stretchy penguins, made in China
Acquired: January or February 2009
Numbers: 0617 0618
Size: 10 inches tall
Price: $4.50 each