Hallmark is a household name we’ve all grown up with. It’s the brand that revolutionized greeting cards and keepsakes and a name that we trust. Hallmark is the brand that has literally taken the words out of our mouths, and their incredibly written cards and the deep sentimental value of their keepsake ornaments have all made us look good at one point or another. So to be writing about this upcoming collaboration between Lowrider magazine and Hallmark is one that is as joyous as it is humbling and an honor.
As part of our collaboration, I was invited to spend a day at the Hallmark lab, which is simply unreal. To be working with them to create and produce an upcoming Keepsake Holiday Collection is something that dreams are made of. For this specific project we are working on producing three classic Christmas Lowrider ornaments, which will be released sometime soon.
To get things kicked off, we took a flight to Kansas City, Missouri. Once we arrived, we shot straight over to Hallmark to sit down with their Keepsake artists, and what they showed us was mind-boggling. The artisans broke out a full array of wax molds and conceptual pieces that were incredible. Among the series of pieces being showcased were a barrage of lowrider model designs that will soon land themselves on store shelves near you; this special edition is sure to be a collectible that you do not want to miss out on.
Stepping foot into the Hallmark facilities was more of an experience than it was a moment. The massive space encompassed a world of art that was mesmerizing and the positive energy and sheer force of the building was enough to make you realize just how legit they are. Once you arrive, it only takes a few seconds to feel like you’ve landed in Christmas heaven. There are thousands of Keepsake decorative creations. Some were complete, others were prototypes, but in all, each of the artists’ offices felt more like a sanctuary of art than a workstation.
Aside from going over plans and getting a complete tour of the facility we spent many hours getting to know the staff. During our visit, we had the chance to meet each of the artists and the hospitality was unreal. Looking back, we were able to receive some feedback about their history, and Hallmark execs told us that the history of decorative ornaments and Christmas trees first appeared in America in the 1700s. In fact, decorated trees were brought to America by Hessians—German mercenary soldiers fighting in the Revolutionary War—but didn’t become widely popular until people saw the ornaments brought to America by families emigrating from Germany and England in the 1840s.
In 1973, Hallmark introduced a small line of six glass ball ornaments and 12-yarn figures as the first collection of Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments. The longest-running current ornament series is Frosty Friends, which is celebrating its 35th year of production. Since the line’s inception, Hallmark has introduced more than 8,500 Keepsake Ornaments and more than 100 ornament series. More than 500 local chapters of the national Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Club are active in the United States and Canada and their following is one that has grown exponentially year after year.
More than just a holiday decoration, Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments are a huge part of family traditions. Families place their ornaments on their trees, and behind the decor is a spiritual bond that captures plenty of great memories spent with loved ones.
From its long-running series to newly licensed properties, there is a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament available to deck anyone’s tree. Inside their collection you will find uncommon artistry that uses high-end materials and embellishments, including glass, porcelain, and fabric to embody these keepsake ornaments, and in light of that, we spent the entire day not only going over paint schemes and designs for the Lowrider series of ornaments but mostly getting to know the Hallmark family of artists and listen to their stories and converse about figurines they have created by hand or by 3-D computer over the years.
In closing, we would like to thank Hallmark Cards and Keepsakes’ Mike Brush, Tracy Larsen, and Deanna Munoz for all their effort and support, as well as everyone at Hallmark for the warm welcome and for believing in the Lowrider Culture. To be able to collaborate and have a hand in the concept on an ornament series that will be of heirloom quality, and to see the Lowrider logo (plaque) on these upcoming releases, is truly another milestone for the lowrider lifestyle. So as we make more progress, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date so you can look out for the release of these Keepsake Ornaments, which will be available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide and online at hallmark.com.
According to Hallmark research, the top five reasons for customers buying and displaying Christmas tree ornaments are as follow:
1) Commemorate a milestone
2) Recall a special or specific memory
3) Represent a child or grandchild on the tree
4) To one day pass along the ornaments as heirlooms
5) Express the individual’s personality