While traveling, especially on long trips, I try to find something at memorable destinations along the route to bring home that won’t end up becoming clutter … or add to my already massive collection of hoodies (personally I feel you can never own too many hoodies, but that’s another post topic!). So I search for ornaments for my travel themed tree. I started picking up ornaments at destinations starting in December 2008 when I snagged the first few while in Fredericksburg, Texas during their annual Christmas festival.
At some destinations I can find ornaments regardless of time of the year and at others, I’m searching for what seems like forever for something that I can convert into an ornament.
My favorite go-to trinkets that can convert to ornament status are patches, bookplates, and keychains. Keychains are ready to go — I use the keyring to hang it directly on the tree in most cases. Bookplates and patches need a little help, however, to hang on the tree.
Travel trinket in need of a way to hang on the tree (i.e. patch, bookplate)
Low temp hot glue gun + glue sticks
First, cut the ribbon in lengths that allow enough length to tie it in a knot and still have a reasonable amount of space to hang on the branch easily. Tie the ribbon into a knot.
Once your hot glue gun is warmed up & ready to go, squeeze a glob of glue (I know, real technical description) onto the back of the trinket. Take the knot end of the ribbon and press it into the glue. Hold it in place until the glue hardens.
Once the glue is completely hardened and cooled off, its ready to go on your tree!
Here’s a few examples of items I’ve converted into ornaments …
Beaded Fish keyring from the Chickasaw Cultural Center (as well as the Graceland keyring at the bottom of the image | Pops on Route 66 Bottle Opener | Stuffed Park Ranger Bear I found in 2013 became my new tree topper!
Patches from the Rock ‘n Soul Museum in Memphis, Monarch Pass, Colorado, & the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River, NM; keyrings from Moab, Utah and the Blue Swallow Motel on Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico + the sugar skull keyring I found at a shop on Route 66 in NM; bookplates from Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado and the OKC National Memorial; doorplate from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado (where The Shining miniseries was filmed; that room is haunted); hiking pole medallion from Arches National Park (I had to commemorate that hike somehow!)
All of these images were actually taken days before Christmas in 2013 … none of my decorations are up yet at home, so here’s a few more from last year since I’m sure I’ll slack like last year and not have a fully decorated tree until December 19th or later!