Yes, I am at it again!
Adding yet more ornaments to my Christmas in July tree which is, really, just my Easter and Halloween tree pressed into triple duty.
The Christmas in July tree is nowhere as lavish as my December efforts but still, it’s fun to bring some of the old ornaments out, add some new ones to the mix, and for an extra month, glory in Christmas arriving early, and importantly for Australia where the festive season is always hot, when it’s cold.
No one in Australia feels like we miss out by having Christmas in summer because that’s what we grow up with and we love it, but it’s fun to also experience some form of it in the colder months which is, let’s face it, all the traditional tales of the season take place.
The Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland)
I have a weird confession to make – I have never actually read Lewis Carroll’s classic fish-out-of-water tale Alice in Wonderland (AiW). I have a biography of the author but I have read his work which must be readied as soon as I can get to my copy of AiW which is buried, like so much else, under the endless books in my TBR pile. Until that literary excavation takes place, I will comfort myself with the fact that I have watched and loved, and continue to love, Disney’s animated take on the tale in which the Mad hatter is gloriously, hilariously and rather engagingly mad. As delightfully quirky characters go, he is a gem, and while he may be mad to Alice, and to us, he is very much at home in his own wonderfully skewed world. Grabbing this Grolier ornament was a joy because despite owning many of the brand’s sublimely detailed creations, I had never come across it, and of course, while I snapped up the Mad Hatter, I also had to grab Alice because one cannot hang on the tree without the other.
Bernard (The Rescuers)
I adore, ADORE, Bernard from The Rescuers. He’s the sweetest, loveliest, most devoted fellow, and while he and Miss Bianca are best known from the 1977 Disney animated film, it’s the six books by British author Marjery Sharp (with illustrations by Gareth Williams) that enchanted me back in the 1970s, such that, even I no doubt would’ve borrowed them from the local library – for a small town of 3000, we had an excellent, brilliantly well-stocked library – I spent much of my pocket money for months buying the series up at Dymocks bookshop in Lismore. I fell in love with these two characters, how devoted they were to each other and their marvellous adventures rescuing the less fortunate or in trouble among us. The best part is that the movie captured the spirit of the book and the integrity of the characters beautifully, evoking everything I loved about the books and even, rather remarkably, adding something extra too.
Pizza Planet truck (Toy Story – Pixar)
Let’s hear for Pixar’s Pizza Planet truck! First featured in 1995’s Toy Story film, which is why is Buzz Lightyear and Woody are waving from the windows in this gorgeous Disney Sketchbook ornament, the vehicle is, according to the Pixar fandom wiki, “1978 Gyoza Mark VII Lite Hauler pickup truck” which “has made cameos in every Pixar film to date except The Incredibles“. It’s one of the many Easter eggs that make their way into every Pixar film and keep the eagle-eyed among us hooting with glee whenever we spot them. I love the way Pixar bundles in these small bits of detail because they underscore yet again how devoted the animation studio is to making beautifully complete works of animation art.
Stitch (Lilo and Stitch)
Speaking of engagingly sweet and lovable characters – well, we weren’t directly but we are now – that is not how you’d describe Stitch from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch (2002) who is created by evil alien genius Dr. Jumba Jookiba, and originally named Experiment 626, as a being who is “bulletproof, fireproof, and can think faster than [a] supercomputer [whose] only instinct… to destroy everything he touches!” Appealing huh? Well, as it turns out, when you get to know the guy, who is not in any way shape or form classically beautiful, and people like Lilo and Nani do, he actually “cute and fluffy”. He also makes for a very cute Disney Sketchbook ornament that looks playfully destructive on my Christmas in July tree.
Charlie Brown thermos (Peanuts)
After making his first appearance in Charles M. Schulz’s long-running and much loved comic strip Peanuts on 2 October, 1950, Charlie Brown, along with Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the gang went on to win hearts absolutely everywhere. The perennial insecure loser who can’t seem to catch a break, and who is usually loved and identified with by so many people because feel exactly the same – the fact is Charlie Brown is way more loved and better at life than he self-perceives, again true of so many of us – one of the many things that bedevil Charlie Brown is baseball. While he’s ostensibly the team manager, no one really pays him any attention, and much of the fun of his attempts to engage in one of America’s favourite pastimes is watching him and try and fail to be even a little successful at the game. It’s all captured in this gorgeous Hallmark ornament which has the lovely retro feel of the lunchboxes and thermos of old, a souvenir of childhood that neatly chronologically matches the eternal 1950s timeframe of Charlie’s own growing up which, happily for us, will never really end.