The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 4, 2012

National signing event being staged in Joplin for Hallmark ornament collectors

JOPLIN, Mo. — Christmas “elves” are scurrying in the wee hours this morning after a busy night for Christmas “angels.”

The “angels” are members of the local “Bright Christmas Dreamers” club who collect Hallmark Christmas ornaments. They, along with Hallmark representatives and local retail stores, are staging a national event in Joplin for collectors.

The “elves” are the 178 Hallmark collectors who plan to line up before dawn today outside Amanda’s Hallmark Shop, 1651 W. Seventh St., to get a chance to buy ornaments made especially for the Joplin event and for signings of the ornaments by three Hallmark artists who participated in designing them.

 Members of the public may attend the event as well. Appointment times will be assigned for the signing event starting at 10 a.m. outside the store. Signings will take place from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Members of the local club get first dibs inside the store at 8 a.m.

Retired artist Linda Sickman and senior sculptors Kristina Gaughran and Ruth Donikowski will do the signings. They are among those who create ornaments for the “Keepsake” line.

A banquet was held Friday night at the Butcher’s Block Banquet Center where the artists were introduced, and dozens of Hallmark door prizes were handed out by the “angels.”

Club member Barbara Hogelin said the Bright Christmas Dreamers won one of four grand prizes awarded by Hallmark. It entitles clubs to hold the events. Hogelin said the process is competitive and the Joplin club won by making a chronicle of the 2011 year in Joplin on a video, using a Hallmark calendar and ornaments to mark significant dates. Club members started making the movie on Jan. 1, 2011, and little did they know then the year would bring about a February blizzard topped by an EF-5 tornado in May that destroyed about a third of the city. Karon Wheat Debby Woodin 8/3/12 stetand Heather Cantrell shot the video. It will be shown continuously at the Amanda’s store today.

“It’s a real privilege to win one of these events,” Hogelin said.

Hogelin said Hallmark collectors donated about 7,000 ornaments to replace Christmas decorations lost by Joplin residents, and those were distributed last November.

Donna Garrigan, president of the club and manager of Amanda’s, said Hallmark has the contest for the signing events every other year. “There are two exclusive ornaments you can only get at a signing event,” she said.

That’s what many collectors like about Hallmark, some of them said.

Tommie Kukes of Springfield was at the banquet with her aunt, Lori McDaniel of Duncanville, Texas. McDaniel formerly owned a Hallmark store and hooked Kukes on collecting 20 or so years ago. Kukes now owns more than 1,000 pieces, she estimates, which she uses to decorate three Christmas trees in her home during the holiday season.

Asked what attracted them to the ornaments, McDaniel said, “Quality. There’s a lot of pretty ornaments, but Hallmark’s are just so unique and such good quality.”

“They appeal to so many different interests,” Kukes said.

Garrigan said she had no concerns that the event would draw a crowd.

“Hallmark puts it on their website. We didn’t really have to advertise it. There are very dedicated collectors out there, and they find out about them and just come.”


Proceeds from tickets to the Friday night banquet will be donated to local nonprofit organizations: Southwest Missouri Alliance, Breast Cancer Awareness, Ronald McDonald House, New Hope Services/Special Olympics, and Children’s Haven.


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