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Choosing an ornament theme that sells

Deciding what will be pictured on your ornament is the biggest decision you'll make in this project. You want it to be significant, perhaps historical, recognizable and of course, pretty. Making a good choice will bring you oohs, ahhs, positive PR and, most importantly, sales. But where do you start? What works? What sells? The good news is that you probably have many choices in your region.

Every community has its own history and flavor. The closer you can get to the heart of what makes your area unique, the more connected the residents will feel to this local ornament. Start by asking these questions:

  • How did our town begin? Towns tend to grow around industry and transportation. Was there a major waterway or train hub? Was the area suited to a particular type of farming, mining or tourism?
  • What is the area known for now? The county I live in is - no kidding - the Turkey Capitol of the World. Many people in the area are poultry farmers or are in some way connected to the industry. Tapping into this unique claim to fame would immediately get the attention of our residents. One caution on this topic: if the theme has been overdone or is very commercialized, pick something a little less known.
  • Who are our "famous sons"? If you look around your town, you are likely to notice that streets and buildings are named for people. But who were they? It's likely that these people contributed something positive to the community. Or maybe they left the community to do great deeds for the state or country.
  • What are those monuments reminding us of? Those carved stones downtown or at the park you've walked past a hundred times have a little plaque somewhere that recounts the heroism, bravery, and sacrifice of someone in the past. What did they do that was so important?
  • What do people love about this area? Maybe it's the mountain range to the east, a gazebo in the city park, or the marinas by the coast.

You local historical society is a wonderful place to find answers to these questions. Or, you might begin at your local library, chamber of commerce or visitors bureau.. Many communities (even small ones) have books or booklets that record significant landmarks. It needn't be a recent publication, either. A book published fifty or seventy-five years ago will give you a great perspective on which landmarks have remained important to the community.

Once you've identified a few areas of interest, it's time to focus on visual elements. Buildings are by far the most choice popular for several reasons: People in your town are familiar with them ("oh, isn't that on Main Street?"). They have likely been around for awhile and come with their own ties to people, industry and community. They also can be represented clearly in a drawing for recognition. (some examples that usually are not easily recognizable: animals, people, abstract scuplture.) Some tried and true favorites include your local courthouse, train stations, churches, lighthouses, and old school houses. 'The older, the better' is often true in this case. In fact, many ornaments have been done to commemorate buildings that no longer stand. It's a great way to memorialize recently razed buildings.

Some wonderfully creative and successful alternatives have included an iris garden, a crew team, mountain ranges with distinquishable peaks, bridges, modes of transportation (trolley, train, boat, etc.) and architectural details (an elaborate window).

If you are considering a series of ornaments, you might pick a repeating element. For example, a store in Butte, Montana features a different ore mine each year. The Baltimore Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary pictures a different Chesapeake Bay lighthouse. Many communties celebrate one church every year, and the Sons of the American Revolution choose a founding father for each edition.

By now, you've found some great motifs with ties to the heart of your hometown. It's time to gather up postcards, photocopies, brochures, sketches or photos and send them to us. (these don't need to be perfect - some snap shots will do nicely) We'll turn your research into a beautiful keepsake that will treasured for years to come!

LDA Creations
2328 Silver Lake Road
Dayton, Virginia 22821

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