The Good: Good sculpt, Often can be found dirt cheap!
The Bad: Balance issue, Coloring is a little off, Seems small for the price, Underdetailed
The Basics: The 2012 In The Spirit ornament is an unremarkable Peanuts ornament that is more likely to make fans feel like they are being exploited than truly please them.
With the clock ticking down until the 2013 Hallmark Ornament Release Weekend, it is hard not to wonder just what franchises will be the most exploited this year. Last year, Star Wars fans were taken to the cleaners on exclusives and Hallmark blew out the Barbie line with enough ornaments to keep most fans looking for years. They also learned that exclusives from The Wizard Of Oz might not be the best way to go. For my money, I’m betting that the Peanuts ornament line churns out more ornaments for buyers to flesh out the Hallmark 2013 ornament line-up. The reason for my bet in that direction is simple: no likeness rights to be concerned with and, if 2012 was any indication, Hallmark seems happy to churn out Snoopy ornaments as filler, regardless of their inherent quality (or their lack thereof).
I find myself considering that whole idea as I look over the 2012 In The Spirit ornament, an ornament that was one of the few still on clearance at my local Hallmark shop now, eleven months after its initial release. Having closely inspected this ornament, its remaining on the shelves in not really a surprise.
The In The Spirit ornament features Snoopy from Peanuts wearing a reindeer antler hat with lights and holding a mug of egg nog. Woodstock sits perched atop his antlers, looking like he is finishing stringing the lights upon them. The sculpt is all right and the concept is fine, it is the execution of it that is comparatively less remarkable than many of the other ornaments, even the Peanuts ones.
The Hallmark In The Spirit ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the characters cast in very bright plastic. The sculpting is very simple; the antler horns are very wavy and (appropriately) not very sharp. The lights are very simple in their detailing and the most impressive aspect of the ornament might well be that Hallmark took the time to mold a straw into the egg nog mug.
However, what really lowers the In The Spirit ornament is the lack of sophistication to the coloring of the ornament. For sure, Peanuts fans have to expect monotones – no real depth or shading or attempt at realism to the coloring. But the In The Spirit ornament looks coloring book-simple. The colors are simple in an indescribable way that make the ornament look even more simple and less color-sophisticated than either the comic strip or the animated television show. If this were the coloring for an ornament based on a live-action work, I would probably say that it made the character look animated. In this case, it makes the animation-based character look like a parody of itself.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, In The Spirit could have a sound or light function, but it does not. This is a very basic ornament intended to be one of the more affordable options without flair. In that regard, it is fine; it does not need a light or sound function.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake In The Spirit ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Peanuts Christmas Tree, the In The Spirit ornament is mediocre at best on its own and poor when balance is added as a factor. Hallmark has the standard metal hook at the logical point, the top of Snoopy's head. However, from there, the antler upon which Woodstock is perched weighs the ornament down, causing the ornament to pitch awkwardly.
Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of virtually everything that has ever had collectibles associated with it (and some that Hallmark has pioneered). The In The Spirit ornament seems like it would appeal well to Peanuts fans, but it did not connect with collectors. Given that I could find it now for 90% off, it seems unlikely that this will be a good investment piece any time in the foreseeable future.
The lack of exceptional detailing, coupled with the price and the balance issue, make the In The Spirit ornament an impossible one to recommend.
For other Peanuts holiday ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 Onstage Antics
2012 Fisherman Snoopy
2011 Snoopy Claus
2011 Ho! Ho! Ho! Tasty Snow!
2010 "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"
2009 Just The Right Tree
For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page!
© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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