Rethinking Disney Souvenirs

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We started to take down our Christmas tree yesterday and I carefully packed away our ornaments. I am probably more sentimental about these ornaments than most anything else in our house. The thing I love about our Christmas tree is that I can see my life in ornaments. There is the ornament of the baseball player that I received the year I dated my first “real” boyfriend, the chalkboard ornament that represents my time as a teacher, the delicate angel ornament I received from one of my religious education students, the Disney ornament we purchased on our honeymoon, and different personalized ornaments that show the progression from a family of three, to four, to five.

As I wrapped up our Disney ornaments, most of which are souvenirs from our trips, it got me thinking. Souvenirs are not my thing. They just aren’t. The fact is we rarely return from Walt Disney World with souvenirs tucked safely in our suitcases. Why? Well that’s a good question and I’ve been trying to get to the root of it. First, I’m really not a shopper and I definitely like to stick to a budget. Then there is the clutter issue. I like everything in its place and to me anything that could qualify as a knick-knack or display item is really a dust-collector in disguise.

I realized that all our Disney souvenirs have a purpose and were all planned with the exception of one – my impulse buy. There isn’t anything very interesting about our planned souvenirs – a couple of t-shirts, Disney notepads that I use for my weekly grocery list, and Christmas ornaments.

The impulse buy that inspired this article is the set of twelve small, colored Christmas balls shaped like Mickey heads. I adore these ornaments. They are full of cheer with their bright colors and their small size means finding them nestled on our tree’s branches is a delightful surprise.

These Christmas balls almost never made it to our tree. My husband and I were on a Disney vacation alone when I purchased them. If I remember correctly, he was riding Tower of Terror which I can’t bring myself to go on because it DROPS, as in you feel as if you’re plummeting towards the hard and unyielding ground below (at least in my mind although my husband tells me it’s not like that at all). I had some time so I was browsing the gift shops and happened upon these ornaments. I wanted them but I walked away. After all, we already purchased our Disney Christmas ornament for the trip and I was determined to stick to the budget. They drew me back to the gift shop and I couldn’t resist my impulse buy.

Years later, I cherish these ornaments as we carefully hang them as the finishing touches to our tree. It saddens me that I almost didn’t purchase them because of my strict rules on souvenirs. The lesson I learned is that sometimes an impulse buy isn’t all bad. Sometimes you have to relax the rules and you’ll be richer for it in the end.

Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You can follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer or become a fan of Beyond the Attractions on Facebook.

  • Disney in Christmas: Celebrating at home (chipandco.com)
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