We got our Christmas tree up over the weekend. It's a 4' artificial one, which I set on top of the piano - a tree standing on the floor always gets tipped over by the kids, and once it's on the piano, the additional height makes it reach almost to the ceiling. This year I decided that almost all the ornaments would be from India. We brought back some interesting ones from our time there, though we lose a few every year, it seems. Every year when I look at ornaments, I get annoyed to see that 90% of them are made in China. I try to avoid Chinese imports whenever I can, though for some industries, it's all but impossible. However, I draw the line at Christmas ornaments. I refuse to have ornaments on my tree made by a tyrannical, anti-Christian slave state. It's cynical on their part to make them, though I guess they don't care what brings in foreign money, but we have no excuse for buying them. India's no picnic for Christians right now either, but at least anti-religion isn't a basic tenet of their culture.
The thing about Indian ornaments that I like is that they're often a little weird. They're HEAVY, for one thing, made out of very solid materials, especially if they're metal. And some of them aren't specifically Christmas-oriented, like the papier-mache balls and bells. They can be painted with floral designs or geometric patterns, because in India they're often used as just regular house ornaments. I have a lot of little stuffed elephants with bells on them - elephants are a good luck symbol.
You can see the little red elephant at the bottom of the picture, under the decidedly NON-Indian American Republican Party elephant. That was a souvenir of our 3 years in Washington DC when we were first married - a fundraiser for the Republican Women's Organization. (I so regret not buying the 3-D Pentagon ornament!)
Here's a pair of ornaments I found at Canadian Tire this year:
You see what I mean about "not quite suitable" designs? A cocktail shaker and a martini glass. They were so cute, though, and as I said before, SOLID. The kids won't be able to break these, although the lid unscrews from the shaker, so I have to make sure they don't fiddle with it and lose it.
My favourite ornaments that we brought back from India are my Rajasthani horsemen. They're not Christmas ornaments at all, but I use them for that purpose, and they look so unusual and original. They're hand-made crafts, made from worn-out garments (often with mirror embroidery), and they have a horseman with a wooden head and cloth body riding a horse with string legs with bells for feet. Here are a few of them:
You'll notice that one of them is a 2-headed horse, sort of like a Pushme-Pullyou, and he's ridden by a two-faced horseman! I have another one of those, but James pulled the rider off and lost him, so now I have only the horse:
Tucked in among them you can see the occasional papier-mache bell or moon. They're not that bright, so they tend to disappear among the branches.