[Editor's note: This post first appeared at A Catskill Christmas in November 2007 and is repeated here for the 2010 Christmas season]
I realized at the beginning of this venture that I couldn't possibly make all the ornaments I needed, at least not in 2007. And I wanted to have glass ball ornaments on the tree. I can't make my own glass ball ornaments. Even Martha can't make her own, although it is rumored she is able to create air or dirt.
In October, I spent several hours scouring the Internet searching for glass ball ornaments that would meet my requirements. The ornaments had to be available in various sizes (from 1.25" diameter up to 4" diameter), specific colors (greens, golds, browns, etc.) and different finishes (matte and shiny). In addition, I wanted ornaments at a good price, with reasonable shipping costs, and packaged as to prevent damage.
Well here I can describe my adventure, what I bought and what I didn't buy, what I liked and what I didn't like. Let's call it the good, the bad and the ugly.
I can't recommend Christmas Lights Etc. enough. This was the first website I located that met most, if not all, of my requirements. I just felt that their prices were a bit high compared to others. But as my mother used to say, "You buy cheap, you pay twice." Boy was she ever right.
The selection of glass ball ornaments, not to mention lights and other items, from Christmas Lights Etc. is incredible! They have sizes from 1.25" diameter up to 7" diameter. Available finishes include matte, shiny, pearl, and metallic. And the colors! On some sizes and finishes they have 42 different shades and colors.
The ornaments arrived quickly and were expertly packaged. Here is a photo of the acrylic cylinders that they were packed in. There were no dings or scratches at all.
Here are the colors that I ordered in 1.25" and 2.75" diameters:
The colors, from left to right, are Chocolate, Cognac and Kiwi
The Bad and The Ugly
I really should rename that heading to The Sad and The Ugly. Here is what happened.
I located another vendor, Merchant Overstock, and found their website through Google. I spent quite a bit of time reviewing their selection and it seemed very similar to Christmas Lights, Etc. only not all of the shades were available. But the prices were lower.
Since I look on Amazon for absolutely everything (I even buy groceries there!), I thought I'd search for "matte green glass ball ornament" and lo and behold, the same ornaments were available. The merchant's name was Season's Designs but the items were sold and shipped by Merchant Overstock. Since I had lots of gift certificates on Amazon, I thought I'd use them for the ornaments.
I ordered 15 sets of ornaments for a total of 137 ornaments ranging from 1.25" diameter to 3.25" diameter. When they arrived, I had my suspicions that this was definitely a "surprise" package. I was unimpressed by the homemade box. I am not kidding - it was two boxes cut so and taped to form one box. To me, this means several things: a) the vendor is not known for its packaging; b) they wanted to avoid having a second box and save money on shipping; c) cheap.
I was very disappointed when I opened the items. The packaging was definitely different - no cylinders here - just plastic boxes and many of the ornaments were not sitting in their compartments properly. While only one ornament broke (out of 137 that isn't bad) many had scratches and dings on them. Scratches show up more on the matte finish than the shiny. Take a look for yourself.
Here are the colors I ordered:
The colors, from left to right, are Candlelight Gold, Chocolate Bronze, Dark Gold, Lichen Green, and Moss Green.
If I had known the quality of the ornaments from Merchant Overstock, I would have spent the extra money, and it was maybe a matter of 20 dollars, on the ornaments from Christmas Lights Etc. I guess the only thing worse I could have done was to buy them at Wal-Mart (aka Hillbilly Costco).
© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee