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One of my favourite parts of the festive season is decorating the Christmas tree. Over the years I’ve started a collection of baubles and tree ornaments from my travels and, to be honest, no trip is complete these days without trying to track a new one down. I don’t always manage it but I give it my best shot, and, in some cases, I’ve been known to repurpose objects (this festive koala from Perth is a prime example as it’s actually a keyring).

Festive koala

These are some of my favourites.  

New York

The ones that started it (and which are still my favourite) are a set of six hand-painted papier mache baubles from Bloomingdales depicting Santa in his sleigh in various New York scenes. I bought these on my first trip to the Big Apple in 2000 – you can tell their age by the fact that one of them depicts Santa’s sleigh flying past the Twin Towers. These are always the first ones I hang on my tree each year.

New York baubles


I took my nephew to Lapland when he was younger. We visited Santa in his log cabin, went husky dog sled riding and had a ride through the forest on a reindeer drawn sleigh so I couldn’t resist this ceramic reindeer as a reminder of our festive holiday.

Lapland Reindeer


My first visit to a European Christmas market was to Ghent in Belgium. Over the course of a weekend I ate and drank my weight in frites and mayonnaise, and hot chocolate and came home with this pottery bell and a smoking Santa (you pop a lit incense cone inside and, hey presto, he’s smoking a pipe). I’ll admit, it’s never worked all that well but he still looks good on the mantelpiece.

Disneyland Paris

I have two festive Mickey Mouses (Mickey Mice??) from Euro Disney – my favourite is disco ball Mickey, especially when the lights catch him.


I bought this glass Santa in Bremen and, while it’s pretty generic, I also have my Christmas market mug to remind me of that trip. You can read more about the Bremen Christmas market in this piece I wrote for International Desserts Blog.


I’ve just come back from a trip to Berlin and was spoilt for choice at the Christmas markets but, in the end I couldn’t resist these wooden figures of Ampelmann. If you’ve been to Berlin you’ll have seen these little dudes plenty of times as they’re the very cute stop and go symbols on pedestrian crossings.

As Berlin has so many Christmas markets we also came back with quite a collection of mugs – some of which I’ve already put to good use.

Berlin mugs

Isle of Man

Now that I no longer live there it’s always nice to have a reminder of home hanging on the tree – these two were a gift on my first Christmas in Spain by the super talented Alice Rose Fayle Design and depict a robin and puffin, two of my favourite birds.

Do you collect decorations on your travels?

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