A Star-Spangled Holiday
By Jen Chaney
This holiday season, many people are planning to deck their halls with boughs of holly ... and Americana.
Given the now-common display of U.S. flags on cars and homes, it should come as no surprise that patriotism is the hot trend in holiday decor. And the Washington area is stocked with stores that are selling Christmas ornaments that celebrate America.
At The Christmas Attic in Alexandria, demand for patriotic ornaments already has reached a fever pitch.
"This is like nothing I've seen in my thirty years in business," says Nina Whitesel, owner of three Christmas Attic stores in Virginia as well as House in the Country, another Alexandria shop. "It reminds me of the wave of patriotism this country saw during World War II."
Despite the demand -- the week of Thanksgiving there were 300 people on a waiting list for Christopher Radko's red, white and blue glass "Braveheart" ornament -- the Attic is well stocked with pro-American ornaments. In addition to a variety of Radko's glass ornaments, the proceeds from which will be donated to the American Red Cross, Whitesel is also selling hand-painted egg ornaments. One egg ornament features pictures of the Statue of Liberty, American flag, the Mayflower and Betsy Ross's house; another depicts the White House, Capitol and Washington Monument.
Miniature replicas of the Capitol and White House are popular purchases, as are tiny Colonial soldiers dressed in red, white and blue. And at House in the Country, Whitesel is selling ornamental representations of each state in the union in red, white and blue. Decorations at both stores range in price from $5 to $40.
Hallmark is known for its annual collection of Christmas ornaments, which range from traditional to kitschy-cute. Its contribution to the patriotic scene is "America For Me!" -- a reproduction of the American flag circa 1777. The Hallmark Web site states that the item is temporarily out of stock, but this reporter recently spotted a few at the Hallmark store in Montgomery Mall. It sells for $9.95.
Bloomingdale's carries Christopher Radko's line of hand-painted glass items, including his Big Apple Ornament ($25), which merges the image of a shiny red apple with the New York skyline. Other tree-trimming homages to the big city are available at Bloomie's: a gold-plated commemorative firefighter ornament which recreates the Iwo Jima-like image of rescuers raising the flag at the World Trade Center site ($15); a silver-plated New York skyline, the proceeds from which go to the Red Cross ($24); and a porcelain reproduction of the Times Square New Year's ball ($10.99). Perhaps the most appropriate decorating choice for this holiday season is Bloomingdale's limited edition sterling silver World Peace ornament ($25). Restoration Hardware also pays tribute to New York City with solid brass Statue of Liberty and Skyscraper ornaments, each for $7.50.