Joy in July

Phillips' Hallmark store, 680 W. Washington St., has unveiled its Christmas ornaments almost six months before the holiday.

Collectors either preordered ornaments from the "wish book," the Hallmark catalog, in late spring or came in early on July 11.

Those who came were able to buy hard-to-find collectables such as Dorothy's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" and a snowmen-series collectible. These ornaments were shipped in small numbers to each store.

"This increases the collectability," said Willa Phillips, owner of the store for 15 years.

More than 20 people preordered ornaments that filled several large bags behind the front counter.

The most popular ornaments are those that are in a series and are recognizable characters such as Mickey Mouse and The Wizard of Oz, Phillips said.

"Everyone has an association to something, so it depends on who you are and what you like," said customer Maxine Simmons. She looks for tractors and Disney ornaments each year.

"I have one friend who has a whole tree devoted to Disney characters," she said.

Customers said they didn't find it odd to be buying ornaments more than five months before Christmas. Most said they were buying them as gifts or as collectibles.

Reach Matthew Nash at

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