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Ten Thousand Villages 2012 Ornaments

Ten Thousand Villiages 2012 Ornament Collection {The Tree Topper (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)}

Ten Thousand Villages 2012 Ornaments

Ten Thousand Villages is focused on fair trade practices as a nonprofit, charitable 501(c)(3) organization. In operation since 1946, the company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of artisans in thirty-eight countries. And they are stocked with plenty of Christmas decorations online and in their stores at incredibly reasonable prices.

En route to meeting my girlfriend Nona for dinner one night I stopped in to the Ten Thousand Villages store in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. I was impressed by the variety of handcrafted products and the history of the company. I was particularly taken by the blue and white collection of decorations.

There is an equally impressive number of ornaments and tree toppers on the Ten Thousand Villages web site. Below are the ones that I liked the best. As with every other store, there are owls!

Ten Thousand Villages Quizzical Owl Christmas Ornament

The wisdom of ages with an adorable face, handcrafted in smoked capiz and wire.

Capiz is the thin, off-white shell of clams. Artisans wash the shells with soap and water. Next they soak the shells in a weak acid solution. After the shells have dried, they are cut into shapes, edged with brass wire that is soldered together. The piece is then smoked to achieve the lovely burnished appearance. A wire edge and a shiny coat of varnish complete this labor intensive process. Before glass windows became available in the Philippines, capiz was used for windows in the houses.


Ten Thousand Villages Bovine Yoga Christmas Ornament

Bovine yoga: Because even farm animals need to de-stress after a long day of work. A whimsical ornament, handcrafted in painted bread dough.

Bread dough folk art in Ecuador has its origins in Roman Catholic and Indian traditions. For the Day of the Dead in early November, families honor deceased relatives by placing simple bread dough figurines by their grave sites. In some regions, figures are made for the Procession of the Christ Child, a Christmas festival, and Godparents Day before Lent.


Ten Thousand Villages Bright Ayacucho Star Christmas Ornament

Exquisite hand-painted paper stas show a level of detail and skill not often seen. Jorge Chavez, originally from Ayacucho, has started a workshop in his community to recreate the art of the past. For the past 12 years, Chavez has specialized in traditional Ayacucho-style retablo and imagery art. This paper star ornament is a modern interpretation of this famous folk art. Chavez cuts the star shape out of cardboard, and he and his family members paint each star shape by hand. A string is placed between two star faces before they are joined with glue to create the three-dimensional star shape, which is brushed with a coat of lacquer for shine and durability.


Ten Thousand Villages Capiz Dove Christmas Ornament

A capiz dove brings the olive branch of peace to your holiday tree. Handcrafted in the Philippines from natural capiz clam shell and brass wire.


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View all of their ornaments at