Last Updated on May 10, 2019 by Jeremy
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Since Angie and I got married in 2012, we decided to do something different for our Christmas tradition. Instead of getting a new ornament featuring a life milestone from each year (as was my family's tradition growing up), we decided to purchase ornaments from all of the destinations we've visited around the world.
Since then we've visited over 50 countries together and now have a pretty epic tree full of knick-knacks, tchotchkes, keychains, and other obscure purchases that we've converted into ornaments. (Yes, few of our ornaments are true ornaments as designed!)
Today, I wanted to share some of our favorites and the stories behind them. Under each ornament is links to more posts from the country/state to read more about the destination as well!
It seems like our North America travels are often our lightest out of any continent, but in recent years we've been fortunate enough to visit amazing destinations like Alaska (where we saw many bald eagles), Mexico (where we ate our weight in tacos and purchased an absurd number of Dia de los Muertos decorations), Puerto Rico (where we toured Bacardi and brought home a number of high-end rums for our bar), and Cuba (where we sampled our first cigars and also brought a humidor's worth home as well).
Naturally, we had to commemorate these with ornaments:
We traveled South America tip-to-tip by bus with stops like Bolivia (where we played around with perspective photos with a llama toy in the Uyuni desert), Argentina (where we enjoyed a large amount of mate), and Colombia (stopping at a number of stellar coffee fincas along the way). We even added on a couple of detours to Easter Island (where we marveled at the moai) and the Galapagos as well.
The ornaments remind us of these great times:
We've spent the most time in Europe of any continent- well over eight months exploring the numerous countries that call the region home. Suffice it to say we have a ton of ornaments from these, including from our stops in Italy (which we commemorated with a monk salt shaker), Spain (where we saw a live flamenco show during our honeymoon), Slovenia (where we enjoyed Ljubljana's dragon sculpture), and Switzerland (where Angie freaked out every time she saw a cow in the mountains- her favorite animal).
The ornaments reflect those adventures well:
Getting ornaments in Africa was a bit trickier than most, but we found a few that helped us remember our travels in Namibia (commemorating our game drives with a carved tree nut), Seychelles (where we got to see the world's largest seeds- the suggestive looking coco de mer), Morocco (where we visited a part of the desert with a vast collection of fossils), and South Africa (where we went cage diving with great white sharks).
These always make us smile when looking at them:
We have fond memories of our travels in Alaska, from our travels in Nepal (where we spun many prayer wheels on our way to Everest Base Camp), India (where we rode our fair share of tuk tuks), Turkey (where we took a hot air balloon over Cappadocia), and Oman (where we marveled at the beautiful trinkets in the souks).
Our ornaments here are great reminders of these, including the very hot air balloon looking champagne cork from that very flight:
Our Travel Christmas Tree is Just Getting Started
One thing we love about our travel Christmas tree is that we're just getting started and add on to the project every year. What will we add on next? You'll just have to stick around for next year to find out!
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About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.