Meet Your Neighbor: Christmas ornaments link to past, home for holidays

·3 min read
Artist Michelle Warner sells ornaments depicting historic Elmore sites, like this one of the Elmore Train Depot, at the Elmore General Store.
Artist Michelle Warner sells ornaments depicting historic Elmore sites, like this one of the Elmore Train Depot, at the Elmore General Store.

PORT CLINTON — For many people, Christmas is about home, even if they can’t be home for the holidays. Many shops are helping customers tie thoughts of hometown pride to their holiday decorations by offering locally-themed Christmas tree ornaments this season.

Shops like Lakelynn Design and Unique in Port Clinton sell lake and lighthouse-themed ornaments. Little Shop on the Lake sells wooden and pottery ornaments embellished with lake designs like canoes and the Great Lakes, local ZIP codes and local town names including Port Clinton, Marblehead, Kelleys Island, Catawba Island and Bellevue.

Elmore General Store offers locally themed ornaments from two artists. Todd Fisher of Get Hooked Studio designs, makes and sells maple and cherry wood ornaments with local town names, and Michelle Warner of Michelle’s Variety Shop offers her handmade ornaments depicting historic sites like the Elmore Train Depot.

Kelly Rigoni of Northern Exposure Gallery designs a variety of locally-themed Christmas tree ornaments. Shown here are an ornament depicting her original photo of the Port Clinton Lighthouse, a whimsical Santa walleye, and her best seller, a Lake Erie Love ornament filled with Lake Erie beachglass.
Kelly Rigoni of Northern Exposure Gallery designs a variety of locally-themed Christmas tree ornaments. Shown here are an ornament depicting her original photo of the Port Clinton Lighthouse, a whimsical Santa walleye, and her best seller, a Lake Erie Love ornament filled with Lake Erie beachglass.

There are further ornament options for local history lovers in the gift shop at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums in Fremont. The gift shop offers metal ornaments of the Hayes home, the museum, Spiegel Grove, and one with Hayes and his wife Lucy.

“We also have some wooden ornaments — a good circular ornament with a picture of the home in fall, a circular one with a sketch of the museum and a wooden one shaped like the state of Ohio with a picture of the home in snow on it,” said Kristina Smith, Hayes communications and marketing manager.

Local photos on local ornaments

Professional photographer Kelly Rigoni incorporates her local photographs into many of the ornaments she designs, like a layered wood ornament featuring a photo of the Port Clinton Lighthouse. Rigoni designs a variety of ornaments tied to lake life, including whimsical walleyes with Santa hats and Gem Beach ornaments featuring roller skates.

“All of us who grew up at Gem Beach went to the roller rink. I started skating when I was five and was even into roller derby as an adult,” Rigoni said.

Rigoni’s most popular Christmas ornament is a clear ball filled with Lake Erie beach glass and embellished with the words “Lake Erie Love.”

Elmore General Store offers these locally-themed, handmade Christmas tree ornaments in downtown Elmore.
Elmore General Store offers these locally-themed, handmade Christmas tree ornaments in downtown Elmore.

“I have to sort through my beach glass to find pieces that will fit into the ornament. They are very time consuming,” she said.

Looking for the super-local one-of-a-kinds

Rigoni sells her ornaments in the downtown Port Clinton shop, Northern Exposure Gallery, that she owns with her husband, Billy Rigoni.

“I try to think of things you can’t find anywhere else or that are history related,” she said. “If we can’t find it, we make it.”

Lilly and Gert’s in downtown Port Clinton offers a way to own a unique Port Clinton Lighthouse ornament and support the historic light at the same time. Proceeds from the lighthouse ornaments support the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy.

Even with all the locally themed ornaments available in the area, customers may still want something completely unique. Jacque Chasteen offers custom made ornaments in a variety of lake themes at Dawn’s Folly in downtown Port Clinton. Chasteen’s ornaments can be personalized with names or towns.

Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at sheritrusty4@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Fremont News-Messenger: Meet Your Neighbor: Christmas ornaments link to past, home for holidays

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