Department 56 has been producing Fisher Price themed Christmas ornaments for the last three years. In the past they have been available at Target (1st year only), Lowes and other random stores at Christmastime. I bought this year's ornaments online (Amazon) but will keep a look out in local stores and update if I see them.
The ornaments are sometime sold in individual boxes but more often that not they are shipped only in bubble wrap.
For 2015 Dept 56 released a whopping 10 (vintage) Fisher Price themed ornaments. Last year there were only 5 (vintage) ornaments and in 2013 only 3. So clearly they are responding to supply and demand!
These ornaments are especially in demand since Dept 56 is the only manufacturer currently making Fisher Price themed ornaments. In the past there have been collections from Hallmark (2007-2012) and Basic Fun (stopped in 2006) but those can only be found on eBay or while treasure hunting now. The current Dept 56 ornaments sell for around $15 each.
The Dept 56 ornaments are cute and have many sweet details but are made of plaster and are heavy, clunky and sometimes poorly put together (stickers off base, chipped or missing paint, etc). They're low budget and the quality reflects that.
But hey, they beat having no ornaments right?
Today I'll introduce four of the ornaments and will have more to come in the next couple weeks. These four cuties are the Riding Horse, Little People Bus, Firetruck and Push Toy. Those are the names given by Dept 56 but we know some of them by different names. :)
First up the Play Family Fire Engine #720. The ornament looks very much like the original, it's quite impressive. Although nothing moves on the ornament (tires, ladder, etc) it has similar lithographs, details (hose, driver with a tiny hat) and color combinations.
Next up is the #978 Riding Horse and the #757 Melody Push Chime. Unfortunately my family has not had the pleasure of either of these toys so I can't show you comparison photos. Like the other ornaments they are made of plaster and do not having any moving parts. The push chime has a plastic stick and is a little more light weight of course due to size.
Last but not least the very familiar and beloved #192 School Bus. The longest running Little People toy, Fisher Price has made one of these for every version of LP from the original "classic" to the newfangled type they sell today. The bus version shown in the ornament is an early one as it has a stop sign on the side.
The ornament is solid with no moving parts but has very realistic and accurate lithographs on each side of it. Super cute, even the driver has the same side-eye smile.
Of the four ornaments I introduced today the School Bus is the only one that has been released in prior years by other manufactures. Both Hallmark and Basic Fun had their own take on the familiar and friendly bus.
Here is a side by side comparison. On the left is the Basic Fun Christmas decorated bus version with happy elves instead of students. In the back is the current Dept 56 ornament and on the right is the Hallmark ornament released in 2009.
The Hallmark ornament has plastic windows and adorably painted and tiny people inside (3 plus the driver). It is my favorite and can still be found on eBay for a pretty reasonable price ($16-20). The Basic Fun bus is harder to track down and costs a bit more ($40's).
Come back next week for more ornaments! While you're waiting check out past years ornaments on the following links:
For Hallmark Fisher Price Ornaments:
2008 - Play Family Farm
2008 - View-Master
2009 - School Bus
2009 - Chatter Telephone
2010 - Play Family Fun Jet
2010 - Zookeeper Says
2010 - Play Family School
2011 - Music Box Teaching Clock
2011 - Play Family House
2011 - Little People Lil' Movers Fire Truck (not a vintage toy)
2011 - Snoop 'N Sniff - Limited quantity
2012 - Corn Popper
2012 - Two Tune TV