As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas—including the demand for Post Malone holiday ornaments. Just this once, we’ll let the New York Times explain: “For some shoppers at Panache, a boutique in Saint Jo, Texas, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Post Malone,” begins a story published on Sunday. “A delicate blown-glass ornament that looks like the face-tattooed musician sold ‘like crazy’ last year, said Ashlyn Shadden, 33, who runs the store with her mother. Buyers included many ‘women in their 60s,’ she added. ‘I’m like, do you know who this is?’ ” This year, customers are still asking about the same ornament, which is on back order until the end of this month.
The anecdote illustrates an interesting trend: non-holiday motifs (the rapper’s face included) have found a home on Christmas trees in record numbers, Lone Star State living rooms included. And in the same article, the Nebraska-based company behind the Malone best-seller, Cody Foster & Co., reported that demand for modern, nontraditional styles has skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: customers suddenly found themselves in the market for extra good cheer and began gravitating toward trinkets depicting whatever brings them joy. It explains how the brand’s now-iconic stick of butter became a national best-seller.
Even if Post Malone isn’t your jam, it’s likely you’ve spotted another hand-painted Cody Foster & Co. ornament around town that’s just as Texan as the Grapevine-raised son of a Dallas Cowboys executive (but perhaps not as festive as, say, Santa hugging our great state). At the Austin-based men’s store Stag, for example, you’ll see the brand’s glittering glass taco, a vintage cowboy (and boot), one chic cactus, some barbecue sauce, and, of course, Willie Nelson. There are other Willies to scoop up out there, naturally, like this felted one (produced by artisans in Kyrgyzstan) and this acrylic one (sold on Willie’s official website and featuring the cover art for his 1979 Christmas album, Pretty Paper).
Which made us wonder, where can we find the most Texan ornaments made by actual Texans? We rounded up some of the season’s best ornaments from local makers and institutions across the state, some festive, some commemorative, and some guaranteed to bring you joy (like this mini Whataburger meal). Happy tree trimming, y’all!
At a national level, Courtney Joyner has made a name for herself as the original creator of the holiday ceramic cactus. Savannah Guthrie posted an image of one last year (“finally a plant I can’t kill”), and Southern Living credited the Austin-based ceramic artist as the first to start this growing holiday decor trend (several makers were inspired by her ceramic cacti and began offering their own versions). She offers miniatures of her famous sculptures for the tree as well as simple white ceramic ornaments shaped like Texas and featuring the names of Texas cities in sweet script. There’s a kid-friendly, Texas-themed DIY kit, too: everything you need to paint your own armadillo, Longhorn, bluebonnet, cowboy boot, and, of course, Lone Star State ornaments.
Considering that the pandemic inspired Americans to trim their trees with re-creations of anything and everything that brings them joy, it’s lucky for Texans that El Arroyo began offering tiny mercury-glass versions of its famously amusing marquee sign in 2020. Each year since, the restaurant’s team has picked new phrases to produce. A top seller for 2022: “Commas are important. No more tequila. No, more tequila.” There are holiday-themed offerings, too, like “Have yourself a merry little margarita.” And then there are the classics: “Yes, I know guac is extra but so am I” and “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Kris and Kelley Denby, the crafty husband-and-wife creators behind this Austin home decor brand, began transforming scraps from their wall-art designs into handmade, Texas-shaped ornaments in 2016. And at Magnolia’s annual Silobration that year in Waco, tourist demand led them to begin offering other state shapes, too. Their baubles are no longer made by hand but are still created in Austin, where tourists can pick one up on their way out of town at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. This year, the duo added four new designs to the mix: one to commemorate the Astros’ World Series win, one for Magnolia lovers and another for bluebonnet fans, and one in collaboration with Texas Highways that says “Don’t mess with Texas.”
After graduating from the University of Texas with a bachelor of fine arts and a minor in art history, Seguin-based artist Kitty Keller got her start hand-painting wildflowers onto T-shirts. They were sold at a small shop in Fredericksburg. Today, her colorful works are screen printed on tea towels and impressed onto traditionally crafted cloisonné, glass, and ceramic orbs that are sold in gift shops from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty. Keller and her design assistant, Aaron Waddleton, create keepsakes for schools and destinations across the U.S., but their Texas ornaments are particularly robust: major cities, dancing cowboy boots (and nut-cracking cowboys), and many colleges and universities are all represented. Want to add a little “happy holidays, y’all” to your tree? Look no further.
If you’re a street-market shopper or festivalgoer, there’s a good chance you’ve browsed a booth by Jennifer and Joseph Worth. Since 2005, the Austin-based photography duo has shown up to sell coasters, bottle openers, and mugs printed with their images of local haunts and landmarks, from Marfa’s water tower to Luckenbach’s old post office. You can order any of their photographs as a two-sided metal ornament from their online shop.
For 27 years, the Texas capitol gift shop has designed and released annual ornaments that pay homage to Texas’s rich heritage. Made from solid brass and plated with 24-karat gold, they’re good-looking and giftable but aren’t just symbolic: proceeds support preservation efforts at the Capitol and beyond (the Governor’s Mansion, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and Texas State Cemetery all benefit as well). This year’s design is dubbed “Welcome to Songfest,” a nod to the diverse culture of Texas music. The phrase and garland depicted on the piece echo the decoration that lit up Congress Avenue in April 1889 to welcome visitors to one of Austin’s first music festivals.
When Tim de Jong began making ornaments, one of his blown-glass creations traveled all the way from Hill Country to the White House, where it was featured on the Blue Room Christmas tree during the Clinton administration. Decades later, his Wimberley Glassworks offerings have become local collectibles. This year’s limited-edition design invokes a pearl—a symbol of all the wisdom he’s grateful to have gained in Wimberley Glassworks’s thirty years—and is available in black or white. If you’re in the market for something more colorful, though, you can visit the studio this month to make your own ornament, just like a professional glassblower.