My First Christmas Working at Hallmark
Jacqueline M. Yohe
In December of 2000, I was quite excited that I was now a permanent Hallmarker, and couldn't wait to purchase my first Keepsake Ornament here at the in-house Hallmark Retail Store.
I wanted lights, sound, and action, and the little train, running around the track, caught my eye. I thought it would make a perfect ornament for my special friend, Dwight.
I took the ornament home, wrapped it, and placed it lovingly under the tree, and waited for the magical day.
On Christmas morning I presented the ornament to Dwight. He opened it and was delighted, as it reminded him of his youth, and his first Lionel train.
Well - it didn't work - no lights, no sounds, no little train running around the track. We were both so disappointed.
On my first day to return to work after the holidays - with ornament in hand - I presented myself to the Retail Store, and was told that this was not the procedure for returning broken ornaments.
I didn't wait to hear what the procedures might be - I needed my train to run, and I decided that this was Hallmark - a place where the magic happened.
I went on a quest to find my very own Santa Hallmark. I made various inquiries to find out where the ornaments were made, and by whom.
I was directed to the Rice Center.
Bravely, and confidently, my ornament and I found the magic workshops of the ornaments.
I walked around until I saw a workshop that had my little ornament sitting on a workbench shelf in a little, glass-enclosed office.
The gentleman was busy, but I waited until he was alone, and then I said "Hi, my name is Jacqueline, and I have a broken ornament. I wonder if you could fix it for me?"
He told me that there were procedures to follow to replace ornaments, and I thought I'm never going to get my ornament fixed today.
On a spirit-led moment, I said if you will fix my ornament, I will tell you a story, and we will be even. I will swap you out - my Christmas story, for a working train.
Then I told him my story about "The Little Drummer Girl." He was amazed, and asked if he could design a Keepsake ornament for my Little Drummer Girl, and I said "Only if it has lights, sound, and action, and that at the end (and it was not negotiable), my Little Drummer Girl would run out, stand in front of her brother, The Little Drummer Boy, and drum the heck out of her drum.
He smiled, and agreed. Well - that is not the way a Keepsake Ornament gets made at Hallmark, but on that day, in that workshop, creativity, and kindness' were shared, and my Santa Hallmarker, looked around his workshop, and much to both of our surprise, he found a brand new train ornament, in it's box, and swapped me out.
Of course, I asked him to plug it in and make sure it was working, and it was!
I will put that ornament on my tree again this year, the Christmas of 2003, and dream of that day, here at Hallmark, when someone cared enough to do his very best.
And that, my friends - is what Hallmark is all about.
To all those who would listen, yes, if it is broken - Hallmark can fix it!
Happy Holidays to you all!
Jacqueline M. Yohe