Jan Ellen (Libertyville, IL)
What do you collect?
I have a collection of ornaments/artifacts from 145 countries. Some I have purchased in-country since we travel a good deal. Some have been gifts from fellow travelers. Others are just finds from a variety of sources. I have them displayed on a year-round Christmas tree and three large display cases. In one case, I made nameplates for each country. I also have a database of the items because, after a while, it became more difficult to remember where something came from.
When did you start collecting?
I started collecting in 1979, and I try to add a new country as often as I can.
What inspired you to start collecting?
My brother-in-law was a university professor who took students on a May seminar each year to at least 6 countries. He brought ornaments back for me whenever he traveled. When we started traveling, I wanted something authentic to remember each trip. I always look for an item that represents the country, is handmade whenever possible, is reasonable in both size and price, and speaks to me in some way. When I look at the tree or one of the display cases, the ornaments remind me of our travels.