Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Hallmark Broke My Christmas Heart

Hallmark has broken my heart. Maybe even damaged a bit of my soul.  {YES, it sounds dramatic, but please read on to understand why!}

My love for Hallmark started years ago when I was about 19-20 years old.  I was dating a boy who had invited me home with him for the holidays. He also happened to be moving from Texas to Missouri at the end of our holiday vacation and I was going to drive home with him. 

His Momma gave him a box full of Christmas ornaments from Hallmark that she had been collecting for him for years. Since he was born. Two decades of memories that he cherished so much. I found it endearing. And I made a mental note that I would start a tradition when I had children.

Well, my own kids came years later. But that year, I was blessed with a late-in-life baby brother. And I started his ornament collection. He got the "My First Christmas" ornament. At the same time, I found a super cool Star Trek ornament that my Dad would get a kick out of. Just like that, a tradition was born.

After the first five years of ornaments for my brother, I would select a new ornament, from Hallmark, that matched an event in my brother's life. And my Daddy always got the newest Star Trek. Even after his death we continued to get those ornaments for my Dad.

Then my own kids came. Friends of mine had kids. I even started them for my Niece and Great Niece. I started them all with ornament collections that started with the "My First Christmas" ornaments. It has grown. Now I buy the whole family series; "Mom", "Dad", "Brother", "Sister", NFL Football Player, Barbie, Barbie Shoe, as well as the My Christmas.

When The Boy was little, Hallmark decided to change the line. They announced the change. Introduced the new line but phased out the old one. Each year they made only the ornaments left and allowed me to finish out his collection.

The Boy's completed first five Christmas ornaments.


We have so many Hallmark ornaments, that we have just a Hallmark Tree. It is downstairs in our family room. It is our "family tree". I can not even tell you how excited the kids get unwrapping each ornaments and getting excited over them. The Short Chic kept saying, "this is my favorite Christmas!" and "Bubby, look, here is your three Christmas!"  All the while I smile to myself. Happy that I made this decision and have committed to it each and every year.
Our "Hallmark" tree

I will also say I have a small group of work friends, who like me collect Hallmark ornaments. We have so much fun sharing our Hallmark stories. We collect many of the same things.  Female bonding. It is wonderful.

So, now that you have my background story. Because all of this changed this year when I went into Hallmark to buy my ornaments this year.  I can't find The Short Chic's "My Fourth Christmas" ornament. The sales lady says Hallmark is discontinuing them this year.  So people are buying them up like crazy to finish their collections. 


The current or soon to be discontinued line.
Brakes screeching. Alarms sounding. WHAT?? Surely she misunderstood. OK, they are changing the line but they are not/can not just stop and not phase out the ornaments.  RIGHT??

Well, according to the two customer service people that I have spoken to, yes they can. And they are. They are not discontinuing the "My Christmas Line" they are really changing the line. From cute little sugar cookies to a photo train line.
FPO
The new line

 So Hallmark tells me that they discontinue lines when they are not selling. Okay, I get that. But they are not really discontinuing the line. They are just changing the style. They can't explain why they are not phasing out the line out of respect for those currently collecting. Their advice, buy My Fourth and My Fifth Christmas this year.  Which totally annoys me because....THEY ARE DATED! Why would I want a My Fifth Christmas ornament dated in 2011 when my daughter's fifth Christmas is not until 2012?

Another frustrating piece for me...I have a new niece and great niece and they are only up to My Second Christmas. What am I suppose to do...start over? NO! I can't complete their collection because it would look totally stupid to have two ornaments from one line and three from another. Who does that?

In my opinion, this is absolutely a breech of faith from a company dedicated to relationships! My twenty-three year relationship with Hallmark is balancing on the fringe. I will not buy my daughter a My Fifth Christmas from a different line that does not match. Nor will I buy the Nieces ones that do not match.  That is  $70.00 I will not be spending on your ornaments that I would have otherwise spent.  And now that I do not trust you, I will never start another collection with you again. Which means, I am not sure I can continue to buy your product.

The Short Chics collection forever stalled at My Fourth Christmas.


What do I want from Hallmark? I want them to do the right thing. I do not mind that Hallmark has decided it is time to switch up the line.  I am okay with that. But for ornament sake...phase the line out.

Oh and one other bit of this that just makes my blood boil: The Short Chic's number 4. I had to buy it from a scalper on eBay because this decision has left a supply and demand mess. They are not available to be found in any Hallmark store. So I spent 1 1/2 times the amount for the ornament.


53 comments:

  1. Customer service train wreck! Shame on you, Hallmark, you know this is a dirty trick.
    - deb t.

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  2. I'm in your same boat. I need the 5th one to complete my youngest's. i can't afford to buy one off of ebay. It's a sad day for me. :(

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    1. I need the 5th one, too. How about the stores allowed their sales people to buy as many as they wanted, so they could then turn around and scalp them? I'm very angry.

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  3. If you are impacted by this breech of faith decision by Hallmark, please call them. Let them know. Their customer service phone number is 800-425-5627.

    I hope that if enough of us customers let them know how their decision effects us they will reconsider and do the right thing.

    I called them. And I asked them to pass my concern on to someone higher.

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  4. You should be able to get an undated Fifth Christmas. I too have been looking online for the Fifth one to complete my youngest daughter's collection and I saw some listed as undated. Four years ago when it was my middle daughter's Fourth Christmas it was the last year for her collection (the girl cat ones) and I had to go ahead and buy the 4th & 5th that year so I got an undated 5th one. That year I got lucky and got the last one of each in the store. It does stink to have to spend more on ebay this year but even if I have to pay 2 or 3 times retail I will because I don't want her to have only 4 when both her sisters have all 5.

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  5. Shari,
    I never knew about undated ornaments, so thank you. However, I followed your advice and could not find any undated ornaments for the cookie cutter series. I will keep looking.

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  6. Currently going for $40+ on eBay, 3pm EST, 12/17 I've even seen them at $89 on one website! I, too, feel the same way as you.

    Almost had a heart attack when I went to the Hallmark store earlier this week and the ladies both gasped simultaneously when I wasked about the 5th Christmas ornament. They said they were sold out of them before October! When I said "What?!" They said, yes, Hallmark was discontinuing them and people lined up at midnight in June (or July, I forget now) the day the 2011 ornaments went on sale.

    Well, off to eBay to see if my bid's holding up. *sigh*

    Max's daddy

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  7. With the help of a coworker, we did some research today. Hallmark does not release undated ornaments. Retail stores will sometimes remove the dates when supply is high and the secondary market will support the value of an ornament that has had the date removed.

    Hooked on Ornaments told us that this is the second time that Hallmark has changed the My Christmas line with no notice.

    I feel Hallmark has done a major breech of contact. They sure did not announce last year that they would only be selling the ornaments another year. NO! It was billed as a collection.

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  8. I am in the same place- I have 5 children and my 4th child is celebrating his 5th Christmas and our 5th is celebrating his 2nd. I was hesitant to buy the 2nd Christmas one this year for him, but am SOOOOOO hurt that just as you described, My oldest son is 19. Each year when we put ALL OF OUR MANY Hallmark ornaments up, they each are excited to look for their dated ornament. It may seem like a little thing to some people, but it's just not right. And yes, I also don't have the 5th ornament and because everyone is hording them even when they are not the correct year and selling them for outrageous prices, My son will now not have his. I am just SICK!!! So sad! Oh well. Worse things could happen, but I definitely will let Hallmark know my disappointment. And I AM TEMPTED JUST TO SELL the other ones I have that I don't have a complete set for, just because I am so upset!

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  9. I feel your frustration!! My 14, 12, & 8 year olds all have a completed series. However, I can not complete the series for my 4 & 2 year olds. I refuse to pay $50 to someone on ebay! I will no longer buy any Hallmark ornaments because of this! As silly as it sounds, it is very upsetting even though they are just ornaments.

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  10. I too am absolutely devastated! I have a son born in 2008 whose "collection" has ended with a 2011 My Fourth Christmas & a daughter born in 2010 whose "collection" has ended with a 2011 My Second Christmas. In a state of panic I rushed out when I found out this was the last year of production, and purchased a 2011 My Third & My Fourth for my daughter just so her collection would match her older brother's, but really, what is the point if they are dated 2011 & were purchased in advance?! I understand that the series must end at some point, but why can't Hallmark just phase it out rather than discontinuing so suddenly? I should not have been able to purchase a My First Christmas in 2008 & 2010 if Hallmark had no intention of seeing this series through to 2014 in order to allow those who purchased a 2010 My First Christmas, the opportunity to complete their collection! I would never have started these collections had I known I would not be able to finish them. When I expressed my disappointment to Hallmark Australia, I was advised that they had sought clarification from Hallmark US, & whilst the "Bear & Cookie" Child's Age Series was being discontinued this year, the "Photo Frame" Child's Age Series will continue. Why would I want to "finish" my "collections" with items from a completely different theme?! This whole debacle is absolutely disgraceful & appalling Hallmark. You have lost my trust & that of many others & I will never begin another one of your "collections" for fear that you may end it prematurely again.

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  11. I have experienced the exact same dilemma. Had to buy two of the kitten ornaments in one year to complete the set. Need a #5 to complete the bear and cookie set and refuse to spend $60 plus for it on the web. I also needed the #1 ornament to begin the series for our granddaughter. They only had 2, 3, 4 ,5 last year so I wrote to Hallmark customer service and they gave me the web site of where to get it, but neglected to tell me that they were discontinuing the series. Now I have 2 grandchildren who will be very upset that they don't have the full series. Had to start the two newest babies on teh Train series and will be sure not to get messed up with that. Hallmark sent me an I am sorry you are not happy email. Great!!!!!!!!!
    I am thoroughly disgusted with Hallmark's policy. Janet

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  12. I am so angry right now, I've just found out I've been done twice!!
    My 1st child I collected years 1 - 5. My 2nd child (and my nephew) I collected years 1 - 3 for them and Hallmark stopped making them so I had to change collections for years 4 - 5. Annoys the crud out of me that its not a proper matched set. And then today I find out that they've done it AGAIN. My 3rd child has years 1 - 3 of that cookie collection and this year I'll need to get something else for her 4th. I am tempted tp just not buy them, but I can't bring myself to do it when the other kids have them. Soooo rude of Hallmark.
    I do realise this is now a year old but it came up with I was on google trying to find answers :)

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  13. I just found out the ornaments were discontinued. My youngest child will be the only one of my kids that doesn't get her 5th Christmas ornament. I have written them to complain! Shame on them!

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  14. I wrote, too. Like they care! :( I'm out the 4th and 5th year ornaments; you would think that they would have phased out the line. I realize that this is an old post--I just found out that this ornament series was discontinued! Argh! I have bought Hallmark ornaments for my children (in addition to their "age" ones); not this year. I really don't want to support a brand that has so little regard for its customers.

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  15. Yep - how low is Hallmark - sucked us in to buying a series and then BOOM - nothing. In Australia they reduced the size and then it just vanished, I need the 5th for my daugheter and 3, 4 and 5 for my son. I have already made the decision thatn I WILL NOT buy another Hallmark product ever ever EVER ! Bring back the bear - the train is yuck and doesn't suit a girl at all. Thanks for I don't really think I want them if it is incomplete !

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  16. I will not be able to complete my youngest child's collection. Hallmark, this will be the year I can no longer hear the jingle bell (a la Polar Express) and its all your fault.

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  17. Has anyone told Hallmark about this? Any response? I am doing this for a grandchild and feel like a dope for getting caught up in this.

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  18. I have contacted Hallmark, more than once, and was told that ornament lines available for sale are based upon sales. I have told them that is an insufficient answer to this question because I KNOW it is a top seller. I have asked my complaints to be logged. But I have NEVER heard a word back from Hallmark.

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  19. I just ran into this today. I am heartbroken! I was able to get my son's completed collection with the train series from 2000-04. Now I'm finding out that I will not be able to complete my daughter's collection with the cookie cutter bear. I only need the 5th Christmas. I even tried to look online and can only find a 2011 one for $60. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? If I'm gonna pay $60 bucks for an ornament, it needs to have the right date on it. Why can't they sell them online only for those of us that believe in traditaions?

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  20. I am having this same PROBLEM! I need the My 5th Christmas 2010/2011 series bear. It is like 70.00 on ebay! What can we do???

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  21. I too started collecting Hallmark ornaments when my oldest, now 10, was born. After adding 2 more children, we would make a yearly trip to purchase our 3 ornaments. Last year, we couldn't get our middle daughters 5th one because they were sold out, but was able to get #4 for the youngest. Nobody mentioned the series was ending. I thought I would just go home and order it online. WRONG! They were already out of stock and selling for $75 on ebay. Then I found out the disappointing truth. Both of my children will end their series at #4, and I will NOT be buying Hallmark ornaments this year or ever again.

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  22. Hallmark does have a facebook page where we can leave our comments.
    I have seen other companies lean to the pressure of social media (firing of Lindsey Stone). Maybe hallmark will to.

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  23. I agree with all of the posts. I wish when my husband was buying the 4 last year, someone would have suggested he pick up the 5 as well because now we have 1-5 for the older two in their sets and only 1-4 in our youngest daughter's set. Very disappointing. The older two will be so excited to see what the 5 looks like for the youngest one and I think they will care more than she does because they will know she doesn't have a complete set. It is crazy that the price is so high. You know these people spent $10 on the ornaments they are selling for $95 sad that people have to pay that much for tradition. Well we will not be paying that for these ornaments. It will have to be something different this year.

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  24. This is really getting me boiling hot. Hallmark has always phased these out. I bought the collections for my 2 nephews and a niece since 1988 and now that I have my own child I can't complete the colletion. I searched high and low last year for the #2 and finally found it and paid more. Expected to do the same this year for #3...thinking it was available but not readily available. Of course not. Being a huge fan of Hallmark ornaments I will never buy another.

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  25. Yea I just ran into this exact problem. All I need is My fifth christmas to complete the collection, but now I can't get it. And they are out their minds if they think I will pay that much. Not because its not worth it to me, cause it sort of is, but I refuse to think a hallmark employee or worse hallmark company is going to profit off that. Never again will I buy another ornament from hallmark again.

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  26. Here's a thought for the folks at Halmark. Sell the ornaments either individually or in a set of 5 with NO DATE on them!!! The we can purchase them, potentially in advance, just in case the manufacturer decides not to make the series anymore.

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  27. Yes, I am trying to find the 5th ornament too, I couldn't find it in 2011 to save my life, no store had it. Guess I should have ordered it then, but waited til now to try to find one. You can, if you want to spend 72-150 bux for it. My youngest granddaughter will just have to understand someday why she only has 4, her brother and sister have all five. Boo, Hallmark!!!

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  28. Why couldn't they have just phased them out like they usually do? Bad business move, Hallmark. You're treating your loyal customers like crap.

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  29. This is heartbreaking. Only my youngest will have an incomplete set, missing only the 5th and final one. Hallmark, thank you for ruining family traditions. I will never spend another dollar in your stores.

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  30. Maybe you start a new tradition by buying the precious moments ornaments. I know it will not satisfy the collections already started.

    Wendy

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  31. I know! I literally told the sales clerk and my husband this, " Hallmark just broke my heart!" I sighed so hard at the store that an associate came and asked me what I needed help with. I have four boys. I have been purchashing the 5 years of Christmas for all of them. This year I went to the Hallmark store to purchase what I needed and found out the line I was looking for was discontinued. I cried. Mark is my 2 yr old who has the bear and cookie design. He is handicapped. So far he cannot walk, talk, smile or respond in any way a typical child can, and no one knows why. He is so different than his brothers. This is one of the few things that gave me comfort. It is a tradition that we hold for all of our children.

    I felt crushed to say the least. I found the third Christmas ornament, but the fourth and fifth are very expensive on-line. I have a good idea of how you feel. People get attached to these things, Please be more considerate Hallmark and make things easier for those who care about your products.

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  32. I've been buying Keepsake ornaments every year since 1982. I bought every one of my children the age series, and now have my grandson's 5th Christmas this year. I did not hear last year that the series was being dropped... They have always phased them out. I will NEVER buy another Keepsake ornament again!

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  33. Same problem here! Only, I realized this a year too late. They had all of these ornaments at Kohl's last year (dated a year behind, but better than not completing my set). UGH!

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  34. Add me to the "extremely disappointed" list! Just discovered this today... my two sons, who are now 21 & 18, and my older nephew (20), each have all 5 of their bear ornaments. My youngest nephew, born in 2009, still needs #4 & #5. The clerk at my local Hallmark store told me today that there were signs in the ornament section warning of the discontinuation...I didn't see them so missed out. She said I should have bought #3, 4, & 5 last year. I said "Would #4 and 5 have the right year on them?" She said yes! So I'm not sure I believe her about the signs, either. In any event, I'm going to look online just to see the prices, I'm sure I won't actually buy them. I'll buy my little nephew another ornament instead, but I'm ticked off that Hallmark did this.

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  35. I just found this out...5 minutes ago!!! I need #5 of the cookie line. I HATE HATE HATE the train line...please, add me more work by making me add a picture. And, the saleslady told me (over the phone) that they are thinking of quitting this design because people are not liking the picture thing either. DUH! Anyway, I just got on Amazon to see if I could get a #5 ornament...$73!!!! FOR ONE ORNAMENT! For $73 I should get 2 sets of complete ornaments. I am with you on this blog post! I feel the same way about my ornaments as you do. I have 3 kids and 1 has a whole set, one has up to 4 and one has 2 (so far). I cannot believe any company would do something like this. If you want to do trial lines...do it for the other series...not the first 5 Christmas ornaments that parents LOVE!

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  36. I honestly wouldn't care what the design was (train, photo, milestone), I just want a dated 2012 child's 4th Christmas. I don't understand how Hallmark makes the decision to not have a 4th and 5th this year, but will next year. So for my situation, I will be able to get a 5th next year, leaving me missing just the 4th. Hallmark is all about traditions and collections. What are they thinking?

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  37. Looks like I am not the only one. I am so sad. I almost cried at the store when the lady told me it was discontinued. I wish I kniew that last year when I bought #4...looking for #5. $100 on ebay. I am so sad.

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  38. I'm also out the 4th and 5th. Very upset my son will not have the complete 5 year collection like his older sister. I have purchased these collections for my nieces for years, and can't believe my own child will not have a complete collection. I just found out recently, wish I knew last year like others. Websites are charging around $80 which I refuse to pay. I was also going to start a collection for a friend's child's 1st Christmas, but will not give Hallmark any more of my business. Shame on them!

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  39. I am very angry with Hallmark because I need to complete the set for 2 grandchildren. I too cannot afford the high cost of getting them on ebay. I do not understand either why they did not phase the collection out one year at a time. If it were possible to file a complaint with the BBB against Hallmark, I would do that. I will no longer buy from Hallmark.

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  40. This is my second (third, fourth and fith) time getting burned on this, as I need three of the ornaments to complete/continue sets. I started this for my first grandchild 16 years ago. I have continued to purchase a Hallmark ornament for them after they "aged" out. So currently I WAS purchasing about 15 ornaments a year. My youngest is in process with the very lame 1-3 frames. Now I have fewer reasons to return to Hallmark.

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  41. Aack how am I just hearing about this. child number 4, head over to hallmark to get her 4th christmas ornament and it wasn't made this year! Very frustrated. 2001 they decided to repeat the 1998 train series so my kids were annoyed they had the same set. So for her 3rd ornament we did change the series for her and she was fine with that, she liked the kitty at age 3 1/2 she didnt want a train. Wish they would finish a series...

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  42. I am in the same boat as all of you. My mother began buying the year ornaments for my oldest daughter. This year is her 5th Christmas and we were not able to get her ornament. We were so bummed. I feel like her collection is incomplete. Because of this we decided not to start a collection for my youngest daughter. We don't want to go through the same disappointment in the future. Hallmark is losing lots off money because those ornaments are not cheap.

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  44. Right there with you all. 3rd daughter will not have a 5th Christmas ornament. Contacted Hallmark they could care less. HUGE disappointment and total LACK of customer service

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  45. Thanks for sharing your story. I too am in your boat. I have gotten my nephews these ornaments for years and now I have great nephews and could not finish his 5th year for 2012. I did not know until 2012 that it had been discontinued. So, I tried to find one from last year on line UGH talk about high dollar plastic! Needless to say the boy was very unhappy he could not hang his number 5 on the tree. Now I finally have a great Niece and the line looks like its for a boy UGH again! I made them ornaments this year and may continue that tradition. I used to work at a Hallmark, glad I don't now!

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  46. Anyone have any luck finding the 5th sugar cookie bear for affordable price? $85.00 on ebay is CRAZY, started the series for my God daughter, she will get four this year and next year?????

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  47. I went through the same thing that year, had to buy ahead an undated 5th one for my daughter. NOW, they are discontinuing the photo train series my 4th daughter has, and it's not even been out five years. She needs the four year one this year and they aren't even selling it or the 5th year - only second and third! what the heck! All my other daughters have the complete collections from their times.

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  48. Same here! My mother-in-law started these series with my kiddos. She only got as far as #2 in the Christmas cookie/bear series for my third child...before she passed away. If she had known before her passing that they were being discontinued, she would have bought them up, I know it! But that didn't happen. And now to complete his collection so that he has one like his siblings do, I have to spend upwards of $83 for a single ornament!! (Some are even going for $300 on Ebay!) It's disgusting!!

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  49. Here it is 2014 and I am still hoping to get the 2011 #5 ornament. Very disappointing. I think they did the same with kitty line of ornaments that our daughter started getting in 2005. We finally found her a #5 from the wrong year and called it good. Very upset for my sweet boy!

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  50. It seems like hallmark cannot commit to a design anymore because they are on their third design for this series since they discontinued the bear/cookie after 2011. Now my daughter will have what seems to be a different design for each year...what a crock.

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  51. Had the same thing happen to me. Daughter's fifth christmas in 2012 and no ornament...Still cannot believe they did that.

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  52. I don't mind the new photo train set...but there was only ever 3 of them. So my other 3 Childrent have 1st-5th Christmas ornaments and my 4th child only has 1st-3rd. So very discouraging and sad. Don't get sucked in if you haven't already!

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