A couple of Christmas seasons ago, a suburban Chicago man was decorating his Christmas tree when he and his partner realized there was one last ornament to be added to what was already a fully loaded tree. That man was Todd Zimmerman and asking aloud, “What am I going to do with this little guy? He’s going back in the attic and miss out on all the Christmas fun?” Then realizing there was a great story in that moment, Zimmerman pressed his years of marketing moxie into the idea for “Oliver the Ornament.”
Contemplating how to sell both Oliver’s story and an ornament to depict him, Zimmerman collaborated with an illustrator and launched a Kickstarter campaign with a plan for a seven-book/ornament series to tell a universally identifiable tale that would resonate with people everywhere and people of all ages.
The $50,000 Kickstarter campaign was a huge success and Oliver’s story was begun.
There are three key factors that make “Oliver the Ornament” truly special? The story…the plan…and the children.
The story of Oliver the Ornament is a story of tradition, love, friendship, forgiveness and joy. It’s a story of Christmas. It’s the story of a group of friendly ornaments preparing for the Christmas season. Despite being broken and bullied, cheerful little Oliver shares the story of each ornament on a family’s tree with the help of a little Christmas magic.
The plan is for Oliver the Ornament to be the first in a seven book series. All subsequent books will introduce readers to each of the family’s cherished Christmas ornaments. In addition, a complete line of related products, tied to Oliver and his friends will be made available to spread the message that family time is the most important time.
Perhaps best of all is that charity is at the heart of Oliver the Ornament. A portion of proceeds from the sale of each book will be donated to various children’s charities. Starting with 5-percent from this first book, 10-percent from the next book, and increasing to fully 100-percent of the seventh book, Oliver the Ornament is committed to making a difference in children’s lives throughout the world.
In the online world of Oliver the Ornament, you can click on any of the ornaments or the family to find tons of fun family projects. Here’s a link to Oliver’s online presence: http://olivertheornament.com/
We all know how people say they’re tired of all the divisiveness in the news these days, so this is something that is truly a bright spot that might even get some folks to remember that we’re all in this together and that a little kindness can go a long way.
Here’s excellent news for those that this story is resonating with: Todd Zimmermann, the creator and author of Oliver the Ornament, will be in Benton Harbor this weekend — Saturday October 28 — for a book-signing event at The Christmas Tree store on Mizpah Park Road.
Todd will be in the store from 11am until 2pm, and best of all, for every book that is sold at the event, another book will be donated to a hospitalized child this holiday season.
Oliver is a great unifier at a time when it seems none of us can agree on anything. Oliver is all about kindness and mutual respect, and he’s the Chief Kindness Officer for Oliver the Ornament’s Days of Kindness.
The Days of Kindness event use the book to teach children — and maybe remind adults — about the need to be kind. As part of that, Oliver asks participants to submit ideas for acts of kindness they’d like to see, and they’lll hold a drawing for prizes from those submissions.
The 28th also happens to be the store’s 28th anniversary, which makes it their Golden Anniversary. (You know, like when your birth date is the same year as you are turning?)
Every ornament tells a story — everywhere he goes, Todd hears stories from people who talk about how important their Christmas ornaments are to them. Whether it’s a family heirloom or a home-made paper and glue work of art from pre-school, people love their ornaments.
You might not realize it, but Oliver the Ornament was one of People magazine’s best new books of 2016, and its associated product line is carried in more than 350 stores across the country, including The Christmas Tree.
Store owners nationwide are predicting the Oliver product line will be the next big thing in Christmas, in fact one Chicago area writer suggested that Oliver is the new current day Elf on the Shelf phenomenon.
Zimmerman told that writer in 2015 while the Kickstarter campaign was ramping up, “I felt like it was one of the best ideas I’d ever had, so then I thought, it would be neat if you could sell the book with the ornament, and there was nothing like that our there.”
There is now…and you can find it at The Christmas Tree. As author Todd Zimmerman says, “If you ask people what their most precious Christmas possession is, most people will say their ornaments.” He adds, “What has gotten me so excited is how the story resonates with both children and adults. It’s really a new Christmas book for the whole family.”
Check it out this weekend at The Christmas Tree just north of the Whirlpool Administrative Center on M-63 and left at the blinking light onto Mizpah Park Road.