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Hallmark Illuminations Starlight Tree Topper

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Overall Impression: Beautiful light show

Nice: Very pretty tree topper with unique fading light effects

Naughty: Attachment system is clumsy and will frequently need adaptation to work with artificial trees

BUILD QUALITY
EASE OF USE
ORIGINALITY
COLOR AND PRESENTATION
PACKAGING


In 2005 and 2006, Hallmark marketed ornaments under the “Illuminations” name.  Hallmark declared: “Make ordinary holiday displays extraordinary with the Illuminations collection.” The ornaments featured special LED lighting effects, and the series included star-shaped tree ornaments called Starlight Starbright,  Snowflake Snowballs, Santa’s Christmas Magic, Watching for Santa, and Sugarplum Dreams.  The system required a special “Powerbox” which provided electricity to up to eight ornaments.  Unfortunately, the Powerbox was rather clumsy, with both a transformer and a connection box connected by wires. The Powerbox, advertised as a “patent-pending power source [that] delivers up to four times the power to each ornament as compared to a standard light string,” only worked with compatible Illuminations ornaments and would not work with previous Magic ornaments.  The unusual design of the series, along with the high cost and slight inconvenience of the Powerbox, apparently led to disappointing sales, and the series is no longer available. Some secondary retailers have some mint condition Powerboxes and ornaments at this time.

The demise of the Illuminations series is unfortunate, since the ornaments provided a genuinely unique and colorful light show, with slow and gentle color-changing and twinkling effects. The Starlight Tree Topper featured here is a fine example of that effect. A steady light shines from the center of the large (eight inch diameter) gold and white star. Opposite points of the star gently fade on and off over a five second interval, giving a nice twinkling effect. Unlike rapidly blinking lights which can be annoying, distressing, or headache-inducing, this soft glow is actually pleasant to view.

The second unique lighting feature is a projection of snowflakes onto the ceiling directly above the ornament. The package states: “Bring a touch of magic to your home with this unique Christmas tree topper. Placed atop your tree, it will project a softly fading snowflake pattern onto your ceiling. A switch allows you to have the snowflake pattern either fade or glow steadily. The optimum projection distance is two to three feet and the projection works best on a light-colored ceiling. The front of the star also shines, and softly fading light emits from each of the points on the star.” We found that the pattern is quite visible with room lights off, and makes for an impressive display. Like the star light fading pattern, the projection is pleasant to view in the fading mode.

One minor area of concern is the base attachment system, which basically consists of nothing more than an oblong hole in the plastic support shaft under the star. Unless you happen to have a tree with a very stiff and perfectly vertical branch accessible at the top of your tree, you’re going to have a hard time mounting this ornament as it is. Furthermore, the electric wire comes in through the hole and is somewhat susceptible to damage. The hole is barely larger than a finger and is cramped by plastic protrusions. In our case, we fashioned a strong post from a long rod and carefully affixed the post with a generous helping of Daige Prostik Adhesive Wax (used for handwaxers). We then used green plastic twist ties to secure the post to the uppermost section of the artificial tree “trunk.” This provided a safe and secure mounting.

Overall, we are very impressed by the beauty of this ornament, which makes a spectacular topper. Our only regret is that Hallmark no longer makes it!

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