Nova Scotia

Pandemic-inspired ornaments will decorate trees across Nova Scotia and beyond

Crafters in Nova Scotia have been inspired to create Christmas ornaments that commemorate the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020.

Ornaments serve as a reminder of the toilet paper shortage, mask-wearing and staying home

Sarah Brown is commemorating the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 by stuffing plastic ornaments with six squares of toilet paper. (Submitted by Sarah Brown)

This year has been one no one will ever forget.

Thanks to some crafters in Nova Scotia, people will be able commemorate the year — and the COVID-19 pandemic — with a decorative holiday ornament.

"In any unpleasant situation, we should always take time to find a positive, or find a little bit of humour just to try to lighten the load a little bit," Sarah Brown, a hobby ornament maker in Centreville, N.S., told CBC's Mainstreet on Wednesday.

"And what better way to do that than to highlight one of the No. 1 news stories that happened during the pandemic, which was a shortage of toilet paper."

Brown started making the ornaments for herself but when she posted it on a Facebook craft site, she started getting orders as far away as Florida. (Submitted by Sarah Brown)

Brown makes ornaments that say "In case of emergency, break me!" Inside the transparent, plastic bulbs are six precious squares of toilet paper.

A message of "Merry Christmas 2020" is decorated with a roll of toilet paper and a mask.

Brown, a paramedic and has a young son at home, said she made the ornament for herself as a way to commemorate the year. She didn't expect it to take off the way it did.

"I developed it and I shared it on a craft group that I'm involved in on Facebook just to say, 'Oh, what do you guys think of this?' And it had over 3,000 likes and close to 500 comments," she said.

Brittany Hillier of Hillside Designs makes holiday ornaments with pieces of wood and a laser printer. (Submitted by Brittany Hillier/Hillside Designs)

Then she started receiving orders from as far away as Florida.

So far, Brown has sold 60 ornaments. Ten went to Jacksonville.

Brittany Hillier of Hammonds Plains was also inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic to create some commemorative holiday ornaments.

"It's something that everybody in the world can relate to right now," Hillier told CBC's Mainstreet Wednesday. 

Hillier bought the laser printer just over a week ago week and within a few days, she got more than 150 orders. (Submitted by Brittany Hillier/Hillside Designs)

"Across the globe, there's a toilet paper shortage. Everybody's staying home. We are all now wearing masks. So, you know, Christmas being a gift-giving time of year, this can be something that's cute and lighthearted and is an easy gift."

Hillier makes five different laser-printed ornaments, each with a message or design that represents 2020 or the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the newest ornament will be an ode to Premier Stephen McNeil and his message of "Stay the blazes home!"

Hillier even made a ornament with the SARS-CoV-2 virus on it. (Submitted by Brittany Hillier/Hillside Designs)

Hillier, who owns Hillside Designs and has been staying home with her young children during the pandemic, bought a laser printer just over a week ago.

Within days, she had 150 orders for the handmade ornaments. So far, she has sold more than 200.

"I was surprised with the amount of interest, but obviously very, very happy and grateful," she said.

Hillier said she has already sold 200 ornaments this season. (Submitted by Brittany Hillier/Hillside Designs)

Brown and Hillier said they both understand how difficult 2020 and the pandemic has been for some people, but they hope their ornaments will bring a smile to someone's face.

"Come five years, I really hope that when you pull [the ornament] out, you can look at how far we've come and the craziness is over and we're back to our normal and we survived 2020," Hillier said. 

"So I'm just hoping that you can be grateful that it's over and you don't have to live through 2020 again."

This year, Nova Scotians have been snapping up pandemic-inspired ornaments. Host Jeff Douglas spoke with two crafters, Sarah Brown and Britanny Hillier, who can't keep up with demand. 12:00

With files from CBC's Mainstreet

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