Holiday Ornament Contest





This contest is to see who can create the most imaginative and also the most beautiful holiday tree ornament. There are rules of course. The most important rule is that you must use natural materials you have collected and you must assemble these materials together yourself using natural binders. No manufactured items or products are allowed. glue, ribbons, paints, sequins, pins, tacks, glass, horseshoe nails, marbles…nothing that does not occur naturally in the great outdoors of the USA. However, you may take a natural occurring material and alter it to meet your needs. For instance you can whittle on a piece of tree or antler you found. You can strip nettle stems and use the fibers to decorate or hold your ornament together. You can collect fir sap and use it as a glue. You can grind natural minerals you found and add water to create pigments.

Only one entry per person, however you may request that an older item you submitted be replaced with a newer item.

Entries must be submitted by 6PM Santa Fe time on December 25th, 2014

Three judges will be selected to determine the winners.

Submittals are in the form of a photograph that shows off your creation. Remember judges will be looking at only your photo so your photo should show your entry at its very best.

There will be two prizes awarded.
one for most imaginative ornament
one for most beautiful ornament

1. Entries must be made of found, natural materials only
2. Entries must have been created by the submitter
3. One entry per person
4. Entries must be small enough and light enough to serve as a holiday tree ornament
5. All entries must have a title

Email one photograph of your ornament along with the following information:
1. Screen name of the submitter
2. Title of the ornament
3. List of materials used
Email to

We will set up a page so everyone can view and comment on the entries.
We will choose judges and announce who they are.
Judges will not be allowed to submit

You may submit at any time before 6pm, Santa Fe time, on December 25th, 2014
Entries will be closed at that time. Judges will then begin selecting winners.

A prize for each category will be announced in the near future.

Forrest has added a really wonderful bonus to the contest. He will gift, one authentic, prehistoric, arrowhead from New Mexico for your valid entry in the Holiday Ornament Contest. No joke!!! You don’t have to win anything to get an arrowhead from Forrest’s collection. Just get a valid entry in this contest…no boxtops to send in, no secret messages to decode. You’ll get a cool arrowhead and a short note about what it is and where it was found….

arroeheadYour ornament is considered a valid entry once your photo is actually posted on one of the entry pages to be judged.  Once that happens all you have to do is send Forrest a self addressed and stamped envelope (so he can mail the arrowhead to you). Include both your real name and screen name so we can tell that your entry is valid. One arrowhead per person. Forrest said there is no way he will run out of arrowheads….


Put first class postage on your SASE. Fold it up so it will fit in an envelope and send it to Forrest.

Once your ornament is posted send your arrowhead request with SASE to:
Forrest Fenn
P.O. Box 8174
Santa Fe, NM 87504

Don’t forget to include both your screen name and real name.


Three Judges who will choose two winners are:
Goofy Old Guy


Forrest has generously donated two stunning prizes. These are antler fetish carvings by famed Zuni carver Teddy Weahkee (about 1890-1965).


Fetish “A”


Fetish “B”














Fetish “A” is about 7″ tall and its bundle is made-up of 2 abalone shell pendants, an olivella shell pendant and two turquoise pendants tied on with sinew.

Fetish “B” is about 6″ tall and in its bundle is a turquoise pendant, a mother of pearl pendant and a snail pendant tied on with sinew.

If you’d like to know more about Teddy Weahkee and his carvings look at these two sites:

Website A

Website B

These are pretty amazing and wonderfully historic prizes.

The judges will select the two winners. The winner of the “Most Beautiful Ornament” will get to choose which of the two prizes she/he would like.

The remaining prize will go to the winner of the “Most Imaginative Ornament”.

Remember, entries must be submitted by 6PM Santa Fe time
on December 25th, 2014.













115 thoughts on “Holiday Ornament Contest

  1. Hey I have a lot of gum balls in my yard, and pine needles across the street and sticks. Lol I have to use my imigination again.
    Forrest my brain already hurts 🙂

    • Hmmm , I guess i’ll have to see what I can find under the frozen snow. I don’t think i can get an icicle to last long enough to get a picture. LOL

  2. The perfect way to get creative Christmas juices flowing! I lit a fire, put on holiday music and I’m putting up my tree now to enjoy the season longer.*.

    I can hear Glen Campbell and Johnnie Mathis singing the Christmas songs my parents played. Music brings back great memories for me.

    (Empty-nester, miss my kids)

    • Absolutely…and a modern knife to trim with and a modern tooth pick to apply sap with…
      Tools used to make it are not important… only the ornament itself has to be completely natural and found…

        • Wood-
          I think the solution is for you to simply say they are “bird feathers”. I don’t think the judges will ask what kind of bird or whether they were domestic or wild birds.
          Please don’t mention this to anyone else.

        • Oh Carolyn, if you read what I did you would know that. Sometimes not asking a question is wiser.

          Dal said, ” Tools used to make it are not important… only the ornament itself has to be completely natural and found. ”

          I am holding him to that. LOL

          • I would just like to make sure electric powered ones are ok cause it doesn’t seem quite right, but I don’t make the rules, just want to follow them.

        • Carolyn-
          Yep. Using modern tools to fashion the piece is okay. But the piece itself cannot have anything other than found, natural materials embodied in it.

  3. This actually sounds more like an Eric Sloane project. No glue? I have to make my own fiber to hang it? Dang, this will be different. 🙂

      • That’s very funny! I was also thinking how to transform my border collies long fur into something. I always leave her hair in a pile on the porch after I brush the burrs out and love to watch the birds fly off with a bunch for their nests. I once found a nest with what looked like her hair tucked into it too.

        • That’s a great idea for a bird’s nest Raven. Thank you. I always have a big pile after brushing my german shepherd’s too. I’m going to start putting it out by the trees with the birdhouses on them and see if they will take it.

          • Heres another odd tip. My husband wrapped our water spigot in the only insulation we had at the time. Wall insulation made of fiberglass. The hummingbirds loved it, they gathered it and made nests. I have a fiberglass hummingbird nest in a box somewhere. If you have hummingbirds, it may be a fun experiment. 🙂

  4. Dal, I live in a large city in the south. There are no pine trees for sap-glue or reeds to tie with near our city. Can I use cotton thread to assemble natural components together? If not, Does anyone have suggestions for alternative string or glue?

    • Maybe this will help 42,

      This can be a great exercise on getting to know usages of nature, before luxuries. Maybe, a short description of the processes and supplies used, be added in the rules as well… to aid the judging.

      Talk about getting back to your roots. Pun intended.

      • Thank you Seeker!

        So, can I use rubber cement and other natural adhesives made commercially? Or do I need to make my own glue??

        • rules say no commercialized items…how about this one, look up cornstarch clue.

          Another is egg glue.

          Can ya tell I had three sisters?

          Of course there’s Birch pitch glue. but you need to heat that around 650 degrees for around 6-8hours… not needed for ornaments, but works great for a spear head. lol

        • 42-
          The idea is for you to go outside and collect what you need from the wild…not from a store. There are many sticky substances that can be found in the wild. A little research using Google should provide you with some ideas…or go to youtube and search on “native plant glue”.

          In the south you have millions of acres of loblolly pine which have a wonderfully sticky sap…called pitch..
          but there are other plants you can use as well..

          Further west the lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine all produce a good pitch used by many indians to attach feathers to an arrow shaft.

          But if glue is difficult than maybe you should consider an alternate method to get things to stick together…

    • 42-
      I think store bought thread would be verboten but don’t despair, you can make good thread-like material from nearly any fiberous plant. Generally the stems of sturdy plants will provide you with what you are looking for if you know how to break out the fibers. A plant like a cattail stem is a good choice. Yucca leaves also work. Many palm leaves are quite fiberous and also work well. Even the inner bark from most trees work well…willow is a favorite.

      Here is a video by Sarah that shows you the basic process. She takes it further and twists the threads into cordage…but you just need the threads. She is working with dogbane…nettle is also great and in the south you may have palm or yucca to try your hand at…

      • Thanks Dal! I may have a few ideas for natural ornaments but was wondering how to hold anything together. 🙂

        • I should have it finished by tomorrow.Halfway through making it, i look down my denim pants were gone, i was now wearing buckskin pants, i had grown a full beard, my 10lb rat terrier was now a magnificentwolf, and my living room was the rocky mountains!

    • Go to a Christmas Tree lot and ask for the leaves that they cut off trees and leave lying on the ground.

      • Dal, Seeker, Jason – thanks a million for the glue tips! I went to the only tree lot already open and they gave me branches with pine pitch to work with. On the way home from church my husband and I did a materials scavenger hunt and found the perfect grass to use as string. Such a fun project, just harder to find natural materials when you live in a concrete city.

        • I have two Golden Retrievers that shed fur like a bear, you can use for a string substitute …Just put in your Material list…Fur from wild, untamed, and very spoiled Rotten Animals.

  5. I had been wondering what I’d be doing while waiting for the snow to finish falling and melt. Making an ornament should get me through some of that time… at least a month of it anyway. Hmmm, I have a concept working in my pea sized brain 🙂

  6. We have our first entry for the contest. It’s lovely and it’s from whatrockysees.
    I posted a link to the first page of entries under the rules and entry information at the top of this page.

  7. Mark

    Get off the blog, and make some time you have plenty of time. 🙂 how cool to receive an arrow head from the one and only Forrest Fenn 🙂 don’t you love history 🙂

    • @Amy
      Hi Amy, I think you expressed interest in Advent messages. I won’t say any more about it on the blog. You can email AdventSeason2014 at
      g mail dot com.

  8. Mark, Amy’s right. We may never find the chest but here’s a chance to have Forrest send you a piece of his collection. Pretty cool I think!

    and if you look at my snowflake entry, you’ll see it doesn’t have to be difficult. I literally cut my snowflake out of folded wide grass strands like 3rd graders cut out with paper. (I live inside a city and didn’t have much to work with in the way of raw materials).

  9. Question for Forrest: can you mail back an arrowhead to us in a regular envelope? Should we include more postage and a padded envelope?

  10. Dang, no Clovis Point!!!! Well, I’ll treasure any little arrowhead from Forrest.
    Thanks Forrest, for the added incentive to make an ornament out of natural materials.

  11. Exciting! I’ve been trying to find the time to make an ornament. I guess I better MAKE the time! Thanks Forrest!

  12. Forrest, I love that idea! Whatever made you think of that?
    I can’t wait to see my arrowhead from YOU!
    Thank You!

  13. We gave the three year oid boy a bunch of pine cones and sat back to watch what he would do with them. He found some yarn and went from room to room wrapping it around chairs and doorknobs, with the pine cones dangling from his “spider web”. I was impressed by his originality, imagination, and artistic expression. Since it goes through every room of the house I can’t take a picture that would do it justice. I have never seen such string art. I am guessing it represents the web of interconnection between all things… and spiders.

  14. Forget about Christmas shopping!
    Get outside and make your ornament..
    Winners get historic antler fetish carvings by Teddy Weahkee.
    These are VERY special.
    They come from Forrest’s collection…

    Don’t put it off…

    All valid entries receive an authentic New Mexico arrowhead from Forrest’s collection…just for a valid entry…you don’t even have to win to get an arrowhead from Forrest..

  15. Forrest said that he has sent out about 18 arrowheads so far…so less than half the valid entries have requested their arrowhead…

  16. WOWWWWW!!! Forrest is sooo generous! Those prizes are awesome; antlers and rocks, what could be better! Thanks Forrest and judges!

  17. I looked over the various carvings from the websites and I like all of them. I need to learn how to carve rocks. For now, I will have to just stick to antler until I can figure it out. I need some Zuni lessons.

  18. Forrest, again, speechless. Your generosity in infinite!
    Thank you for even more “thrills” in this fun, fun, chase!!!

  19. I met Mr. Fenn last winter and he is just as Suzanne Summers describes him in Too Far To Walk. “He has a twinkle in his eye and an appeal that is enchanting.”

  20. Hothgar and I received our arrowheads today. They are from New Mexico, and absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much Forrest. We will treasure them always. 🙂

  21. What a way to get all the kids (and big kids) outside in nature to collect its bounty. Thanks to Forrest to think of such a great idea..Guess me and my grandchildren will be heading to Cape Cod to collect what we can find on the seashore. Happy hunting and hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season…

  22. Dear Mr. Fenn, My arrowhead arrived today. Thank you for your generosity. One of my son’s is at A&M and has always been interested in archaeology, He searched with me last summer and will be surprised to find it in his stocking. Merry Christmas.

  23. Only 5 days left to get your ornament entry submitted.
    Everyone with a valid entry qualifies to get an arrowhead from Forrest’s personal collection. And you might be one of two contest winners who get a historic Teddy Weahkee, Zuni carving.
    Do it today!!! 🙂

  24. December 23rd at 8:45pm Pacific Time.
    Once again…I think I am caught up with all the ornaments folks have submitted so far. If you sent an ornament, please check and make sure it is posted. If you don’t see it please send me a note right away and let me know it’s not there…I’ll look for it in my email…

  25. 30 hours left to get your ornament entered..
    Only 74 ornaments so far…room for more…and Forrest still has arrowheads left…

    • On the one hand it is a bit sad that it won’t be white out there in the morning. On the other hand my wife has to get to the airport to pick up her brother tomorrow and she hates driving on snow. Good news is I am sure no matter the weather Santa is well equipped to deal with it 🙂

      • No doubt, Matt…and Santa doesn’t even need snow tires. Heck! That dude’s got flying reindeer. I’m jealous.

    • It’s been snowing here in the Flathead in Montana since this morning. It had rained for a couple of days and everything turned to ice. I fell when I was feeding the horses the other day. Broke a couple of ribs, They sure hurt when a person takes a deep breath and it’s hard to sleep at night.The snow is really coming down . Guess we’ll be having a white christmas. You all have a wonderful holiday and be careful out there. Cheers!!!!!! The Ornament contest was fun………

  26. Sigh….never did get an ornament in. 🙁

    I enjoyed seeing all the great ones that everyone made though! Merry Christmas to all!

  27. This contest has really been fun,
    But a special “Hats off to Goofy”
    For all the work he’s done.

  28. OMG, Woody! So Sorry to hear of your misadventure. Hope you heal quick. We are getting snow here in Cody too. Its blowing sideways. Oh joy, shoveling snow for Christmas. Its just what I asked for! NOT!

  29. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    I hope everyone has a blessed holiday!

    May your smiles be ear to ear, and your hearts full of cheer!

  30. I also wanted to wish all the entrants good luck! I am proud to be amongst such a talented and diverse, bright bunch of “peers”!
    Myself, I am happy with my little arrowhead, and honored to be a part of this. There are some absolutely fantastic pieces in the contest, I do not envy the judges!!!

  31. Holiday Ornament Contest is now closed. I think we have about 80 entries. Judging will begin on Saturday and we hope to have two winners to announce on Monday..

    • Good one. It’s changed… in my mind. Great entry though, and I’m impressed by the number and quality of the entries in general. Fun stuff!

      • I agree. All the entries have been magnificent. Talk about keeping a secret… Whose gonna be the winnah?

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