A Very Cool Holiday Ornament Tradition

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All local residents should plan to visit Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel this holiday season, which has served the island since 1899. There’s already a good chance you have an ornament for your Christmas Tree from Bailey’s. Pat Kiely, the “ornament lady” designs a new ornament for Bailey’s every year.

Only 500 ornaments are made each year. The 2020 ornament is a green Model AA Ford delivery truck. The colorful 23 karat gold-on-brass ornament is always designed to uniquely represent Bailey’s. It’s the 12th ornament designed by Kiely. She came up with the idea to design a new ornament when in 2008, three years after she started working at the store.

Kiely says, “The idea for the truck came from my boss Bailie Johnson, and we all thought that was perfect. The truck was purchased by the current owners, and it has represented the store all over the island at weddings and parades. It’s like an ambassador.”

Kiely goes on to say Francis Bailey, who was the company’s second-generation owner-operator, loved Christmas. “He was a very giving and generous person. He was so happy on Christmas, but he was skeptical about the ornament. He died in 2013, and this has become like a tribute to him. We have so many who take home something from Bailey’s. I came up with the ornament because it’s much more permanent and is something you can hang up all year long. It always speaks Bailey’s to you.”

The ornament comes in a velveteen folder that says “Bailey’s” on the front and sells for $15 at the store, 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL. If you would like to order one over the phone, you can call 239-472-1516.

In previous years, the ornament has featured the original brass cash register (still on display at the store today), The Island Store on Captiva, a shopping cart, a Model T Ford, the original store that was destroyed in a hurricane in 1926, and a clock that is on the store’s wall set to 6:13 to remember Francis Bailey.