Nothing says home for the holidays in Philly quite like the ice-cold chill of a PPA parking ticket or the warm, fuzzy glow of a Citywide Special.
Now you can bring those feelings to your Christmas tree with “Jawnaments,” a line of ultra-Philly ornaments guaranteed to amuse locals and confuse out-of-town guests.
Just the way we like it.
Feeling sweet? Put up the Tastykake Krimpets or Kandy Kakes Jawnaments. Having a blue Christmas? Hang the sad Philadelphia Water Department traffic cone on your tree.
The creator of the ornaments is Susan Botwick Murphy, 55, a Fishtown resident whose full-time job is teaching business classes at the University of Delaware. She first created the ornaments in 2017 while living in an apartment building straddling Fishtown and Kensington.
Murphy was inspired to create the decorations when someone on a Fishtown neighborhood Facebook page asked if any Fishtown-themed ornaments existed and one commenter suggested just hanging an Arctic Splash iced tea carton on the tree.
“It just dawned on me that wouldn’t be a bad idea,” she said.
That first Christmas Murphy made the Arctic Splash, the SEPTA trolley, and the fish address sign (seen on many houses in Fishtown) by taking photos of the items, playing around with the images on a computer, and then printing them on Shrinky Dinks paper, which she baked in her home oven.
She only made 100 and sold out of all of them just days before Christmas. With little time to waste, she even delivered them all by hand, like Santa would have wanted.
Last year Murphy added Gritty and a few other new Jawnaments. She moved her operation to NextFab’s makerspace facilities in South Philly, where the images are now attached by hand to birch wood and “precision cut with ‘frickkin’ laser beams.’”
Among the new ornaments this year were the traffic cone and the no-parking sign, both of which were inspired by the six months of construction that’s been happening on Murphy’s block. The ornaments are photos of the actual cone and sign in her neighborhood.
“If there was a way to take a picture of a pothole and make an ornament, I would,” she said.
For Murphy, the Philly food ornaments are especially fun to create.
“Every consumable ornament is something I bought, photographed, and then consumed myself,” she said. “Who doesn’t want to eat a Peanut Chew after taking a picture of it?”
Though sturdy, Murphy’s website says that the Jawnaments can break, “Just like your back, your heart and many other ornaments," if you use them “as a screwdriver, pancake flipper or ice scraper.”
It remains unclear how Jawnaments will hold up if used as a savesies parking space holder during a snowstorm.
Murphy Jawnaments are $15 each and she is donating 10% of the proceeds from the sale of several of her ornaments to the Fishtown Neighbors Association and MANNA.
Very Philly of her, indeed.
There will be a Jawnaments pop-up shop at Riverwards Produce, 2200 E. Norris Avenue in Fishtown, from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec., 14.
So far this year, Murphy has already sold more than 650 Jawnaments to people as far away as Colorado and as close as Philly. She plans to stop taking orders on Dec. 18 to ensure the ornaments arrive in time for Christmas.