If you’re looking for a fun Christmas present for your coworkers, suppliers, or customers that help keep your supply chain moving, then consider giving these ornaments.
Unfortunately, Hallmark doesn’t sell either of these as one of their special edition ornaments yet, but they’re easy to assemble yourself.
Shipping Container Ornament
Building the shipping container ornament is very easy since you use a pre-made miniature container. I used a container that is sold for model trains by Walthers. Your local hobby store may have them, or there are several for sale on eBay. Just search HO Shipping Container. (HO is the scale that I used; several other scales can work as well.) I liked the 20-foot size, although your natural urge to reduce shipping costs at work may have you in the habit of looking at 40- or 45-foot high cube containers instead. If you’re buying from eBay, make sure you get an actual plastic container since many paper card containers are also for sale – and a supply chain cowboy never ships in paper containers.
Once you get the container you like, then you just need to attach the ornament hook.
To get a hook, you can either buy them from the dollar store, cannibalize an old ornament, or just grab a paper clip. I used pliers to straighten the wire out and then put a nice right angle bend at the bottom. When you’re happy with your hook and ready to attach it to the ornament, just put a small line (about 1/ 4 inch) on top of the container and press the hook into place. If you’re ambitious, you can use a rotary drill to put a couple small holes in the top for the hook. However, I followed the advice of my crafty wife who thought it’d be much easier to use a hot glue gun instead.
Let the glue cool until it’s dry and then you’re done. Some containers have room to put something inside, so you could throw in a nice note.
If your coworkers don’t deal with many shipping containers, then consider a pallet ornament.
Christmas Pallet Ornament
The base of this ornament comes from the Uline Pallet Notes. We have quite a few of these since Uline often ships them to us for free, so I collected up the wooden parts from around the office. If you don’t use Uline for warehouse supplies, then you might be able to use popsicle sticks or other small pieces of wood. Having them pre-made is definitely the easiest option.
Next, you need a fun box to put on the pallet. I went to the dollar store and found a bunch of small boxes that were just the right size. Anything small could work though, even a round glass ornament would look good shrink wrapped to a pallet. I threw a round jingle bell inside my box so it sounds like a festive load when it moves.
Using a glue gun, secure the lid to the box and then the box to the pallet. Gluing everything together isn’t required, but it will make wrapping much easier.
To wrap the pallet, actual pallet shrink-wrap works best, but I used simple home plastic wrap from my kitchen (I made sure to get permission from my wife first). Cut the wrap into 1-inch wide strips.
Then, with someone pulling tight on the other end, roll the ornament around from the base up and wrap it just like a real pallet. When you’re done, grab a hook and attach it to the top with a glue gun.
Finally, print out your pallet labels. You can either print small stickers or just tape on a cut piece of paper. Here’s the Word document I used to make the labels.
Sometimes it’s difficult to think of gifts for all of your coworkers, but I have really come to enjoy making and giving ornaments at Christmas. It’s a festive way to say “thanks” for all of their hard work, and it’s also a fun way to display your inner supply chain cowboy on your Christmas tree.
What types of gifts do you give to coworkers? What other types of supply chain ornaments could you make? What other creative ways do you have of thanking others in your supply chain during the holidays? Please leave your thoughts below.