Bring Harry Potter Home This Holiday Season With a Christmas Tree Topper That Plays “Hedwig’s Theme”

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

From the 12 fir Christmas trees in Hogwarts's Great Hall to the iconic monogrammed wool jumpers that Mrs. Weasley knits for Harry and her family, Christmastime is an especially sacred season in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. This year, you can add some magic to your own holiday decorations with a tree topper shaped like the Hogwarts castle.

House Beautiful reports that the electric tree topper not only glows with an impressive display of multicolored lights, it also plays music from “Hedwig’s Theme.” If you’re not sure which bit of John Williams’s acclaimed score that is, you’ll probably recognize it when you hear it—a variation of the theme plays at the beginning each film, and elements of the track are also worked into other pieces of music throughout the movies.

Hallmark Harry Potter Hogwarts castle Christmas tree topper
Hallmark

The tree topper is part of Hallmark’s Harry Potter collection, which also includes individual ornaments shaped like Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. They, too, are imbued with enchantment: Press a button and the characters will perform the scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in which the schoolmates stumble upon the three-headed dog Fluffy in the forbidden third-floor corridor. If you purchase the Hogwarts tree topper and the Harry figurine, you can activate another classic scene from the film—when young Harry protects the Sorcerer’s Stone from Voldemort in the depths of the castle.

At $30 each for the character ornaments and $120 for the tree topper on Amazon, Hallmark’s collection is a lot cheaper than a holiday trip to Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and it’s a lot more convenient than capturing a garden gnome for the top of your tree (which, as Potterheads may recall, is what the Weasley children did in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).

[h/t House Beautiful]

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Queen Elizabeth II Keeps Her Holiday Decorations Up Through February—Here’s Why

John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images
John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images

If your family and friends have been ribbing you lately because your lawn still looks like Santa’s satellite workshop, here’s a reasonable counterargument: Queen Elizabeth II Ieaves her holiday decorations up at least until February 6.

Travel + Leisure reports that the Queen and Prince Philip spend the holiday season at Sandringham House, a stately Norfolk country residence that Prince Philip is responsible for maintaining. Ownership passed to the Queen after her father, King George VI, died there on February 6, 1952. Since then, she has observed the anniversary of his death at Sandringham, letting the decorations remain until after she has returned to Buckingham Palace.

According to HELLO! magazine, Sandringham House’s seasonal trappings are supposedly a bit more subtle than the extravagant lights and towering evergreens of the Crown's more public estates like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. At Sandringham, however, the royal family actually helps decorate; as mentioned on the official royal website, the Queen and members of her family “usually put the final touches on their Christmas tree.”

Long-lasting Christmas decorations aren’t the only way the Queen celebrates King George VI’s legacy during the holidays. Following the tradition set by her father (and his father before him), the Queen gifts a total of about 1500 Christmas puddings to her staff, including palace personnel, police, and Court Post Office workers. Each pudding—a spiced fruit cake, rather than the creamy, gelatinous dessert Americans think of when they hear the term pudding—comes with a holiday greeting card from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

18 Weird and Wonderful Holidays to Celebrate in the New Year

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

If you think some celebratory traditions are strange, you've clearly never experienced National Sleepyhead Day. This Finnish holiday, which is observed each year on July 27, might sound like a great excuse to spend the day napping—but sleeping is the last thing you want to be caught doing. If you're the last person in the house found snoozing on National Sleepyhead Day, prepare to be awoken in the rudest way possible: with a bucket of water to the face.

That's just one of the weird and wonderful holidays that Mental Floss Editor-in-Chief Erin McCarthy is celebrating in this all-new edition of The List Show.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

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