Oh, don’t worry, I didn’t really mean that title. It’s simply clickbait. Those who know me well know that my
obsession healthy interest in the Target holiday birds (also known as Wondershop/Featherly Friends/Spritz birds could we pick a frickin name and stick with it, Target?) is far from problematic. In fact, some might call it an inspiration, or dare I say, to use a word previously banished from my lexicon, a blessing. The point? I feel no shame about this collection. How many birds do I have? I truly have no clue. I’ll count them for you guys when I finally get this year’s haul out of storage. If we’re talking Halloween birds, fall birds, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and spring birds. . . well over a hundred.
A few days ago my Dad (bless!) shared this article about how the $5 Fabric Birds Are Creating a Frenzy, and in a true slow-clap nodding with approval moment, the author described them as “whimsical, yet strangely relatable.” Yes, friends. They are indeed relatable. Let’s dig deeper.
You’ve heard of being classified into a Hogwarts house, yes? (Proud Hufflepuff, SKO! (Did I use that right, Gen Z? ” ‘Sko” as in “Let’s go?”)) Well, in this Festive Home, we have Bird Houses. And if you enter our home during the holidays and you noticed that while you’re talking to us, our eyes glaze over momentarily, then squint as we gaze off in the distance, appearing to be in a state of deep contemplation or cannabis consumption, it’s because we are silently sorting you into a Bird House. With a sub-dominant house as well, because while we enjoy judging people and are firm believers in Labels as a Pastime, we aren’t myopic enough to discard the nuances of the human condition! Pfft, let’s be reasonable.
The primary bird types are Merry, Whimsy, Sporty, Rustic, and Elegant (with new sub-house “Cozy Elegant” because Target began producing this classification of bird as a disproportionate rate from other types, specifically the Whimsy Birds (DO YOU HEAR ME, TARGET? WE WOULD APPRECIATE MORE WHIMSY BIRDS.) and we have too damn many and some of them are like fancy and furry while others you can tell are just rich people who enjoy hanging out at the apres ski but aren’t necessarily either athletic or old ladies from the Upper West Side circa 1960. I fear our Rustic birds may be next to require sub-houses: you’ll note the spectrum of “rural Christmas tree farmer” to “Professor strolling down the block to his Brownstone.”
Also, I realize they should be called “Whimsical” not “Whimsy” to conform to the other titles being adjectives, but my youngest child went through this adorable phase several years ago where she really enjoyed the word whimsy and didn’t necessarily use it conventionally, so now we just have to deal with it. #FestivePeopleProblems amiright?
What’s that? You want photos of these festive feathery fuckers, don’t you? I’ll be pleased to share those with you, both artistic close-up photos of my favorite birds, and some panned out attempts to capture entire displays of birds, as they are kept with their houses for decorative purposes, because, duh, don’t make me say it: Birds of a feather flock together.
In order to impart this information to you with more clarify, I’m going to have to reference the “What Bird House Are You?” slideshow presented by my teenage daughter last year. To protect the privacy of those identified, I’ll abstain from just sharing a video of the whole thing, lest any family member is uncomfortable being Outed as a Questionable Bird Type. Sidenote, she also classified the Schitt’s Creek characters into houses as well, and it was GODDAMN GENIUS. Please also note: The photos used in this presentation do NOT include this year’s additions. Be patient. I’ll show you those guys, too.
Note the thoughtful descriptions for each category! “They like sports I guess,” for example.
But, friends, it gets better! My innovative daughter jumped to the natural conclusion that not only could the birds belong to families, SO. COULD. PEOPLE. For example:
Want to take a guess as to what my dominant and subdominant houses are? Go ahead.
Yep. I’m a Merry Whimsy bird, folks.
After reading this handy guide, you too can determine which dominant and sub-dominant bird houses you belong to! What fun!
Also, we’ve really grown as a family in the past year in terms of our decorative prowess. No longer do we just line those damn birds up in a row (The shame!) like we did when we first got them in 2017. Now we include other accessories, and most importantly, platforms for height variability. People. This has been world-changing. Our fall and Halloween birds this year? CHEF’S KISS.
But about that aesthetic evolution. Allow me to transport you back to 2017, the dawn of this merry new era of our lives.
My first haul. Six gorgeous birds, representing all Merry, Whimsy, Sporty, Elegant, and Rustic categories. Look at how intuitively they revel in their balance. 3 days I later, I returned to find this incredible gem. #TeamRustic
Thus began a 5-year-old
compulsion harmless hobby I refer to as “The Thrill of the Chase,” wherein even after I have already visited the holiday aisles at Target in search of birds, I CANNOT STOP CHECKING. Sometimes, friends, the persistence pays off.
We carried on with our collection in 2018 and 2019, acquiring new birds at an appropriate rate, and giving up when unable to locate a certain bird from that year’s collection. (Shrug, win some lose some! This half-assed acceptance of mediocrity does not fly these days, my friends. Sorry about so many bird puns. I can’t seem to stop myself.)
In 2020, when folks began to elevate hobbies and interests to new (pathological?) levels of fervor, we appropriately upped our game. This was the year we had amassed enough of the adorable corresponding bird ornaments to warrant, drumroll. . . AN ENTIRE CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATED WITH BIRDS! I will not be showing you photos of that year’s tree, because it was hideous and green. In 2021, we realized we could no longer afford such aesthetic faux pax (what is the plural of faux pax?) and hence, the retro white tree was born. Here’s a quick glimpse of the tree itself as well as the adorable beyond reason tiny bird ornaments, but LET’S NOT GET OFF TRACK. We have so much farther to go.
JUST LOOK AT THEM.
Allow me to indulge you with some artistic photos of our bird family displays. I trust that by now, you’ll be able to easily identify which families are which, right? RIGHT?!
I realize you may still have questions. Like, Stephanie, is it easy or difficult to obtain full collections of these seasonal birds, as Target releases as many as TWELVE per holiday season? I’m so glad you asked.
Friends, it’s a flocking challenge. Sure, the less novel birds may find their way to Target shelves near you, where they will sit for weeks on end, plentiful in supply. Others? They’ll appear on the website for like ONE DAY and if you don’t order them to be shipped, you’re SOL. Sometimes they’ll say they are out of stock, and then you’ll just casually wander back to the holiday section, I mean, just to check, it’s no big deal (see above: “The Thrill of the Chase”) and what do you know! There’s the freaking reindeer bird that claimed to be out of stock. You just. Never. Know. I’ve heard there are also FB groups you can join where fellow bird-lovers will share when each new collection becomes available (I mean, that’s just what I heard. It’s not like I belong to two of them.)
I can feel your holiday spirit rising, but I do need to alert you to one most unfortunate karmically un-festive practice: FOLKS PURCHASE THESE BIRDS AND SELL THEM ON EBAY FOR THREE TIMES THE PRICE. BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE DESPERATE TO COMPLETE THIS YEAR’S COLLECTION AND THE BLUE SNOWFLAKE BIRD IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND BUT IT IS ON EBAY. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL PAY $15 PER BIRD. THOSE PEOPLE ARE ME.
I’m pleased to share that this season, I have only resorted to purchasing two Halloween birds, one Whimsy bird, and one Merry bird on eBay. Sure, I could have continued my thrill of the chase practice by repeatedly visiting Targets all throughout the metro area, but I need you to know: this is only fun for a while. Plus, gas is expensive and time is money.
Lest your interest be piqued, you can find further enjoyment with my highlighted Instagram stories featuring short reels (set to music!) giving you (goddammit I can’t stop) a bird’s-eye view of these decorative scenes. Find me on Insta at @stephsprenger.
Now, go forth and be merry and festive, and most importantly: DON’T FORGET TO CONTACT ME AND LET ME KNOW WHAT BIRD FAMILY YOU BELONG TO!
Merrily and Whimsically yours,