#AtoZChallenge: K is for KNICK-KNACK

59 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2015, Language, Writing/Blogging
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“Favourite Words” is my theme. (Not all of them – keeping it mild 😉 )
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#AtoZChallenge, Day 11: K is for KNICK-KNACK, The Doglady's Den
Day 11, April 13




a small worthless object, especially a household ornament.

synonyms: trinket, novelty, gewgaw, bibelot, ornament,
trifle, bauble, gimcrack, curio, tchotchke,
memento, souvenir

Confession time! I have a knick-knack fetish. These are the shelves in my dining area. As you can see, my taste runs to glassware, booze bottles (common in European culture; some are rare collectables), art plates, photo frames, books and souvenirs. Yes, I love all my little baubles – many have sentimental value – except when it comes to dusting them. Talk about a boring, time-consuming task! Next time, I’ll try doing it with full presence. Confession #2: Sometimes, I merely swipe at them lackadaisically (don’t you love that word too?) with a feather duster. Looks good enough if you don’t get too close. 😉

#AtoZChallenge, Day11: K is for Knick-Knack, The Doglady's Den

Another knick-knack obsession is fridge magnets.
Some are souvenirs from our travels, while others have funny or cute sayings.

#AtoZChallenge, Day 11: K is for Knick-Knacks, The Doglady's Den

This was a gift for Hubby, who’s been putting up with my German ways all these years.
He made some facetious comment about it and rolled his eyes. 😀

#AtoZChallenge, Day 11: K is for Knick-Knacks, The Doglady's Den(Frankenmuth is a picturesque German town in northern Michigan, U.S.A.
Stay tuned for the ensuing travel article.)

Then there’s the old nursery rhyme, which is unrelated to the above, or is it?

This song’s origins are fairly obscure, but it may or may not have had something to do with the Irish potato famine. Folk singer Pete Seeger recorded it in 1953 and it appeared in the film, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness in 1958.

Etymology for the word “Knick-Knack” is also somewhat hazy:

#AtoZChallenge, Day 11: K is for KNICK-KNACK, The Doglady's Den

Do you collect knick-knacks? If so, what kind?

Can you tell us anything about the origins of this nursery rhyme?

Looking forward to your comments!


AtoZChallenge 2015
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Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

59 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: K is for KNICK-KNACK

  1. That sure is a lot of knick knacks you collect Debbie and I as sure would hate to dust them all too! 😉 I think books are different from knick knacks though! I used to have quite a collection of items (knick knacks) that were heart-shaped but have toned it down a lot so only a very few now. 😉 <3

    1. Yeah, about 40 years worth, Elly and I don’t enjoy dusting them either, but they all have memories attached. That’s where the “full presence” comes in; trying to make it a pleasant task by thinking of their origins, etc. You’re right – books aren’t knick-knacks – they just happened to be there. I have hundreds more books elsewhere, plus CDs DVDs, even old vinyl records and cassettes, (with a vintage 1973 stereo to play them on). Total packrat! LOL We’ve lived in this house for 19 years. Moving would probably cure me. 🙂 There was a Nirvana song about a heart-shaped box. Sounds like a lovely collection.

  2. I don’t really collect knick knacks–I collect beads. Lots and lots of them. I have no room for knick knacks, because every available shelf space and beyond is filled with BOOKS. :3 Oh well… I do like your shelves, too.

    1. Hi Mary; I know you make lovely jewellery with those beads. 🙂 I have hundreds of books too, in other parts of the house. The ones you see here are the newer ones. It’s astonishing what one can accumulate over a 40+ year span! We are trying to curtail our packrat ways, before we get over-run. LOL

  3. I’m loving your shelves! My grandma had a ton of things on her living room shelves, she still has them to this day. I’m a hoarder of pretty notebooks & pens. It’s crazy how much I love office supplies, haha.

    1. Thanks, Leslie. 🙂 There’s 40 years of stuff there! Pens and notebooks go hand in hand, yes? We have pens from all over but it’s not a conscious “collection”. Thanks for visiting!

  4. I love all of your knick-knacks! I am not a knick-knack person, however, the ones I do have are very precious to me and I display them proudly. My biggest down fall? BOOKS! I am out of room for all of my books. Are books knock-knacks? 😉

    1. Thanks, Robyn. 🙂 Yes, most of these have memories attached and span 40 years. Books aren’t really knick-knacks, although you see them here. I have hundreds more of those too, as well as CDs, DVDs, vinyl records and even old cassettes (with a vintage 1973 stereo to play them on). Packrat! 😀

  5. Loved your post about knick knacks and the photos of your treasures. It’s such a fun word, isn’t it? I used to collect angels and cats but haven’t for some time now. I find I’m less of a collector now and just want to collect experiences instead of things these days. I do have some that have sentimental value but others I could take them or leave them.

    1. Thanks, Cathy. 🙂 We’ve pretty much stopped collecting now too – this is 40+ years worth of stuff – except for the occasional souvenir. Time to think about downsizing. We’re a couple of packrats and that’s not necessarily a good thing. 😛

  6. Loved your knick knacks and yes, I am a huge fan of those fridge magnets and junk jewelry. I keep collecting them here and there 🙂
    Great post!!

  7. Here I am, a retired librarian/teacher who should be checking books out to read by no…I have to own them. So, I guess my knickknacks are my hundreds of books. I can’t give them up.

    1. Haha! Yes, I have those too, Sue. 🙂 For years, I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club and was able to buy many hard covers at bargain prices. Thanks for visiting.

  8. You have a fab knick-knack collection… loved the fridge magnets! True, dusting small decoratives is a real pain! Have broken some of them in the process! 😐

    1. Thanks, Shilpa. 🙂 Magnets make nice little souvenirs. Yes, I’ve broken a few things too, over the years. Ideally, they should be put under glass to keep the dust off, but we don’t have room for such cabinets.

  9. I used to be a major hoarder of random knick knacks. I had to give it up as we moved a lot in the past few years and it was pain to pack and unpack them all the time. However, I do collect fridge magnets for each place we visit. 🙂

    1. Yes, having to pack these things would be a nightmare! I’m sure moving would cure me of this habit very quickly, but we’ve lived in the same house for 19 years. Magnets are great souvenirs. 🙂

  10. You do have some knick-knacks! I certainly have a number that I’ve acquired from different people–I rarely buy any myself unless it’s been for someone else. My wife has got quite an array of fridge magnets.

    My daughters use “knick-knack” a lot when they are describing something silly, trite, or to them dumb. They say “such and such is so knick-knacky”. I’m amused by they way they say it, but I have no idea where they picked up the expression.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host

    1. I’ve never heard “knick-knack” used in that way. Interesting colloquialism! This is many years worth of stuff and we’re not planning on adding any more. If anything, it’s time to de-clutter.

  11. If only I had enough space in my house!! I love collecting things… but since I keep moving I have lost a lot of my collection .

    1. If I had to move, there would definitely be a purge! 🙂 We’ve lived in the same house for 19 years, which make it easier to accumulate stuff.

  12. Loved your collection of knick-knacks and the information associated with it! Happy A to Z!!

  13. I love this word and all others related to it, such as hodgepodge, mingle-mangle, mish mash, odds & ends, ragbag, bits & bobs
    … and the one that I REALLY, REALLY love the sound of is oodles of caboodles!

    My thoughts for today?
    Kickstart your K-Day at your keyboard with a keen and knowledgeable, killer, knockout, kick-ass attitude.
    Keep at it!
    Happy K-Day! 🙂

  14. I don’t have a knik-knak problem, I have a glasses, DVD and Avengers’ Merchandise problem 🙂 I think my DVDs could do with going over with a feather duster 😉
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    1. Oh yes, we have lots of DVDs, CDs even vinyl records and cassettes (along with a vintage 1973 stereo to play them on). They could all use a good dusting. 😛

  15. Very interesting post ! I don’t really have a habit of collecting. But I do love the albums, which is precious filled with beautiful and memorable moments..

  16. I would love to see your collection of knick knacks up close 🙂 love the magnets too, your post today is a visual treat.

  17. I love your knick knacks looks like something I would nosey at in your home LOL and now I have the song knick knack paddy wack give the dog a bone in my head for the day – thanks! (wink)

  18. I love learning the history of words! I wonder if adding knick to knack to mean a trick had to do with “to nick” meaning “to steal”? We don’t have too many knick-knacks, mainly ornaments the kids have made. Our fridge isn’t magnetic, but we have a small collection of oven magnets!

    1. That’s an interesting theory, Nick. Could well be! 🙂 We’re looking to de-clutter at this stage, having accumulated 40+ years worth of stuff. 😛

  19. Wow! Thats an excellent collection but must be a nightmare when dusting your shelves.. I have a fridge magnet collection too! Great post as always 🙂

    1. It’s a real pain, for sure, but I cheat and do a quick feather dust in between. Looks passable. 🙂 Fridge magnets are beloved worldwide and you can find some really interesting ones.

  20. Wow you certainly have a huge collection of knick-knacks! I can agree on the sentimental value, though. Probably one reason I need to declutter stuff almost every month 😉 Oh and my kid loves that rhyme 😀

    1. Oh, there’s more in the house. 🙂 Tons of books, CDs. DVDs, even all my old vinyl records and VHS tapes. We’re hopeless pack rats and need to declutter. LOL That is such a strange, but fun song.

  21. I love knick-knacks! Adorable video. Now I’ll have that song stuck in my head for the day…
    I downsized on the knick-knacks because I hate dusting them all. I ended up buying four curio cabinets last year and now everything is behind glass and doesn’t get near as dusty as it used to and it makes my job so much easier. I collect beer steins, greyhound statues, Pocket Dragons and that’s about it nowadays. I actually haven’t bought anything in ages since I simply don’t have room for any more. I’m in a down-size streak these days… But I love looking at others’ knick-knacks. Thanks for sharing yours! Fun stuff!

    1. Hahaha! That’s a real ear worm, alright. 🙂 Yeah; I hate dusting them too and take a lot of short cuts – hurray for feather dusters! Glass cabinets would definitely be better and I have a big one of those too, filled with the good crystal, etc. We also have a few beer steins. I had to look up “Pocket Dragons”. They’re cute! 🙂 Love the dog statues and of course, we have some Dalmatian ones, as well as collector plates and a fun picture frame. Hubby and I are pack rats and our little bungalow is crammed full of stuff. Definitely time to start down-sizing! Giant yard sale, maybe.

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