Review: “Christmas Traditions” by Pinkerton Road & Lena Pigareva, White Mountain 9.5/10

Publisher: White Mountain (US), published 2017

Title:  “Christmas Traditions” by Pinkerton Road & Lena Pigareva, 1000 pieces pieces

Finished size: 24″ x 30″ (1000 pieces)

OUR RATING: 9.5/10

It’s that time of year, time for a Christmas puzzle glut. I was super excited to get my hands on this brand new Christmas puzzle from White Mountain. Let’s take a look!

Box Quality:  (9/10)

The box front is shown above. The front shows the image, the puzzle title, and the piece count. The box size is roughly 10″ x 12″. There’s a “Limited Edition” label and white ribbon, in the tradition of some of the great Euro brands limited edition Christmas puzzles, like Ravensburger and Gibsons. This is the first time I’ve seen this on a White Mountain box, and I’m hoping this means the start of new annual puzzles of this style and quality. Because this is a beauty!

Back:
The back of the box serves as a mini catalog with more White Mountain puzzles. This is much nicer than a plain white back.

Sides:

The sides feature an image of the puzzle, the piece count, title, and White Mountain logo. The artist’s name only appears in fine print in a copyright statement. The year of manufacture (2017) is on one side. I can shelve this puzzle with any end outwards and have a one-glance reference to what the puzzle is. It would be nice if the artist’s name were easier to see on the side.

Inside:

This puzzle comes with the bag of puzzle pieces, a single sheet flyer with a few other puzzles on it (my box had a duplicate of the flyer), and a stand for the box lid. There was a fair amount of puzzle dust. The pieces were undamaged and fully separated. I didn’t find any image lift.

Overall the box is one of the most attractive White Mountain boxes I’ve seen. I’ve rated it a 9.

The Image:  10/10

I love Christmas puzzles, especially when they are hand-painted scenes. I’m particularly fond of collage puzzles which have more than one vignette. This image reminds me of the classic Ravensburger and Waddingtons Christmas puzzles. In this image there are five related scenes, all of them representing Christmas traditions of a 1950s family. There’s a ride out to a farm to get a tree, a night spent caroling, a day in the kitchen with Mom baking cookies, and a trip to see Santa at the mall. The center scene depicts a cozy Christmas morning.

The art style on this puzzle is soft and lovely with an almost air-brushed feeling. It’s also highly detailed. All the little items in the kitchen, and in the border of greenery around the center image, show how much time and care went into this. You’ll discover so much as you assemble the puzzle. The colors are bright and appealing, and the nostalgic theme is ideal for the season.

I’ve rated the image a perfect 10.

(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)

Puzzle Quality: (9/10)

I recently updated my White Mountain Brand Comparison page. This 2017 puzzle had no image lift at all (image lift is when the top picture part starts to separate from the cardboard background). So the quality was even better than the puzzle I reviewed in the brand comparison.

As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I especially like the larger piece size (and final puzzle size) of the White Mountain puzzles. Because the final puzzle size is larger  than most brands (24″ x 30″ for this 1000 piece puzzle vs a Ravensburger at 20″ x 27″), it feels like a real accomplishment when you’re done and you can really see the artwork. I also like the random cut and the very flat and seamless finish. As you can see in the close-up below, once assembled the puzzle lies very flat with no raised pieces and the cut really blends in. It’s not easy to separate the pieces once joined, so you can move groups of assembled pieces around without them falling apart. However, you do need to use care when separating mis-joined pieces to make sure you don’t damage a piece.

There is a glossy finish, but I didn’t have any trouble with glare on this puzzle. The colors and image reproduction are excellent.

I’ve given quality a strong 9 score for quality on this puzzle.

Assembly:  (10/10)

I was looking forward to this one, and I really enjoyed assembling this puzzle while Christmas movies played on the TV. 🙂 It’s very festive, and there’s a lot of variety within the puzzle.  I’d rate the difficulty easy-to-moderate. It took me two sessions to complete, but one session was a long one.

DAY ONE :

I first assembled the border and laid all the pieces face up. There’s a lot of green in the puzzle, so I didn’t start with that. The easiest vignette to recognize was the Santa scene in the lower left. The dark royal blue background, Santa figure, candy canes, and aqua sleigh were easy to find among the pieces. The flat green Christmas tree on the left is also different from the realistic greenery elsewhere in the puzzle. So that quadrant got assembled first, minus some of the clothing areas.

Continuing on with the blues, the purple-blue background in the upper right came next. There’s quite a bit of variety in it, from the snowy tree limbs to the snowy bench and bright lanterns. Most of the interior of the figures was left undone for now since those colors repeat. I really liked the two lanterns, which help break up the blue area.

Look at the tiny snowman on the border above. Too cute!

The window near the carolers is a light peach color not seen elsewhere in the puzzle. The vertical and horizontal lines make it quick to put together.

The last thing I did on day one was part of the kitchen. The deep red fridge is a distinctive color, as is the red and white checked floor. The white apron over the aqua dress was also easy to find, and part of the kitchen table and the little girl filled in from there.

Look at the fine detail in the kitchen, from the drawings on the fridge to the sugar and milk containers on the table.

DAY TWO :

On day two, I first focused on clothing, which is all brightly colored with a lot of aqua and coral shades. This filled in the “caroling” vignette and much of the kitchen. The coral shades also filled out the center vignette which has a “firelight glow”. There’s some nice pattern here which helps for easy assembly, like the circle pattern on the curtains, the brick on the fireplace, a dot pattern on the wall above the fireplace, and the star-shaped clock.

There are a lot of toys in the center image, which appear to be based on real toys from the 1950s. The details made me smile and brought back memories.

The snowy outdoor scene in the upper left could easily be done earlier in the process, because the snow is distinctive. But I saved it for last because it was my favorite vignette.

There’s a dramatic sky with pink and purple clouds, bare tree branches with berries, and a farm with red buildings. The fluffy brown trees are also very easy to find among the pieces.

The aqua car with the Christmas tree on top is a treat to put together.

There’s so much detail. The bottom of the snowy vignette is divided from the top of the Santa scene by a white fence, mailbox, and rabbit. Aw!

The last area of the puzzle to be filled in were all the spots of greenery, like the Christmas tree and the green bough border around the central vignette. The greenery is a random pattern, but there are plenty of ornaments on the tree and in the border that you can always figure out where a piece goes by checking the box lid.

The border is another area where there’s tons of small details–ornaments and cookies and poinsetta flowers and more.

I loved this puzzle and I’ve given assembly a full 10 score.

Summary:

White Mountain’s “Christmas Traditions” is a classic Christmas montage puzzle. It reminds me of the older Ravensburger and Waddingtons limited edition Christmas puzzles. The art style is beautiful and there are many fine details throughout to discover while you assemble the pieces. The colors are bright and festive. Each scene shows a different holiday tradition for a young family in the 1950’s. I especially loved the snowy scene with the theme of “bringing home the Christmas tree”.  This is an easy-to-moderate puzzle that would be perfect to work with a group at Christmas, given the layout of the various story panels. The quality is quite good. I especially like White Mountain’s larger piece size and very flat, smooth finish. Highly recommended for everyone this holiday season!

Where to find:

Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.

PWLOGO

JJ

3 responses to Review: “Christmas Traditions” by Pinkerton Road & Lena Pigareva, White Mountain 9.5/10

  1. Scottish Jen says:

    Thanks Jane. I love this American vintage scene and I wish this puzzle and others like it were easier to get over here in the UK. British nostalgia is all well and good (and I love it really!) but I would like to expand my collection a bit with some of the puzzles you’ve been featuring recently. I love Charles Wysocki puzzles too. I’ll keep an eye on the UK sites over 2018.

    On a separate note, do you have any intel on the new Heye releases for 2018? am checking daily on their website for their new puzzle catalogue but nothing yet.

    • Jane says:

      I’ve been checked the web for the new Heye a few times a week. But I messaged them on their facebook page and they said the new catalogue would be out in January. Seems like they are announcing a bit later each year.

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