I am definitely not a tchotchke person. (That's New York slang for knickknacks.) Each of the four items below has symbolic meaning beyond mere decoration.
The first item is the only family heirloom I own. Sixty years ago, my father left a war-torn country and came to America. He arrived without any family or friends. The little family he left behind have never visited here and I don't know them. When my father's father was dying in the 1970's, my dad returned to his homeland (alone) to say goodbye. His family gave him this ashtray with our family name on it. He brought it back to us and now it's in my hands.
At first glance, you might think the ashtray is kitschy, but it is more than that. It has real sentimental value -- it is the only connection I have to my family's past. Plus, its design is, upon closer inspection, quite appealing despite the dated motif. Here are two pictures of it...
Next up is a teapot displaying a view of the world like a globe. I acquired it while visiting the scenic Acadia National Park in Maine two years ago. Next to the Park is a lovely resort town named Bar Harbour -- which, in a Maine accent, is pronounced, "Baa HaaBaa." :)
Did you know that, in England, the bird they call a robin is a completely different bird than the one we here in America call the robin? A close-friend of mine, who lives in Wales, learned this and sent me a matching set of objects depicting the English type of robin.
Finally, for comic relief, here's my white-trash coin-bowl. When I started riding motorcycles, people began having fun with me about the associations motorcycling has with disreputable low-life. Since I'm as far from a hairy, tattooed biker as one can be, when my friends joke about this, it's funny. I join them in the humor.