When I was about 4, I remember a friend of my parents, Mr. Johnson, asking me what I wanted for Christmas one year, and I immediately knew what it was: glitter. A box full of it. Except I didn’t know what it was called, so I told him I wanted a box of sparkles.
Throughout my life, this theme recurs, this love of “sparkles”: peering up from under the Christmas tree, imagining I was a fairy in a magical world of twinkling lights; getting lost in the dancing facets of crystals or diamonds, or club lights, or starry skies.
When I go to Costco with just my little one, we usually go straight to the jewelry case to ooh-ahh at the diamonds. She will point out her favorites, while I would target in on the most sparkly one and just stare at it, imagining what a world within the circumference of the sparklosion would be like. Sometimes, my daughter has to snap me out of it by calling out to me loudly while pulling at my arm, my eyes “blingering” as the rest of me moves to her command.
I have wrestled with this shameless wonderment that has me cutting away from my clan whenever we’re out in public and I see something particularly Swarovski-like, like a child running across the street after her laughing, beckoning, bouncy-bouncy ball. Why do I love sparkly things so much? Am I immature? Am I tacky and don’t even know it?
I have to clarify that I don’t care about jewelry – I don’t wear it much. When my husband proposed to me, he chose a ring much too expensive for my comfort. I had told him that it could be a fake stone, but that I would love it if it were just sparkly. (I have little care for monetary value – only happiness value.) He ended up buying me the most expensive and meaningful (to him) ring he could find, and I love him for his efforts….but I would have been just as happy with a cheap, small, bright CZ or Aussie crystal.
So, after many years of being the only one in my circle to love such things to the point that I had considered starting a business creating large canvases of art made purely of Swarovski crystals (which I later talked myself out of, recognizing my lack of patience to do any such work requiring the placement of countless dots of anything), I realized why: It may not make practical sense, but it made magic, and that’s the fundamental point to anything we enjoy.
Having grown up Catholic, I can only speak for my own experience with Christmas and its many joys, one being that of the feeling of magic. Yes, there’s the opportunistic commercialism diluting the fundamental reasons for this season’s celebrations. But the fact remains: We are all moving along with the notion, however committed we may be to engaging in it, of wishing each other well; of creating joyful memories for our children; of being a little more patient, kind, forgiving, open; of giving and sharing and celebrating and laughing much more than we may in our everyday.
And we are doing these things simultaneously, and in magnificent numbers, every year. This is magic. This is life. This is a box of sparkles.
May you have a great holiday season, and allow yourself to get lost in the arresting beauty of its magic throughout the coming year.