It was a typical weeknight about ten days before Christmas. I had a list of twenty items that needed to be completed before the holiday arrived, yet the idea of sitting on my couch in sweatpants watching Monday Night Football and bouncing around between apps on my phone seemed like a much more appealing decision.
As I was perusing a social media feed, I saw a post from a friend. This post featured a very beautiful, yet very broken, winter-themed snow globe. In the middle of the globe stood three white, porcelain deer, huddled together like a family. The post read:
“Don’t suppose anyone happens to have an intact version of this snow globe just laying around gathering dust? It was my son’s favorite, and my daughter accidentally broke it. Much crying all around.”
In response to the angst I could feel through the words and the image, I put on my thinking cap. I quickly shared the post on a local tag sale page, which included more than 25,000 members. I also jumped on eBay, seeing if I could find someone who happened to have one for sale.
I soon realized that I was not the only one doing the searching. The notifications icon on my phone kept lighting up, signifying group members leaving comments on the tag sale page post. Some quick detective work had uncovered where the globe had been purchased a few years prior, and luckily the store was selling them again this season.
I picked up the phone to call local stores from the chain, asking them to check their stock. No luck. The stores all seemed to have the other settings of the globe, but the beloved deer family had been a hot ticket item. As I reported back to the comments from helpful strangers, offers started to appear on the post.
“I’m going to the Westport store tomorrow. I will see if it is there!”
“My office is not far from the Norwalk store – I can talk a look tomorrow morning.”
“I will check the East Haven store tomorrow.”
“I work right by the Milford store. I will double check tomorrow!”
On top of those were ideas including website links with details about how to fix broken snow globes on your own, or where to take one to be repaired by a professional. There was a whole crew of people just as desperate as I was to help this heartbroken six-year-old boy. I was overwhelmed by their words and their willingness to come to the aid of a child they had never met. I went to bed hopeful that we would be successful.
And through a minor miracle, we were. A mother in Trumbull posted late into the night that she had just purchased that exact snow globe the day before, and she was more than happy to pass it along. After a few exchanged messages throughout the day, I drove to her house to pick it up.
Night had fallen by the time I arrived after work. As I watched the woman walk down her front steps, I could see her holding a paper bag containing the snow globe. Excitement and relief washed over me as she handed me the bag. We exchanged a few words, gave each other a hug, and wished each other a Merry Christmas.
As I cautiously placed the fragile treasure on the floor of the passenger seat, I couldn’t help but smile. The snow globe hunt over the previous 24-hours had been exhilarating, but it also was the exact experience I needed.
You see, events in our country over the past few months have elicited many strong emotional responses in people; myself included. Even as stores began to stock their shelves with wrapping paper and neighbors dug out strings of blinking lights from their basements, those emotions still lingered on. And with the outburst of hateful acts and protests resulting in fear and anger, even my favorite holiday tunes processed through my mind as noise.
Then, in an act of serendipity, the broken snow globe incident occurred, and served as a critical reminder to me. While the world is filled with so much sadness and despair, it is also filled with love and compassion. As these tag sale posts confirmed, I wasn’t the only one who noticed:
“The holiday spirit in this post is great! Love seeing people trying to help out.”
“The help here is outstanding…so good to see. Merry Christmas!”
“So nice to see everyone being so helpful.”
Even though I could see my breath as I placed my hand on the car door handle, the bitter air didn’t feel so cold. The snow globe represented the warmth of the holiday season, which surrounds us in meaningful gestures everyday. Some gestures are big, some are small. Some come from friends or family, and others come from complete strangers. Regardless, they all touch our hearts the same.
One final comment appeared on the post while I was out picking up the globe. It read:
“And this is how we should be. What is wrong with helping one another? We can get a lot further in this world if we (do). I’m so happy he got the globe. Merry Christmas to all.”
Yes. Merry Christmas to all!