Last week when I got by the holiday bug and bought some lights, I opted for white ones on a white cord because I figured I could reuse them some other way throughout the year. But for some reason, a little sting of 20 multicolored ones also insisted upon coming with me.
I am puzzled as to what to do with them, because it’s 20 lights. That’s maybe a yard of lights. But I guess the season for nostalgia has really hit me hard this year being away from home and knowing I’m only going to clock about 5 solid days of Christmas in the Nest. Because even though I loathe how aggressive the green cord on these lights is, I remember why I have such an affinity for them.
My grandparents are from Chile. And when they moved to the United States (circa 1968) they had to ship everything. Literally, on a ship. Through the Panama Canal and through the Great Lakes to get everything to Chicago. A lot of things didn’t make it, and the coffee table that remains in my grandparents’ living room is forever cracked right down the middle from water damage (that doesn’t mean I haven’t called it, though). But one of the things that I remember is this tiny nativity scene carved out of wood.
The characters are all painted little figurines and there are donkeys and sheep and frankincense and myrrh (wtf is myrrh used for, anyway?) and they all live in this wooden manger with sawdust in it for about a month at my grandparents’ house. And this nativity is particularly sticky in my memory because it was always illuminated with a tiny string of multicolored lights.
So while I don’t have access to that nativity, nor am I going to go procure one of my very own, I’ll hang onto this string of multicolored lights with their aggressive, industrial green string to remind me that the smallest details count, and even the simplest things can restore feelings of magic.