Monday, 22 October 2012

The Christmas Lights

I can remember, as a child, staring at the fairy lights on the Christmas tree for hours on end, watching as they changed from a bright red to a hypnotic blue and back again. They cast a sultry glow around our small sitting room and the moment they were switched on you could feel a change in the atmosphere that enveloped the room. If your parents were arguing or your siblings were crying, the tension seemed to fade as the lights flickered throughout the night. Now, as an Adult, I am still in awe of Christmas lights and the trance you fall into in their presence.

As the Christmas season beckons closer, I decided to go on a trip to the shops to buy new Christmas lights and search for vintage style bobbles. In early August, I began to notice that the stores were packed full of icicle style fairy lights and six foot tall Christmas trees in shades of green, white and pink. It was clear to me that I should begin my Christmas shopping sooner rather than later, to avoid any disappointment. 

Down a hidden alleyway I stumbled across a newly opened Christmas store. The windows were packed full of Christmas ornaments and movable statutes. I entered the store, with a sense of excitement, my eyes darting over the endless Christmas Merchandise. An elderly woman stood behind the counter, she smiled at me and asked if I would like any help. I told her that since childhood, I have been kind of obsessed with Christmas lights and the magic that is entrapped in the glow they emit.

With a knowing smile, she brought me to the back of the shop and pointed at the shelves that filled that back wall.  The shelves were stacked high with lights of every color and shape. She explained that she had travelled all over the globe, collecting different Christmas merchandise from each culture.
A paper lantern made in India caught my eye. It was deep red and decorated with a variety of patterns and symbols. It was shaped as a star and hung on the ceiling, spreading its light over the small shop. Eagerly, I placed two in my basket and asked the elderly woman if she had any advice about the best types of Christmas lights to buy.

She reached up to the top shelve and grabbed a large gray box. Inside this box was a large mound of fairy lights encased in a metal ball. It strongly resembled a disco ball and for a brief moment I was transported back to by youth. She explained that she had bought the product in central Mongolia and that it was a sign of luck and prosperity. Once again, I eagerly placed two of the products in my basket.

I spent over an hour in that little shop conversing with the old woman and spending money like it was going out of fashion. I learnt a valuable lesson that day, however, and that is to not conform to the status quo. Instead, you should search for the strange and quirky items that are guaranteed to spark conversation and encourage compliments. 

Boutique Provencale offer a huge range of French Gifts which will help you find some nice Christmas presents for you family this year.