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Ann Elkington

A snow globe with birch trees.

A snow globe with birch trees.

When visiting a friend the other day, we dropped a few ZonnenBoxen® into a glass of sparkling water. Watching the bubbles on the colored blocks made me think of snow globes. . .

Snow globes----those rather old-fashioned glass orbs with a tiny scene inside. Filled with water and white, sparkly particles,  which when the globes are shaken, create a miniature blizzard that gradually subsides. Regrettably, they seem to have become the almost exclusive domain of the tourist cheap souvenir industry.

Children are mesmerized by the swirling flakes and the miniature worlds inside. The harder the globes are shaken, the fiercer the blizzard, which slowly subsides leaving the scene covered in snow.  The good ones are satisfying to hold with their smooth glass and surprising heft.

After I returned home, I studied these on the internet. What I find odd is that so many of them now----no matter what the price or quality----are adorned on the base and sides with vivid thematic decorations: everything from Hello Kitty to Greetings From Honolulu. These decorations actually detract from the calming magic of a snow globe; the globes are perfect with a simple plain base and unadorned glass.  The best visual magic is that which gradually lures the senses in.