Something about the Winter Solstice awakens the human spirit, regardless of one’s particular faith. It’s a time of whimsical magic, and it transports us to a realm where our sense of wonder is the only compass we need to guide us. It truly is the most magical time of the year despite all the humbugs with which contemporary life attempts to burden it.
Sadly, the calendar changes far too soon, and we ring in the New Year with a toast to the past and a vague hope for the future before succumbing to all those humbugs that tailgate our existences through the rest of any given year. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and all the other Winter Solstice celebrations, all about renewal in one way or another, fall sway to economic uncertainty, unnamed wars, collapsed 401Ks, and any number of conditions that keep us up at the most inopportune times.
At least that’s how it works for most of the population.
There are people on this planet, however, who find magic in the most mundane quarters. Elke E is one such person. As a child of eight or so living in Germany, she had the grand idea of making a doll house from an old shoebox that she found in the attic of her parent’s house .She cut and glued and painted and drew until she had a perfect little home of her very own, replete with table, chairs, bed, and probably other things that are important to an eight-year-old girl. Not content with her cardboard furniture, she took it a step further and upholstered them with bits of fabric.
Fast forward some 40 years later. The eight-year-old girl is married now, living in America, and happy, but not on the soundest financial footing as Christmas approaches. She also has a three-year-old niece, and minimal funds with which to buy her presents. Still, she remembers her dollhouse, and she still has her sense of wonder. Rescuing a storage box from work, she sets about to resurrect that piece of her childhood and bequeath it to her niece, Shelby.
Using bits and pieces of things she already had, or were otherwise going to the trash heap, she constructs, by mid-December, a lavishly furnished home for Shelby’s dolls, and adds other hand-made characters and pets to keep them company. It’s an instant hit, not only with Shelby, but also with Shelby’s circle of friends, and eclipses in popularity the store-bought toys they had all received.