The Magic of Gifts

Gifts somehow become a labor during the holidays. Yes, some of us can say we love the process of looking for just the right gift for those who mean the most to us during the holidays, but there is still a lot of of pressure surrounding purchasing gifts. Struggling with the “what one needs” vs. “what one would never buy for themselves,” we can become paralyzed, to the point of choosing to be thematic or systematic with our gift giving.

When I turned 21, by grandfather gave me a gift. I can recall the moment — where I was and what he said. He presented me with a box and told me that my grandmother Catherine had wanted me to have this when he felt the time was right. My grandmother had passed when I was very young. Although the time I was able to spend with her was short due to the miles between us, she made quite a lasting impression on me.

Thankfully I was old enough to spend one summer afternoon with her where she convinced me that Tinkerbell lived in a grand old tree in the woods behind their house. And not only Tinkerbell danced in their shade, but an entire colony of woodland fairies. You can imagine the wonder in my eyes as I listened to how lucky I was to have a grandmother who lived within the magic of Tinkerbell! Of course when I asked her if she had seen the fairies in her woods, she would describe the difference between actually seeing them and the signs of their existence, such as the little mushrooms where they would seek shelter and all the varieties of moss that carpeted their tiny feet, for she was also fine tuning my visual awareness. Fairies became the doorway to my imagination. What my grandmother was able to do in that one exquisite moment has lasted a lifetime in my heart.

So when my grandfather handed over this box many years later, explaining this was something of hers that she wanted me to have, the magic sparked again. On opening, I found the most unusual piece of jewelry. It was a locket. To be clear, it was not an ordinary locket. One side held a beautifully scripted monogram, the kind you would expect to find on a locket. However, the other side was adorned with an enameled tiger head with diamond eyes and a larger diamond held in its teeth. Opening the locket, I found two photos. One was of my father as a baby, and and the other side was my great grandfather.

The whole piece was quite heady for a 21 year old. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it during this time of my life when I was wearing more fashion jewelry than Victorian antique lockets. It seemed very large yet delicate in the details for my comfort level. Of course my mother (what would we do without the wisdom of our mothers) guided me through how special this piece was and how one day I would find a way to make it my own. While I loved the sentiment behind this gift, it would be tucked away in my jewelry box for years.

Obviously, the time came when I was ready to own the locket. In fact, it has since become a piece that defines the essence of my style. For those of you who know me, I wear it regularly during the colder months of the year and tend to alter which side faces forward. I like to imagine it has its own power since I quite frequently receive compliments on it from a wide variety of people. While the locket was quite obviously the gift, it has become the vehicle of my grandmother’s most precious gift to me: her guidance to help me believe in the unimaginable. I attribute her with unlocking my imagination as a child…where she planted seeds that bloomed into both my desire to follow my heart’s whimsy and the power of my creative mind.

Whether you are looking for a little magic of your own or wish to unlock the imagination of your grandchildren or future grandchildren, gifts such as lockets can start traditions and magical moments for generations to come. Tamara keeps a laundry list of ideas in her head when attending market and as I’ve stated before, she is a master of finding great gifts for her boutique. It’s quite possible she summoned the retail sprites (the city kin to the woodland variety) on her last New York trip and they guided her to a woman who scours flea markets and estate sales for vintage lockets. Tamara chose six one-of-a-kind pieces to offer clients this season at TSALT. Below, I’ve styled them with selections from TSALT…tops, dresses, and jackets, much like how I style my own locket. Click the images to shop the lockets or share them as ideas for holiday gift giving.









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Alicia was born and raised in Alexandria, and married a local boy. She is happily married and the mother of two amazing children and one adorable and terribly smart border terrier named Dixie. Alicia has always known she was a creative. She collected editions of Vogue from junior high on and has always loved clothing and design. She studied interior design at VCU and parlayed that degree into commercial interior design, the web design, and ultimately found herself managing a local boutique and serving as a stylist to many Alexandrian women. She now has a successful full-time styling business, The Tulle Box, and makes it her business to make her clients feel great about themselves and the way they look.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Amy Lehmkuhler says:

    I have always admired that locket, it is as unique & lovely as it’s present owner!

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