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  • Writer's pictureB. E. Padgett

The Allure of Trinkets - Why are they so fun?

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

As a writer, I love incorporating some sort of fun “trinket” that becomes special to my characters. I think this concept comes from my own long love of trinkets or little treasures.

I have always adored small things. The older or more unique something is the better. For me, I blame the long list of movies that came out during my childhood and early teens. Movies like The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, Thumbelina, Anastasia, Hook, The Neverending Story and even The Lord of the Rings influenced my purchasing decisions.

People from my generation may relate to the giddy feeling of holding a skeleton key in their hand or wearing a ring on a chain around their neck. As a young girl, I felt an equal sense of attachment to the miniature ceramic elephants that Mary Lennox kept under her bed. I wore the locket Sarah Crewe wore that came in my VSH copy of The Little Princess. There was no doubt I was connected to these stories by their physical items.

The true magic of trinkets was in how a sewing thimble symbolized a kiss, a music box unlocked repressed memories, an old key got you into an abandoned garden, a ring held the power to destroy a world, and an acorn doubled as a chair for a fairy. They represented portals to other worlds and in many instances their biggest allure is escapism, something millennials know well.

Picking out a tiny treasure is part of the adventure. Personally, I must touch it.

Antique stores despite all the signs that say, “do not touch,” don’t realize that connecting to a piece for tactile people, like me, is almost a spiritual experience.

It must also be something mysterious about it. Perhaps it has a secret compartment or a hidden function or it was purposefully and cleverly made. Is it heavy? Is it delicate? Is it ornate or maybe it looks like rubbish? All these considerations are part of my selection process. A need to hold something to decide if it’s magical.

For me, it is the idea of possibility--the potential of keeping a secret in a box or carrying something interesting in your pocket. Perhaps it is this potential that makes them so alluring. Despite the rise of technology and the prevalence of mass-produced goods, trinkets continue to captivate us. They offer a sense of connection to the past and a glimpse into the creativity and craftsmanship of previous generations.

In a world where minimalist lifestyle has become increasingly popular, many people may see the allure of trinkets as frivolous or unnecessary. I am not one of those people.

Yes, KonMari, it does bring me joy!

There can be magic and wonder from small, unique objects. It can be challenging to reconcile the desire for simplicity and the urge to collect and treasure items that hold nostalgic value.

When my life is overwhelmingly chaotic, the comfort and joy that comes from surrounding myself with little things that take my brain to other worlds is a mental health break. The beauty of trinkets is that they do not need to take up a lot of physical space or be costly; they can be as simple or intricate as one desires. The value lies in the emotional connection they create and the sense of wonder they bring to our lives.

I know that someday, my trinkets may end up in an antique shop or in someone else's hands. But for now, they have a well-loved home with me.

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