We’ve made a little fun of ourselves about it, but one of our family’s after Christmas traditions is going through the house, filling up the trashcan and loading up bags for Goodwill. With the holidays, things come in, and since we really live in our whole house, some things must leave to make way.

Much of this practice has to do with saying, “no, no more,” or “too many,” or “I can’t remember when we last used that,” or “continue to love the giver but release the gift.” We pare down, we negotiate, we eliminate and rearrange on sparser shelves.

But the other side of this task is in admitting that there are just some objects we love, and whether or not we can ascribe to them a certain use or beauty, they feel significant. We like to have them around us. They lift our spirits, they recall fond memories. They comfort.  Talismans.

  • a river pebble from the Middle Saluda, site of so many summer adventures, smooth beneath my rough midwinter fingertips
  • my coffee mug from Monticello, extra large, with a handle that just fits my hand and a perfect curved lip for sipping  (When my original was broken recently, my husband ordered a replacement that same day. He knows how much I love it. )
  • my whole heart locket, given for my fortieth birthday by my friend Jill. I wear it often, as a reminder that I want this to be my all-in, show up with my whole heart decade.
  • a small pottery bowl, bought from a young potter at an art fair. It gets moved around the house and what it holds changes, but it never fails to give me pleasure.

It is intriguing to me why some objects become significant to us, while we eagerly relinquish others that are as lovely or that would seem meaningful. I like the mystery of how a few things, in a specific season, find their way from our hands into our hearts.

What are your talismans?


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12 thoughts on “talismans

  1. bethcovalt

    Yes, to this. This has been our year of paring down, even the boxes and boxes of memorabilia, and there are still those inexplicable keepers for me as well. And I have to ask, are you in SC?

    1. adailyportion Post author

      It is really fun, and a good grace in the midst of ongoing decluttering, to just admit that some objects have meaning and connection that might defy explanation, and that is ok. I’d love to know what your talismans are friend!

  2. nadine

    A teddy bear that my brother gave me when I was born. I slept with it each night until I was in university. It’s currently at my mom and dad’s but whenever I see it there I often think I should bring it to my house again. Always comforts!

  3. alm (@writealm)

    i think the first time i commented on your blog was about that mug 🙂

    we *ahem* finally got the tree down the other day so i spent yesterday deep cleaning my entire house (well, except for the boys’ room and that is what this afternoon holds for me) and we uncluttered and freed ourselves of some things but there were those few things i had to pause over, remember. a cross from a trip to morocco, a scarf from a trip to paris, the photo album from my parents’ wedding. it was good 🙂

    1. adailyportion Post author

      Amanda– it was that very mug. And, as we learned, available for mail order, after my original met the edge of the sink. 🙂
      I think it is a January thing, but I love both– the cleaned and cleared house, the things we release, and mulling over the things that stay.

      Hope your week has gone well, and you feel refreshed.


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