Winter is officially here in the Northern Hemisphere.

It doesn’t exactly look like winter where I live; the snow hasn’t hit us yet.

But that’s what snow globes are for, right?

To bring us a little winter when we need it?

The snow globe is one of those inventions that has a couple of different origin stories.

We’ll get to the best known origin story in a moment.

According to Snopes, there’s a description of an item at the Paris University Exposition in 1878: “Paper weights of hollow balls filled with water… these balls also contain a white powder which, when the paper weight is turned upside down, falls in imitation of a snow storm.”

People at another Paris exposition in 1889 saw something similar that was described as a snow globe or a water globe.

You could say the modern snow globe has its roots in a story from 1900.

A mechanic in Austria named Erwin Perzy was trying to make light bulbs brighter by putting glass globes full of water around them.

That setup didn’t help lightbulbs, but then Perzy poured some semolina into the water and watched it slowly float to the bottom, just like snow falling in winter.

The company he started, Original Vienna Snow Globes, is still making and selling snow globes with glass domes today.

And they say that the snow globe that you see at the start of the legendary movie Citizen Kane was one of theirs.

In the 1920s, one Joseph Garaja of Pennsylvania found a way to mass produce snow globes, which helped them become more popular than ever.

Today, you can get the fancy, handmade ones, made with glass or maybe Lucite, or cheaper ones with plastic domes.

And then, anytime that you need a little bit of winter, it can be right there in the palm of your hand.

Lots of us put up lights for the holidays, but the lights in Newburgh in Fife, Scotland are a little different.

They put up LED sculptures designed by local kids, so rather than trees and reindeer and sleighs, they have flying fish and dinosaurs wearing stars on their heads.

Was the Snow Globe Invented by Accident? (Snopes)

A Scottish Town’s Annual Competition Invites Its Youngest Artists to Design ‘Wonky’ Holiday Lights (Colossal) 

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Photo by Lostinawave via Flickr/Creative Commons