Every holiday season, there’s a must-have item or two that everyone and their mom seems to desperately need—and will do anything to acquire—in order for their Christmas to be merry and bright. And this year, that need-right-now item—or more like, needed-as-of-yesterday—is Target’s snow globe light strand.
Have you seen them while browsing your local Target’s Dollar Spot—AKA Bullseye’s Playground? The answer is probably not. Because the minute the bagged lights land on the shelf—if they even make it to that point–they are snatched up by a desperate decorator.
You are probably wondering why these $5 lights are so fantastic? They are adorable. Each bulb contains a tiny pine tree and powdery faux snow—yes, a tiny winter wonderland in every bulb. And of course, each bulb lights up. There are six per strand, and they are battery powered.
Why are they so popular this year? Blame it on Target Fam—Target’s new Facebook group. That’s where I learned about the lights. Every other post from the 20,000 member group is about who scored the lights, photos of how they are using them in their house, and how shoppers were able to get the sacred item before–once again–the shelf was emptied.
Target is so freaking brilliant. You can’t get the lights online—so kiss the online-shopping-in-your-pjs and blissful two-day shipping goodbye. You also can’t order them in the app to pick up at the front desk or have an employee bring them to your minivan. AKA–you have to walk your ass into the store and search for the strands like they are buried treasure (because they kind of are).
And if they aren’t on the shelf–which you can pretty much bet they won’t be–you can make like many shoppers and show an unsuspecting employee the screenshot of the product barcode — the one posted in the Target Fam group–because we have each other’s backs…and mantles. Then the employee has to track down another employee, who then has to go into the mysterious backroom and dig through mountains of boxes. You might leave victorious. Or you might fail. If this happens, move on to the next plan.
Some posters have reported that the lights—when, on the rare occasion, become available–are restocked bright-and-early in the morning. Determined shoppers will get to their store before the Starbucks café opens and slink around until they hear the loaded-down merch cart roll toward the “it’s just a few dollars” mecca. Then there’s nothing to do but watch and wait—which yes, sounds creepy and annoying. So maybe give the employee a heads up that you’re looking for the lights.
If you’re lucky enough to score some of the glowing gems on your first attempt, congratulations! My toddler and I popped into our store for “just a few things.” I rummaged through bag upon bag of red bulb strands…
And there they were. Like Clark Griswold spotted his must-have Christmas tree, I saw the lights at the very bottom of the pile. And not just one bag, but two! I didn’t even have a plan of what I would do with the lights once I acquired them–but I felt a sense of satisfaction possessing the holiday magic that thousands of people wanted. I may or may not have victoriously chanted, “All I do is win, win, win” quietly to my toddler.
As I was loading my minivan with the bulbs–plus new snow mittens for the kids, cereal, a few ornaments, a vanilla latte candle, and a new sports bra–my phone dinged. (Don’t judge me. I didn’t buy the entire family matching pjs this year, so I was basically saving money!) My BFF had texted me to ask if I’d found the lights everyone’s been talking about, because she wanted some. She was at another nearby store and was going to make a quick stop into Target. I texted back—with a bit of guilt—that I got the last two bags.
The entire finding-the-coveted-snow-globe-lights experience is basically an adult version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. First you tell yourself you’ll just be getting a few strands of snow globe lights. Just $5 each. Not bad, right? But when you don’t find them, you will begin to work your way through the store—overfilling the red basket with holiday cheer. After all, who doesn’t like pink champagne, racially diverse Santa wrapping paper, and stocking stuffers for the kids?
And because they didn’t have the strands, you know you’ll have to return tomorrow—you know, popping in for just a few minutes to take a quick look around. It might be before work, on your lunch break, or in the evening when you tell your partner you “must” go to Target for family essentials.
Basking in the victory glow of twinkly snow-globe lights on cold winter evenings makes me happy. So does the thrill of the hunt. If this makes me basic, I accept that.
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