Well its that really strange part of the year when magazines fill their pages with best of lists, where people buy completely ridiculous and pointless rubbish and masquerade it as gifts and families get together and eat enormous amounts of food, drink too much wine and collapse into a comatose state while watching reruns of Christmas specials that have seen better days. For a majority of people Christmas and New Year can be a moment to relax and enjoy time out with the people that they love surrounding them. For some its an enjoyable and luxuriant time of the year. And for some it is a sad reminder of everything they lack because the forces of commercialism insist that all of our jollity comes at a great financial cost.
So how can we best deal with the festive season if we really wanted to uphold the true tennets of what has become an all encompassing ritual that seems to have have lost its meaning for many of us in our struggle to meet rising costs?
I think community events such as those held at The Strand at Dee Why, which was sponsored by Warringah Council, are a good example of how a clever use of recycled materials can create joy for children and a sense of pride for adults as they participate in activities that don't cost anything much at all.
Artists Bess O'Malley and Chris Rettalack constructed a 7 meter tall Christmas tree complete with decorations produced by a partnership of parent and child in a triumph of material reuse and savvy, fun and creative design developed by the artists. The tree was constructed out of light weight materials and painted gold to match the sandy beach and the decorations were made from materials largely located at Sydney's famed artists resource Reverse Garbage.
In keeping with a beach theme the decorations included fish and star fish as well and the children could also make angels to take home with them. The result was a fantastic presentation of one of the most pervasive symbols of Christmas all created by the community and with materials that had been rebirthed from their original use.
To me this activity represented the real spirit of Christmas where community, sustainability and reuse of waste material came together in a fantastic display of genuine artists ingenuity and respect for the bonds that are forged in a creative environment. I would love to see more Australian Councils and other institutions undertake to produce these kinds of events.
Todays photo is of Chris and Bess decorating the Christmas tree...