Our annual Christmas card making gathering took place last Sunday. I say annual because we’ve been having one for the past three years at home. This year we invited anyone who fancied it to come along…
I have never organised a large party of this kind. But in truth, there was little organising involved. It kind of just happened. Which is what was so special about it, and for me this goes right back to why Karen and I started Makerhood earlier this year.
Making things has a very social, creative and fun part to it. We all enjoy it, but we rarely get to do it. Humans did this kind of thing for thousands of years. It is only in the last hundred or so that industrialisation made it “unviable” while also making us too busy with other stuff. Our economic lives are now based on considerations of competition and efficiency – rather than relationships, sociability and lived experience. It’s the latter that makes something meaningful.
I felt last Sunday that we were together recovering some of these things. We made cards for people we cared about, and those we didn’t know, in local nursery homes, shelters and prisons. There was a lot of sharing of ideas and materials going on, and so many different ways of making cards. Each one was beautiful and unique, and no doubt will be very special for people who get them.
And everyone chipped in on the fun. Stanley played great acoustic versions of his reggae songs, DJ Prophane of Rat Records did amazing things on the turntables (getting a 6 month old baby involved somehow..) and Bleak, en route from Berlin, put on a death.blues extravaganza (the most unusual version of “Last Christmas” by far!).
The improvised panto was definitely a highlight. I was very pleased that Michael Brunstrom wanted to work on this slightly insane idea with us. I am not a specialist in improvisation, but I have been lucky to see Brixton Village Idiots perform many times over the past year. To me, it’s one of the most creative ways of being – magical for both the participants and the audience. It opens up bits of us that are hidden as we go about following rules and figuring out the right thing to do or say. Impro principles make a lot of sense in life as well as on stage: be open, go with the flow, say yes to offers that come your way, and play!
We did not really plan more events but as we all enjoyed it so much we think we should do it. Some of you suggested great themes, from upcycling unwanted Christmas presents to spring cleaning workshops. If you’d like to help organising drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a playful pre-Christmas week! 🙂