Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

My Christmas tree does not have a ‘theme’ as such. Not one that might be advocated in the house and garden type women’s magazines. Though, when I think about it the theme for my Tree is unique and could be referred to as the - “Brownie, Playcentre, School children, Russia, Germany, Aunty Anna with Red, Gold, Green and Blue Theme”. Because it is just that. As I put up the Christmas Tree and decorated it yesterday I had many opportunities to revisit times and people past. It is pure joy to me as I greet each and everyone of my old friends, the decorations.

There are the lights - new lights admittedly - but to mind sprang our very first Christmas tree lights (1962) bought by my Nan and Pop. A gift to us children for our tree. Coloured lights that brought magic and love with them. A chance now to meet up with Nan and Pop again, reflect on their lives and the hardships they endured for their love. Their sense of right and justice. Their resilience. The love they always showed in the ways they cared for me. The things I learnt from them.

There is the now tatty yellow gnome, a gift from my Aunty Anna. A wonderful serene women who loved me just because I am me. She was always welcoming. She was never fazed by all seven of us unkempt and unruly children walking up the path to her front door unannounced. Warm scones were on the table very soon after our arrival.

There are the hand sewn hearts made by my Brownie daughters and the dried white painted pinecone, made by my Playcentre son. Memories and remembering flood in of my own small children and me as a young woman, always trying to do what I knew to be best for them. My life of learning to mother through our many ages and stages.

There are the baubles purchased while traveling. The nesting dolls from Russia a reminder of my resilient self, and my ability to pick myself up, and to recover and discover joy and excitement in the unknown. Memories of the Russian man who smiled at us and said “Welcome to Russia” when I needed it most.

The angels from Germany who give back to me memories of travel with wonderful, kind and loving friends. My angels. Remembering great places and great people. Reminding of times where bravery, courage and resourcefulness were paramount. Memories of times when trying new things brought challenge, excitement and pleasure.

And now... new this year there are some dough ceramic decorations made at Playcentre by my grandchildren and daughter. Promise of Christmases to come and more possible learner selves to be found.

And so... I reflect on Children’s Portfolios and the learning stories we write. I am reminded of the power of the photos and the stories we tell, and how revisiting these builds identity as ‘learner’ and human being. They are just like my Christmas Tree decorations. They are the prompts for remembering and reflecting on me and the people, places, things and times in my life.

The Christmas decorations offer me opportunities to visit with my super-learning heroes and to continue to form the super-learning hero inside of me.

I have this wonder-filled time for revisiting every year and then I get to put the decorations safely in their boxes only to look forward to our meeting again in twelve months time. The children you work with can re-visit their Portfolios any-time and will more than likely do so during the rest of their lives. If not in the tangible form then inside of themselves.

I hope there is a special little something under your tree this year!! Better still... I hope there is something special on your tree this year. A special little something that provokes in you the memories of people, places things and time.

Maybe there is even a little someone around who wants to be in-charge of lighting!!! I guess that’s another story.

Best wishes to you all for a safe and memory filled Christmas Season,


1 comment:

Alison said...

Kathryn you reminded me of the joy when I put up my Christmas tree for the first time in 8 years last year. It had been packed away whilst we were building (yes it can take 8 years to build a house!) Unwrapping my decorations was like opening gifts, forgotten friends who had waited so patiently to be re-found. My treasures are a selection of decorations from my American host parents, every year since I was an exchange student, my mom has sent me a Christmas decoration. Then there are the few left from when I was a child, they are battered and no longer glittery and glossy but I am not replacing them.
Sadly my tree did not survive the 8 years in storage. I thought I could quickly get rid of the spiders and cobwebs with my husbands air compressor. What I was left with was a stalk and lots of green bits on the ground! Luckily I had lots of decorations!
So any tips on choosing a new tree? There are some nice ones I notice when mountain biking in the forest, but there is a bit of a safety issue biking with a machete attached to the handle bars!
I know there are Christmas tree experts out there- any tips gratefully accepted.