I love Christmas, really love it and that’s saying something because I really shouldn’t like it one little bit… Why? Because it’s one of the busiest and most stressful times of year for us in the work calendar, plus I have to turn up the domestic goddess within me… wrapping presents to look like long lost treasures, cooking like I’m Jamie Oliver, entertaining the family, including meeting all the pressures of our now ‘family traditions’ which stupidly includes making a homemade gingerbread house EVERY YEAR and every year swearing it’s the last time! Insert pictures of previous disasters… Cat licking gingerbread house, child 1 licking gingerbread house, child two licking gingerbread house. Child 1 and 2 being sick after indulging in a dangerous cocktail of fondant icing, dolly mixtures, jelly babies and chocolate buttons…. The list goes on!
So why the love thing… because despite or maybe because of all those extra activities and pressures it really does bring out what matters most to me…
All the work we’ve ever created for this time of year explores what Christmas is really about, beyond the tinsel, the presents and the feasting (mainly on tins of chocolate). I think this feeling is summed up best by looking back at the experience we had making The Lost Gift in 2015 a co-production with Vortex Creates and Warwick Arts Centre. The Lost Gift was produced to be an alternative to the traditional Christmas grotto, offering a walk-through performance experience for children and their families that shone a light on the most important aspects of this special season. Working through the narrative of The Lost Gift was tough, really tough, because it asked me to get real about my true feelings about Christmas, to look beneath the Yule log and see what lurks beneath…
The Lost Gift worked on the premise that something very special had gone missing, something without which we can’t even think about starting to celebrate. It took us a while to decide what The Lost Gift would be but our eventual decision was, what we thought, was the very best option… The Lost Gift was (SPOLIERS ALERT) YOU!! It was a reminder of how very special and unique we all are, just like the beautiful, but annoyingly fragile snowflakes we gave to every one of the 3000 children who came to see the performance. And that really is what I believe Christmas is, a time when we really do reflect on ourselves, our family, our lives as another year draws to an end. But it allows us to do it in a way which focusses on what’s special… What can I give to those I love, how can I make this day a memory to treasure, what can we do together that is important enough to do every year?
My lasting memory of The Lost Gift is being visited by a family of 16 in the last performance slot of Christmas Eve. We were all tired, we were all watching the clock ready to wipe off the make up and take a break and then in walked the most magical family I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. My job in the performance was to help audiences make the revelation that they themselves were the gift we had been searching for. In that moment, in my very magical moonlit and snowflake bedecked room, I truly understood the power of that gift we all have to give and receive, happiness. That family with grannies, grandads, aunts, uncles, cousins, mums, dads and new-borns lit up the room with their love for each other and their sheer unadulterated happiness to be there with me, just a simple and open moment to embrace the special connections we make with those we choose to surround ourselves with.
Now every year when we make performances big and small, indoor and out at this special time of year, I re-find that message, the simple joy in giving love and being loved… And that’s why I love Christmas!
And if you want to share in our message then come and see what we’re up to over the next couple of months…
Starting with the Coventry Christmas Lights Switch On - Wednesday 22nd November, Coventry Broadgate
Sprungsters performing their own version of A Christmas Carol - Friday 24th November, Coventry FarGo Village
Our youngest Sprungs performing Nightmare Before Christmas for friends and family only
And if you really want to share the love then please take a moment to find out more about our up-coming Crowdfunding Campaign and see how you can get involved in Spreading the Smile!!