Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our friends, followers and supporters at The Culture Concept Circle.
This is a time to reflect on the gifts we give and to question if what we choose will add just a little more than momentary pleasure and ripping of paper, for a friend or family member. Don’t get me wrong, giving object gifts is all fine. However they do require a great deal of thought to give something the receiver wants or needs.
Today we are aided by being able to research and purchase Online. This does mean those stores necessary to our city urban and country towns daily life are under threat of closure, putting people out of work in the retail sphere.
Keeping the balance right means doing our best to purchase both ways. My favourite store here in South Yarra is Home and Abroad, where the people on hand to assist are among the most helpful you will ever find.
The Christmas Gifts range to choose from is diverse and they have a huge range of payment options. Their cotton embroidered ‘ table linens’ are indeed exquisite.
This Christmas, nearing the end of a very hard cycle of chemotherapy, Online shopping has been helpful for me. However, my penultimate present to receive will be experiencing the joy of having all my family around me as we face the unknown future together.
We will certainly enjoy the chance to all be in one place and to exchange gifts in celebration of the designated anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.
He is after all at the heart of why we are taking a holiday in the first place – celebrating the birth of the Christ child has been an ongoing celebratory tradition of the western world since Roman times.
It is good to be aware Jesus life and legacy means a great deal to millions and millions of people around the world who are followers of his way; they admire his role model of courage, love, kindness and forgiveness at the essence of life on earth.
To start, whatever your age or circumstance, books are always acceptable as gifts… and these days its good to encourage the reader to pass them along. For me The Hill of Content and Avoca Hill Books South Yarra remain favourite places to browse the latest non fiction and fiction works.
If you haven’t yet read the Holy Bible and are curious, my choice would be the old fashioned, but beautifully worded King James Version.
For those looking for suggestions I have included a list of book topics for adults. Download Christmas 2018 12 Days of Xmas Book List 2018 by Carolyn McDowall
You may also want to expand your, or your children’s knowledge and experience of the world around them with books and reading aloud. To that end NSW Special Features Correspondent Rose Niland, has created a Christmas Gift List of Picture Books for Kids.
Opening a window on a whole new world, there are some books that stand the test of time and in our family
Boy on a Hilltop, by Kota Taniuchi and Peggy Blakeley, a treasured favourite was purchased in 1970 at The Children’s Bookshop in Sydney. Its text and illustrations remain relevant; it is still available and a beautifully considered work.
Presents and Experiences it seems in today’s world are going head to head as favoured gifts. All are represented in the visual and performance arts and your gift of experience could make a significant difference.
Tickets to the Ballet, Theatre, Orchestral and Ensemble Concerts or Cinema packages are always acceptable. Music is for me always the penultimate experience to enjoy, and a subscription to the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in 2019, their 30th anniversary year, will be a very special experience.
Hop online and look at future exhibitions and events at places such as the NYBG (New York Botanical Garden), the Guggenheim or The Met in New York or British Museum if you are planning a visit to England.
This summer at NGV International the work of one of Britain’s most influential living artists will be on show all over the Summer Holiday Season. Julian Opie at the NGV is a great show and they also have a special Studio for Kids.
People are a key focus throughout the exhibition, his portraits and walking figures drawn straight from the streets of Melbourne recall the endless human motion he captured from 1993 to the present day.
While you are there the show for adults that will captivate the children too, is Escher x nendo, with its stunning three dimensional effects and optical illusions.
My suggestion for enjoying a travel experience, if you have the means necessary, is to consider taking a journey together with your family that is not only just about sightseeing, but also about engaging with a very different culture.
Giving your children over ten years of age (my recommendation if you want them to remember) such an experience, will also help expand their horizons. Travel offers opportunities to gain an appreciation for how others live their daily lives and to learn how they can make a difference.
You can walk all over countries in Europe, especially in Spain and around the Mediterranean or journey to such special places as Egypt or India, where the arts and culture is so very different from our own.
As an example; my journey with my teenage sons to Egypt over the Christmas/New Year of 1998/1989 where after Cairo and the Pyramids, we journeyed ‘up the Nile’ to Luxor and on to Abu Simbel, is today a treasured memory we share, for it was beyond compare and completely unforgettable.
If you wish to engage your children’s imagination and interest at home consider going hot air ballooning. It is a brilliant thing to do.
Together you will be able look out and see the world at a height that will keep it real, while looking beyond to the endless horizon. Above all, the beauty of silence when you take off mainly at dawn, will offer space to think, surely the penultimate luxury in our modern age. one we need to value.
Silence inspires, stimulates and motivates our imagination and all our thoughts, especially for the future.
Carolyn McDowall, Publisher and Writer, The Culture Concept Circle, 2018