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thought-provoking public art for Christmas

The Hopeful Amphibian (who will be missed in blogdom — happy trails, and may you find your break from blogging rejuvenating!) points to a Glasgow art student's project, which I think is provocative in the best sense: it provokes thought, and gets us questioning something that in our culture is taken for the most part as an unqualified good, and that has given rise to a massive seasonal industry:

Santa Claus.

The artist has a website explaining his project. Like many students, he's given to rhetoric that's a little on the shrill side, so I'd rather let his images speak for themselves. Here's the most powerful one, I think:

Billboardlarge

I think our extended family will be trying something new this year: we're going to get a few very simple gifts for one another, but most of what we would have spent in previous years on gifts will be pooled together, and then as a family -- with participation from the little ones as much as possible -- we'll decide together what gifts from Episcopal Relief and Development's catalog of Gifts for Life, or another similar program, explaining to our elder niece (who's the only child in the family old enough to have a conversation with) what the various gifts — a flock of chickens, school tuition for a child in the developing world, and so on — mean so she can help which gifts our family's contribution will buy. I figure that if we do this every year, our nieces will grow up associating Christmas with a gift for the world rather than just for ourselves and our loved ones, and will also grow up knowing something about how different our patterns of consumption are from those of most other people in the world.

What do y'all do in your families and congregations to help facilitate 'teachable moments' for children about justice in the midst of the Christmas season's difficult-to-avoid commercial frenzy?

December 12, 2005 in Churchiness, Episcopal Relief and Development | Permalink

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Comments

I love the image of Santa and the declaration that he gives more to rich kids than poor kids. In my church there are so many of both sides, and the rich spend way too much on their kids -- mostly buying just junk.

Posted by: apostle john | Jan 2, 2006 6:43:03 PM

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