Sharing the Gift of Ourselves this Christmas Time!

The Community Spirit Christmas Carol

Here at Barnwood Trust, instead of a secret Santa this year we are giving the gift of ourselves at our Christmas meal. Through perhaps a secret talent, a poem, a song, a party trick… or something else. The Community Building Team decided to group together to do a twist on the classic Christmas pantomime ‘A Christmas Carol’.

‘Oh no they won’t!’               ‘Oh yes they will!’

Yes I know, apologies, but it had to be done… better to get it over with.

Anyway, the plot follows the same storyline, with poor old Ebenezer Scrooge with his unhealthy attachment to money being shown the error of his ways by three ghosts – the ghost of Christmas past, present, and the ghost of Christmas yet to come. But in this community building version there is a fourth spirit – the Spirit of Community! Here is a cutting from the end of the script:

Enter Spirit of Community 

[Prompter holds up APPLAUSE sign; audience applaud]

Community Spirit (Softly, to the sleeping Scrooge) = I am the Spirit of Community. Look around you, Scrooge! See what hidden treasures there are in your community! You yourself have a lot to offer if you will just open your eyes and see what is around you! There are gifts everywhere you look: gifts of the head, the hands and the heart. Now it is time for me to step back and leave you to it… 

Scrooge [awaking with look of realisation on his face] = What day is it? Is there still time? [Stands up and counts on his fingers] I can help Bob; I can visit Fred; I can give to the children’s charity… Oh my gosh, it’s Christmas! Close the office – I must go and support my community! 

[Prompter holds up APPLAUSE sign; audience applaud] 

Scrooge turns his nightcap inside out and puts it on as a Christmas hat; also puts on suit jacket.

Apart from being very impressed with the creativity of the community building team, in the script writing, the costumes and some priceless attempts at acting (6.2ft Philip Booth plays Tiny Tim and Richard Holmes plays Scrooge’s long lost lover Belle), it got me thinking more about community spirit at Christmas time, and how special this time of year really is. Not just all the delicious food and colourful wrapped presents, but just like at the Barnwood Christmas Party it is as a real excuse to get together and share the gifts of ourselves - our stories, talents, skills and our hopes and dreams for the new year (and wear lots of sequins and glitter!).

I am midway into the 3 month as a Trainee Community Builder for Brockworth and Coopers Edge. This month so far has been stuffed full of Christmas community spirit… Christmas fairs, festivals, concerts, gatherings, parties, tea dances, buffets and streets full of sparkling lights. Richard Holmes’s community, Coopers Edge, has gone one step further with the decorations and taken up the Swiss tradition of the living advent – where residents across the neighbourhood chose a day of advent to decorate light up their windows – some have a little get together the day of their switch on. You can read more about it here.

The Hearts and Hurricanes WI held a Christmas bring and share buffet to end the year and talk about what 2017 will bring, whilst Coopers Edge School and Millbrook Lodge opened their doors for their Christmas fairs and talented local people sold their handmade goods. I set up a stall representing Barnwood Trust, and had a wealth of conversations, asking: ‘What’s your thing?’ ‘If you had a couple of people to help you what would you do in your local community?’ I was continually amazed by the variety of people’s gifts and passions.

The Christmas Tree Festival at the Brockworth’s stunning 12th Century Church, St.George’s Church, was brimming with Christmas community spirit. Around 25 trees were uniquely decorated by various local groups, organisations and individuals and over the weekend local people come to marvel at their hard work and listen to a carol service. On the Friday the weekend started with the grand switch on of all the many lights. It was a delightfully warm affair with people connecting over a mince pie and a warm mug of tea or wine. Another splash of colour and fun came from the Vicar’s sparkly Christmas jumper and the Churchdown Ukulele group who were singing all the classics.

At each of these events, I have felt totally enveloped in a sense of community spirit and have seen time and time again people offering the gifts of themselves in whatever form that may be.

Next up, the small group of residents make up the Coopers Edge ‘Christmas Committee’ are planning a small community gathering on the 22nd of December – keeping it simple, fun and silly is the aim of this event (hideous Christmas jumpers strongly encouraged) to encourage people to gather together and share the gift of laughter. The most infectious kind of Christmas community spirit!

Add a comment

Great to read this at last Molly, still get the warm glow from your words, even though a couple of months have passed...

Maureen replied 2 years ago

I think I'll stick to community building rather than acting - and strongly hope Rich does the same! Nevertheless it is wonderful when people can come together and share something of themselves....I was blown away by the talents uncovered....and yes what a great time for neighbours coming together...

Philip Booth replied 2 years ago

Cracking christmas blog. Thanks for sharing.

Richard Holmes replied 2 years ago

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