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Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Multicultural Christmas Tree In A Multicultural Living Room

This will be the last in what has evolved into a Christmas trilogy. I have been quietly looking around inside this tiny cozy home and at our colorfully decorated Christmas tree and thinking about the beautiful aspects of humanity that are represented here in our living room.

Our house is full of color and life and so is our Christmas tree. The tree is decorated with ornaments from all over the world, ornaments made by our children, and ornaments both made and purchased by friends. Each one has a story and is treasured. There are straw ornaments and wooden birds from Sweden, whimsical wooden people from Germany, wooden birds and balls from India decorated with mirrors and beads, golden owls from Thailand, Mexican painted metal and yarn ornaments, wooden and silk ornaments from China, a very old flower made from a styrafoam egg carton, during a bleak Christmas 32 years ago, clay ornaments made by friends, Hallmarks, ornaments that my kids made at school and in scouts, papier mache cats, and many more.

Every year we add an ornament or two from a new place. This year we added an angel fashioned from a recycled coke can, beads, and wire. It was made in Kenya at the Bombolulu Workshop for the Handicapped. We also received several decorations as gifts including two Harsen's Island, Michigan wooden lighthouse ornaments.

People who come to our door or are invited inside for the first time are often suprised at what is on the living room walls. We collect folk art from around the world...not super expensive items but what we can fit into our budget. We collect masks and have several beautiful ones from Africa, South America, and one that was created by a family artist. There are also ceramics, wood carvings, copper work, baskets, woven and silk wall hangings, a small framed Navaho sand painting, original art works by local artists, and numerous other hand made items from all over the planet. I love these hand made objects because I feel a powerful connection to the people whose hands created them.

It is my goal to to honor the cultures of the world by displaying representational items in the living room and to foster tolerance, appreciation, and respect for other cultures and religions by exposing those Americans who suffer from blinding ethnocentrism to the beauty in lives that differ form their own.

All over the globe there are celebrations and gatherings that are special to people. Events such as these occur at different times of the year and for many different cultural, historical, and religious reasons. They serve to connect people through joy, magic, music, tradition, family and cultural history, giving, receiving and sharing.

Threads of expression and belief woven into the fabric of family and culture provide warmth, shelter, and strength to the various peoples of the world. The weavers and the tapestries however, are under threat by those who practice zealous ideology. It is of dire importance that we stop Christian and Muslim religious extremists from further destroying cultural and religious fabrics that may differ from their own through the arrogance and ignorance of proselytization.

Right now in my living room there are connections to Mexico, Guatamala, Peru, Kenya, Ethiopia, Niger, South Africa, Zambia, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Kosovo, Norway, India, Israel, China, Japan, Thailand, Tibet, and Ireland. I am in very good company and in that spirit I will continue in the future to work for world peace by promoting intercultural understanding, appreciation of diversity, and racial and religious tolerance.

***NOTE: We also collect inexpensive objects that were actually "made in America" way back when there were manufacturing jobs in this country. These objects represent a new catagory of American antiques...vanishing middle class collectables.

Kitchen Window Woman


Blogger Marie said...

Put a picture of them up!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

MONIKA...Good Idea....I will have to work on that...first I will have to get some more film..I used it up during the holiday.

11:54 AM  

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