Reflections on a shared cultural experience

...8A set up this year’s Christmas tree, and were then invited to reflect on what it had meant to them; this article shares some of 8A’s reflections on this cultural experience. Isabella wrote: “Even though the tree was plastic and the balls too, I suddenly felt all in a ‘Christmas mood’ and got excited…we had a lot of factors that are important in culture, e.g. music, traditions, colours, community. This reminded me of my home in Germany as this tradition of the Christmas tree is from Germany and was transferred to England and other countries in 1840 by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, who was German’. Rotem found it a happy cultural experience that made her think of the togetherness of cultural shared experience; she reflected how “It was really fun when we laughed together and played around with the tree”. For Hiroto, setting up the tree ‘was something special for us to do because we usually make Christmas trees once a year’.

For Julius, what was striking was the colourful, visual impact of the baubles on the tree; he said ‘The ornaments were balls, and icicles, and there were a few snowflakes. They were very colourful; there were red, green, and blue ornaments’.

Ayesha too commented on the importance of colour in setting up the Christmas tree: ‘I decorated the Christmas tree by putting on some colourful ornament balls on the Christmas tree. I feel happy and excited because I've never decorated a Christmas tree before, so it was the first time I was involved in this special occasion. I don’t celebrate Christmas in my culture. It was fun because the whole class came together during the lesson, I decorated the Christmas tree with my friends and it created a good memory’. Quinton too had a similar reflection ‘Decorating the Christmas tree with the whole class got me in the Christmas spirit. We got to put all the ornaments on the tree. To decorate the tree, we had to put the colourful ornaments on the tree. The colours of the ornaments make it feel like I am making something colourful in the winter ….if they were not colourful then it would not change the effect of the cold, rainy weather outside, into colourful cheerful Christmas feelings. It also felt like we were doing teamwork because we did it as a class instead of doing it alone’. This theme of teamwork, and the togetherness that comes with cultural shared experience, was also highlighted by Luca, who saw how ‘This process involved teamwork, each one of us had to decorate part of the tree’.

Simon highlighted the importance of memory in the shared cultural experience of setting up the Christmas tree: ‘we created a memory which we will be looking back, laugh about and be proud for doing, and we might have even have started a tradition where every year our class gets to customize the ISL reception Christmas tree!’ Alicia too was struck by how the practice of shared cultural experience creates memory and tradition; “When I decorated the Christmas tree, I was happy that I was with my classmates because we shared memories of doing something together that we might enjoy doing. I felt very happy when all the class joined together to decorate the tree, and when we played some music it reminded me of when I decorate the tree with my family every year. I think that the tradition of decorating a Xmas tree is to be with the family. It’s a time to talk, have fun, listen to Xmas songs, and be together, either with friends or/and family’. The last word about Grade 8A’s shared cultural experience of putting up the Christmas tree goes to Olivia who said: “I felt very happy when all the class joined together to decorate the tree, and when we played some music it reminded me of when I decorate the tree with my family every year. I think that the tradition of decorating a Xmas tree is to be with the family. It’s a time to talk, have fun, listen” to Xmas songs, and be together, either with friends or/and family’.

Grade 8 Christmas Tree team