Arts

A Child's Christmas In Hamilton

By Ryan Moran
Published December 07, 2012

This festive season, we at factor[e] design initiative have launched a charitable holiday project focused on both the Hamilton holiday experience, and with the goal of improving the experience of a child in Hamilton during both the holidays, and throughout the rest of the year.

In partnership with City Kidz, and utilizing our in-house talents, we have published a Hamilton focused holiday story book, entitled A Child’s Christmas in Hamilton.  This story, illustrated by Chelsea Robinson, written by myself, and with special thanks to Adrian Duyzer, Tyler Cowie, Michelle Hayward, and Parker Martin, is a contemporary, Hamilton focused take on the classic Dylan Thomas prose A Child’s Christmas in Wales.  Featuring whimsical, descriptive storytelling, and playful, stylized depictions, this book, to be enjoyed by children and adults alike, details the experience of a child in Hamilton on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the late 1980s.

A “first and foremost” type question might be “why did we do this?”

Well, “first and foremost,” because we can, and because we wanted to.  As stated, this book was produced utilizing in-house talents, anything from illustration, writing, and design, to formatting and layout.  The project first arose from a discussion of what to do for our holiday cards, and how we preferred to do something creative – as we had done in the past.  Eventually the idea of an illustrated story was proposed, with the realization that it could be a unified holiday project, essentially, an idea that branches across gift books, and illustrated, captioned prints and greeting cards.  It was our feeling that such a project would be a great method to showcase all that we are capable of as a full-service marketing, creative, and design studio.  Prizing creativity over simply making do, we to let our ideas snowball.

However, beyond this “first and foremost” point, and far more importantly, we did this because we, as dedicated citizens of Hamilton, are dedicated to contributing to the Hamilton community. 

In this sense, there is obviously the financial, social responsibility contribution that will be made, as proceeds from all books and cards sold will go directly to City Kidz.  Yet in a far less immediately tangible sense, there was also the great interest in our contributing to the culture and stories of Hamilton. 

Personally, having always loved the Dylan Thomas prose A Child’s Christmas in Wales, I have always been interested in the way that it characterizes the Welsh town that it takes place in. The way it reinforces the Welsh identity, and illuminates an understanding of that identity, even through being a relatively light-hearted, holiday focused piece.  There is an undoubted melancholy to it, but there is also strength, a sense of unity, and a prominent sense of continuance.  This tends to be achieved through its easy familiarity, and the ability for readers to identify with it, no matter the year, nor being of Welsh descent.  It is a romanticized vision of the past, through the typically exaggerated eyes of an excited child.

There exists in Hamilton, a similarly strong sense of unity.  There is a great deal of pride for this city, an undoubted sense of pleasure for its past, and a great deal of hope for its future, moreover, we can all generally understand, and be nostalgic about childish joys.  Given this, the desire to record a similar sort of simple, romanticized vision of holidays of Hamilton’s past was only natural.  As such, pen was put to paper, and that paper was sent to the printer.

The role of stories in contributing to shared culture and developing a sense of shared identity is, obviously, ancient and crucial.  The UK, and London specifically, is an amazing example of this sort of cultural enhancement through stories, whether you are considering the real (Jack the Ripper and White Chapel), the fictional (Sherlock Holmes and Baker Street), or the fantastical (Harry Potter and the constructed Platform 9 and 3/4s at Kings Cross Station).  All these stories, beloved and otherwise, lend themselves to an enjoyment of the city for those who visit it, an identification with the city for those who are a part of it, and an identity of the city as it persists throughout history.

Of course, London, and those stories, are all very big examples.  It is important to note that the story need not be big, nor the location be renowned, rather, it is simply the relationship between the two that counts.  

Buildings build a city, and people populate it, but cities are truly made by stories.  Our identities, and indeed Hamilton’s identity, is shaped by shared experiences in a shared geography.  There are many tales of Hamilton, many factual and many fictional, many small and many big, many short and many long.  The more we write them down and share them with each other, contributing to our mutual culture, the more we can understand each other, where we have been, and where, as a city, we are going together.

Ryan Moran was born and raised in Hamilton's Strathcona neighbourhood. After obtaining an MBA in strategic marketing at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, where he also did a Bachelors of Arts in a combined major of Political Science and Theatre & Film, he joined the staff of factor[e] design initiative as their Marketing Communications Specialist.

Professionally, Ryan has been engaged with a number of consulting projects, particularly pertaining to topics of youth community development, marketing and social engagement, through both electronic and interpersonal means. He has previously worked for the McMaster Students Union, and ArcelorMittal Dofasco, and is a former chair of Hamilton Hive.

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By good idea (anonymous) | Posted December 08, 2012 at 20:52:50

Please provide a link to buy this as well as pricing, thanks. I know your website says it will be released on Monday but I'd like to know who will be stocking it and how much it will be.

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By jamesandcannon (anonymous) | Posted December 09, 2012 at 20:21:26

Mixed Media at 154 James St. North is carrying it. $7.00 each.

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By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 02:19:17

What a terrific idea. From what I have read so far I am thrilled. Cannot wait to buy a copy of the book. I wish it would have come out a little earlier it would have made a nice present for a few people on my list. Those have all been bought but if your price is reasonable there are a few people who will get a copy. Even though I am not welsh I love the "A Child's Christmas in Wales." I hope that you have done the original proud. Can't wait to get my copy.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 07:18:40

Thanks for the info , il be getting one or 2 today :)

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By RPMoran (registered) | Posted December 10, 2012 at 16:39:51

Hi!

The books are $7.00 each, and can be found at the following locations:

Beach Road Meats, Bitten, Bread Bar, Bryan Prince Book Sellers, Cake and Loaf, Citizen Kid, Epic Books, Franjipani, Green Smoothie Bar, HIStory + HERitage, Johnny's Coffee, Kabuki Spa, La Jardinère, Locke Street Bakery, LuLu & Lavigne, Mixed Media, Neo Hairstyling, Olive's Oddments, Ottawa Street BIA, Picks and Sticks, RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc.

And more...

Or go to the following link...

http://factore.ca/christmasinhamilton

Comment edited by RPMoran on 2012-12-10 16:40:43

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