Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
If you want to get in the Christmas spirit, get a Christmas tree. And this year you can do your bit for charity at the same time. In aid of Operation Santa, we challenged seven sets of Hong Kongers, from an actress to a primary-school class, to use their imaginations and create a festive forest nice enough to auction. Pictures by FRANKLIN LAU and JOYCELYN CHENG.
If you would like to bid for a tree, simply send your offer, name and contact number by midday, Friday, December 15, to the Sunday Morning Post Magazine, 29/F Dorset House, 979 King's Road, Quarry Bay. Fax: 2968-0136.
The Montessori School PARENTS of progeny attending The Montessori School can rest assured that their children have learned their ABCs this year. Rather than simply decorate their tree, the children created ornaments beginning with letters of the alphabet. 'We penned a poem called the Christmas Tree ABC which the children have been reciting all week,' says teacher Christine Knill. 'Each child was then asked to make one of the ABC ornaments to decorate the tree.' Their approach to this project is characteristic of the Montessori method of education, which encourages initiative, independence and responsibility in young children. It was devised by Dr Maria Montessori at the turn of the century and is now taught in 80 countries around the world. Established in Hong Kong in 1977, the Montessori School has around 100 pupils between the ages of three and six who are taught in two languages, English and Cantonese or Mandarin.
The Christmas Tree ABC A is for Angels B is for Baubles C is for Crackers D is for Drums E is for Evergreen F is for Fir tree G is for Goodies that make us happy H is for Holly I is for Icicles J is for Jingle Bells K is for King L is for Lantern M is for Merry Christmas N is for Nuts O is for Oranges P is for Presents Q is for Queen R is for Ribbons S is for Stars T is for Teddies we will get but hurry and finish the alphabet U, V, W, X, Y, Z Oh what a pretty Christmas Tree! The local artists 'WE WANTED to create a tree-like sculpture that was very indicative of Hong Kong,' says Lisa Cheung, a local sculptor and visual arts co-ordinator at The Fringe Club. She and her collaborators, mixed-media artist Wong Shun-kit and sculptor and painter Leung Mee-ping (whom she met while organising the Acculturation exhibition during the Fringe Festival), came up with symbols for the territory's notorious weather and its obsession with food: 'An umbrella - an absolute must during typhoon season - stuck into a Chinese char sui chopping block.' They have tellingly entitled their sculpture The Poor Artist's Tree.
Tonkin Design 'WITH all the environmental fuss there's been about whether to use real or artificial trees, we thought we'd create something recyclable,' says Mike Tonkin of award-winning interior-design company, Tonkin Design. 'We chose to construct our 'tree' out of newspaper for three reasons: one, it's recyclable; two, it was once a tree; and three, well, you asked us to do it! Initially we planned to just make a tree from old newspaper - the Morning Post, naturally - and shine lights through the branches as a twist on conventional fairy lights. But we thought why not create a Christmas lantern shaped as a tree instead?' Tonkin, who has won awards for designing the offices of Batey advertising agency and Nichole Garnaut's apartment (he is currently working on the 97 Group's new Q complex in Quarry Bay and Oscar's bar in Causeway Bay) is fairly optimistic about raising money during the auction. He recently raised $100,000 for AIDS Concern with a hat made from rubber gloves.
Shanghai Tang GEMMA Choi, head buyer at Shanghai Tang, decorated its Christmas tree with some of the gifts currently available in the lifestyle emporium. Branches are adorned with teddies togged out in red satin Tang suits with matching bob-hats; the base is made from fur-trimmed Tibetan hats. 'Christmas is about giving and sharing and David [Tang] wanted to decorate our tree with gifts that the eventual owner could take down and pass on to others.' Tequila Kola GEOFF Fuller, Michelle Coller and their son, four-week-old Max, the family behind the furniture and home accessories shop, Tequila Kola, decorated their tree with plates, cutlery, pewter goblets and napkins from the Christmas range. 'Christmas is all about eating and being self-indulgent, so we decided to use crockery and cutlery,' says Coller. 'And all the silver makes it look really festive.' The pewter goblets are handmade in Indonesia, the plates and glasses are by Daryl Ries and the cutlery is hand-beaten in Thailand.
Peter Lau PETER Lau decided to eschew convention when asked to create what he feels symbolises Christmas . 'I won't be putting up a tree,' he said, 'and I don't think it's a crucial factor when conveying Christmas spirit.' He went for a Santa Claus motif, instead, designing a red satin handbag trimmed with white faux fur in the style of his trademark flippy skirts. Is this the style that we should be wearing to Christmas parties this season? 'Oh yes ... every season. Women should always attract attention!' Cherie Chung Actress turned tai-tai Cherie Chung was pleased to donate a handmade tree originally intended for her own home. Using her Ikebana skills, Chung's moss tree in a terracotta pot was decorated with dried pomegranates, oranges, chillis and cinnamon sticks. She is an avid ambassador for Friends of the Earth and maintains that her tree is environmentally friendly. 'Everything on the tree is made from nature and you can reuse the tree after Christmas,' says Chung. 'And another thing. Please ask your readers not to send Christmas cards this year, especially the big corporations. Did you know that for every 2,000 cards sent you have to kill one tree?'