I love Christmas. I love the lights, the atmosphere, the music, the mythology and the magic.
During most of the year, I like grounded. In fact, because so much of children’s television makes no distinction between fantasy and reality, I play a game with my eldest I like to call ‘real or not real?’ Basically we shout out things like ‘elephants!’ or ‘unicorns!’ and Daisy has to guess if they are real or not real.
I betray that game at Christmas time. And I’m okay with that.
When I finished series 1 of Fluffy Gardens, I really wanted to make a Christmas Special. I wanted to show these characters I had grown to love as they go about enjoying Christmas. As magical as that time is, I have only realised since making it that it is also about what I love about grounded. About reality. So many shows (Barney, I’m looking in your direction) feel like they’re pushing the imagination as a place to exist. How fantastic the imagination is.
And it is fantastic.
But children don’t need help with that. Children are imaginative by nature. And I’m not even convinced that imagining what television is telling you to imagine is imagination. Then fast forward to adult life and I see us living in game worlds, living vicariously through television and movies, while we put up with the real world as a necessary evil. Like it has defeated us. What can I do? We retreat into the imagination, imagined worlds, imagined reality (yes, even with ‘reality’ television).
The Fluffy Gardens Christmas Special, on the other hand, is about these little animal characters accepting that Christmas may well be ruined. And they work together to make it better. To make it the best Christmas ever. They ask themselves, what can I do? And they don’t retreat.
Mostly, however, the Fluffy Gardens Christmas Special is a sweet little story about one of my favourite times of year. About spending time with friends. About having fun. About magic, excitement and anticipation. I know here in Ireland, it will air again on Christmas morning. It is becoming quite a tradition! I’m not sure where else (if anywhere) it is airing but, if you do manage to catch it, I hope you and your children enjoy it.
And if you ever find yourself asking, what can I do? About the world, about your life, about the littlest things, I hope you realise that the answer is usually… almost anything you want.
Have the happiest of Happy Christmases!