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Christmas project 2014

Christmas tree with presents in Geoff and Christine G’s home in West Wimbledon

A lit Christmas tree with presents in Geoff and Christine G’s home in West Wimbledon, London

The annual Christmas Past exhibition is one of the highlights in The Geffrye’s calendar. Our research archive of material relating to Christmas in English homes is crucial in helping us improve and update the display each year. In order to enhance this valuable resource, we would like to document your tastes, views, and experience of the 2014 festive season.

We have found that diaries can be one of the most useful resources for providing insight into the Christmas period in real homes. We would like you to cover the days from 15 December to 1 January, and to account for various relevant activities such as shopping, putting up decorations, and attending parties. Christmas can be an emotional time, with feelings ranging from delight upon receiving gifts, enthusiasm when seeing relatives, or perhaps relief when the season draws to a close. We want to document how you experience Christmas, and capture your honest opinions and reflections.

We are also keen to have any relevant photographs of your home, showing decorations, family and friends, and any Christmas meals. You can send us these as digital photographs. Please provide us with photographs that are as high a resolution as possible. Please also include a short list of captions for each one, telling us what date the photograph was taken, as well as what it shows (including the people, name of the room/space, objects, and so on).

The diaries can be handwritten on paper or done electronically via a Word document, both of which we can supply. We do not expect participants to write every day, but we would appreciate it if the following four days are covered at least:

 Christmas Eve
 Christmas Day (please list presents you give and receive in this entry)
 Boxing Day
 New Year’s Day

We intend to add the diary and any photographs to the Documenting Homes collection at the Geffrye, which is used as a permanent public reference resource. Once we have received your material, we will send you a clearance form to sign in order to confirm that you are happy for us to make your contribution accessible in this way.

We also collect Christmas cards: ideally, we would like to acquire all of the cards you receive over the Christmas season. If you would like to donate the Christmas cards you receive this year to the museum, please let us know when returning your completed diary.

If you would like to participate in this project, please contact me at gsalter@geffrye-museum.org.uk or 020 7749 6069.

Greg Salter
Post-Doctoral Researcher
The Geffrye Museum of the Home