The transforming power of Christmas

The transforming power of Christmas

The Christmas message of ‘transformation’ is on beautiful display at Park Meadows Shopping Centre in Bedfordview this festive season. This year, instead of using store-bought Christmas decorations, Park Meadows Shopping Centre’s marketing department has embraced a ‘Recycled Christmas’ initiative, with transformed plastic bottles decorating the centre.
The golden flowers with red centres decorating large baubles hanging from the ceiling and covering Christmas trees throughout the centre are in fact plastic bottles, cut and shaped into flowers and covered with golden glitter.
The centre’s marketing manager Leo van Straten explained he set out to embrace the true meaning of Christmas by providing working opportunities for underprivileged residents in the Free State where he owns a property. Residents of the landfill were asked to collect plastic bottles, and Park Meadows’ marketing department then provided employment for them, paying them to transform the used bottles into the beautiful Christmas decorations.
“Many visitors to the centre haven’t realised that the decorations in the centre have been created through recycling initiatives,” said van Straten.
He said he hoped this was just the beginning for the centre, “We hope to get large corporations on board next year, to assist us in creating a workforce at Christmas time, to produce Christmas decorations from recycled bottles and containers.”
He said his mind has been working overtime in dreaming up different ways of using cartons and bottles for decorations. “I have already seen how plastic white milk cartons can be transformed into arum lilies and have considered using scissors with serrated edges to create different flowers for next year’s display.”
Van Straten told tame TIMES he believed Christmas was a time of transformation – of old things becoming new – and through this project he had realised how much could be done in the community, when we become mindful of the true meaning of Christmas.
“These golden flowers have restored the dignity of many families this Christmas through providing a valuable income and giving meaningful work. They show that real transformation is possible.”