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Ethnically-Diverse Christmas Decorations Help 'Conversations About Race And Colour'

Sunday, 25 December 2022 06:00

By (C) Sky News: Ashna Hurynag, news correspondent

When Natalie Duvall's daughter looked at her Christmas decorations and their white skin tones, she couldn't see herself represented in the festive faces.

"Can Christmas angels have brown skin?"

That was the question posed by then seven-year-old Sophia to her mother Natalie Duvall as they decorated their Christmas tree in 2018.

She looked around at her fairies, angels and Santa Claus with their white skin tones and realised the answer - yes - wasn't an obvious answer to her daughter, who could not see herself represented in the faces she was putting on the tree and around her home.

It prompted Ms Duvall and Alison Burton to create Britain's first collection of ethnically-diverse Christmas decorations -angels, choristers and wise men with textured hair and black and brown skin.

Ms Duvall told Sky News:

"An angel could have any kind of skin, whether it was brown, pink or red.

"It's your interpretation of what an angel is.

"And it was really sad to me that my daughter thought that they were only one colour.

"They were only white.

"And that's not the world that I want my daughter to grow up in - that there's only one version or something."

The decorations are not just an accompaniment to Christmas festivities - they can prompt difficult conversations too.

Ms Burton said the decorations can be for everyone, not just those with black and brown skin for whom the representation is important.

She added:

"I think that some people find it daunting to have conversations about race and colour.

"But what you introduce into your household, whether it be the books that you read, the films you watch with your children, or even having diverse decorations on your tree, helps to facilitate that conversation about race and to normalise these in the household and for them not to feel like a novelty."

Decorations featuring people of colour do exist abroad, but they are a new concept for UK audiences.

They are designed by the founders, then packed and shipped from a warehouse in Kent.

The company, March Muses, is in its fourth year and the creations are the norm in the Duvall and Burton households.

"It was special to see my daughter's face light up when she saw this angel that looked like her," Ms Duvall said.

"She was like, 'Oh, it's brown. It looks like me'.

"It's a small way of showing her she is represented in this world, and that she belongs in this world.

"Now when we show her new designs of our angels she says 'I've seen them 100 times Mum, what's new?'.

"That's the reaction we want, we want it to be normal and not a novelty."

Sky News

(c) Sky News 2022: Ethnically-diverse Christmas decorations help 'conversations about race and colour'

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