IMG_5312 by LoveHouse RadioOne of the best things about the holidays is spending time with family. I particularly like when we get to hang out with “the cousins” – that would be my nieces and nephews, all in high school now (my two are the youngest of the group and we tend to not see them for hours at a time when they are playing with the cousins). It is always fun to play games (we spend a lot of time playing video games when we are together), sports and hearing what stories they have to share of friends and school.

It is also fun to do something new with them – they always seem up for trying out some of my wild ideas. This past Thanksgiving, based on suggestions from a business associate, we tried to do fire art using burning steel wool and an open camera shutter. In short, you take steel wool, put it in a whisk on a string and light it on fire. Then, you keep the shutter of your camera open for 20-30 seconds and it records all the sparks flying off for that time period. Pretty cool results.

But that isn’t the best of it. The really cool thing is the time together and the fact that everyone is interested in helping out, in getting it setup and working through our “troubles”. With our failed attempts (apparently you have to use very fine steel wool, mine was too rough for our first try at Thanksgiving) we worked together, “ideated” and in the end, everyone was curious to see the results.  Everyone seemed to have some ideas and was willing to help each other support them and fill the roles (flashlight holder, fire starter, fire slinger, etc.).  By Christmas we were able to make our fire art!!

With the holidays being focused on family and get togethers (as well as the meaning of the season), this only amplified that feeling. Even with our failed attempts to light the wrong grade of steel wool we found alternatives using a flashlight to draw images in the air. My brother-in-law did a mean snow man!!  Some even found the flashlight alternative better than the flames!!  (and the flashlight can be done indoors where it isn’t so cold!!)

So find ways to incorporate some fun, creativity and most of all, togetherness in your family get togethers. Focus on the togetherness and the rest will fall into place. And if you come away with some really cool pictures…all the better!!