2019: Community Living Room

We are hosting an all-ages, queer-friendly, night-time, drop-in arts space on Wednesdays, 6pm to midnight until the end of May.

This is a space to relax and come together with community, to have snacks, and to engage with the arts. Every Wednesday from 6pm-midnight until the end of May. Drop in and hang out! 5557 cunard street.

Each week we host a workshop featuring a different theme. We've had contact improv dance, meditation, improv acting, drumming, and more!

Thank you to Common Good Solutions / The Good Hub for inviting us into your space!

2016/2017: Gratitude Tree and Songs

This was the inaugural year for the Winter Holiday Blues project. We had big dreams, lots of ideas. Some of them came to fruition, some of them we put in our back pocket for next year. Here’s a little summary of how it all went.

The recurring theme in all our discussions about the winter holiday has been Gratitude. Every group talked about how celebrations are about being grateful for the people in your life, and the things that you have.

We started with Northwood, a seniors facility. At first we had just one participant! Judy was a powerhouse of storytelling, and lyrics seemed to come naturally to her so we wrote a couple of song. Later we joined up with Seeds Of Success, a mental health program at Northwood. There we talked about the people from our past who had impacted our life. While we chatted, everyone painted little segments of the gratitude tree.

Our second group was Adsum for Women and Children. We were overwhelmed by how welcoming and appreciative everyone here was. We got deep real quick. Everyone shared some amazing stories from their past and talked about dreams for the future. We made a little gratitude tree.

Our third group was St Joseph’s A McKay Elementary. We had shorter, 30-45 minute blocks with 6 classes. We asked questions like “what do you like to do in the winter?” and “what are you grateful for?”. The students then drew little images of people and things which made them feel gratitude. Some of them had a hard time thinking of any. We heard from some of them that they felt unwanted, and unappreciated. After some brainstorming though, everyone found something to be grateful for, whether it be their teacher, or chocolate, or their favourite video game.

Our final group was Wonder’neath open art studio. We brought our concept of the gratitude tree. People made some lovely panels for the tree, and learned about our winter holiday blues project.

Gratitude Tree

The gratitude tree is a great way to celebrate the winter holidays, and it’s easy too!

Step 1

Cut out some cardboard rectangle-esque shapes. These will join up to become the tree structure.

Step 2

Draw, print, or paint pictures of things that you are grateful for. It might be family members, or food, or the community you live in. If you like, add a few strips of birch, cos who’s not grateful for birch trees, right?

Step 3

Write letters of gratitude to hang on the tree.

Step 4

Put it all together. Use a hot glue gun or tape to connect all the piece. Hang the letters on a string.

Voila! A gratitude tree!

Christmas Memories

Snuggled warm in my cozy bed,

Excitement whirling in my head;

It’s Christmas Eve, with stockings hung,

And Christmas carols sweetly sung.

Sounds of secrets from another room

As gifts are wrapped, to be opened soon.

Smells of mincemeat, mint and clove,

And turkey roasting in the stove;

A real tree with bells and lights

Add to the magic of the night.

Christmas Day, with the gifts unwrapped,

Snuggled warm on my father’s lap;

The fire is bright, the meal prepared,

A special time with family shared.

And in my mind the story plays

Of why we have this special day;

Christ came down from Heaven to Earth,

And so we celebrate His birth.

Snippets of memories that flash through my mind,

Scenes from the years which are long left behind.

And though life has changed, in my heart they remain,

With a longing to be in those times again

Lyrics by Judy Bonnell

Music by Ross Unger

November, 2016

Winter Time

Winter Time, Winter Time,

What do we do in winter time?

We like to play in the snow

Make forts and drink hot coco

Take photos of family and friends

We’re grateful for our family,

We’re grateful for our beds

We’re grateful for our friendships

And we’re grateful to be fed

And in this time of gratitude

Let us not forget

To spread our love and kindness

To the people who defined us

And the billions who don’t have the things we do

So let’s remember what’s important

And remember not to stress

It’s not about the presents

But the love that they express

Let’s remember where we come from

And think where we’d like to go

Let’s share our thoughts on who we are

And why we’re here, we’ve come so far

Let’s focus on the things that make us feel alive

Cos it’s winter time, and winter can be lonely

Winter time

Winter time

Let’s come together to share our food

Thank the farmers sun earth and moon

Think of those who survive on less

Let’s Share our love we’re truly blessed

I was praying for a way to heal my mind and heal my heart

I was carrying such sadness I was just about to fall apart

But then I found this place

And I’ve been changed

Since I walked through these doors

Seeds of success

Where we’ve been blessed

To find our inner strength

It was there all along

And now we belong

We relate to one another

Like sisters and like brothers

When I’m here I’m home

We’ve grown so close

In these 4 walls

Whatever happens in the world,

I can Let it all go

Where strangers became friends

And friends become your family

You are my family

Origin Story

Winter Holiday Blues started as an attempt to create new traditions with the Halifax North End communities and celebrate the holiday season.

"We started this project because every year the winter holidays come round, and something doesn't feel right. We see lots of smiling faces, lots of decorations, and that’s great. But we also talk to people who feel alienated because they don’t celebrate the way that “everyone else” does. There's a lot of stress involved for some folks, whether it's because that couldn't make it to see their family, or because they didn't have the time or the money to get everyone presents. We want to do something to lets you know that it’s okay. You don’t have to celebrate the same way everyone else does. You’re not the only one feeling like this. We want to bring people together to hear each others’ stories."

This project was started in 2016 by Dramatic Changes co-founders Ross Unger and Katie MacDonald.