FAMILY STORIES / A MAGICAL TIME OF YEAR / DECEMBER 23
Kel & Jono Stone
As people, a couple, parents, who provide spaces and products of idealism to Australian families, we are often, if not always, part of the visual narrative that childhood, parenting, and families live idealistically. Of course, we ALL know that this is not the case, but with an imbalance of stories and visual prompts to show us otherwise, it is very easy for families to feel pressure to get it right all of the time – we get it!
When thinking about offering you my thoughts on what the holidays mean to me, as we have asked our friends to do, I am struck with the responsibility to share honestly and rawly what 2019 has meant to us. Basically 2019 was kind of shitty, super challenging and it nearly broke us. So for me, right now, the holidays mean a time to reconcile the anxiety-inducing year that was and to reconnect, regroup and refocus. Basically ALL the re’s!
2019 saw our family move interstate from Melbourne to the Byron region, a move planned for 12 years and that on paper seemed perfect. Boy oh girl were we wrong… With 2 house and school moves in 6 months, the logistics of managing our business remotely, the financial cost to move and set up a new business location and not to mention the small thing of EMOTIONS that go along with shedding the old, starting afresh and trying to find your people and your place, it is safe to say we underestimated it all and it has taken a toll.
On top of our personal struggles, we have watched our beautiful region succumb to drought and become dangerous. We have had fires raging in heritage-listed rainforest within kilometers of our home and we have watched our whole nation burn whilst the incompetency of our governments and the political system as a whole is laid bare! All of this has raised feelings of hopelessness and guilt, leaving us feeling despair for the future.
I think it is important to acknowledge the struggles of a year as it moves towards an end but also equally as important to find the silver lining and the hope that exists in the future. Because there is a LOT of hope, great people and incredible things ahead ALWAYS…sometimes you just have to know the right place to look!
For us, we are grateful and hopeful that despite the challenges we faced this year and continue to face going into 2020, that Jono and I still have a VERY strong underlying deep love and respect for each other and for the natural ups and downs in life. We are honest within ourselves and with each other about what toll it has all taken and we are committed to taking the learnings and being better versions of ourselves.
On a human level, there are so many reasons to be grateful and hopeful because collectively we have an unmatched power that I am positive we will realise. We have met some amazing people who are working on epic and exciting projects that will transform our world and rush through an era of sustainable ingenuity never before seen. We believe that people, when backed into a corner, will always come out swinging and this brings us immense hope.
We are hopeful because we see people and businesses around us bringing philanthropy into the center of their ‘why’ and not their bottom line and we have our own exciting program to announce soon.
So yes, while you have been incredibly challenging 2019 and you took us to our depths, you have also provided the foundation for the push back we are giving you in 2020 and we have a lot of passion and energy left to keep going!
So here is to simplicity, honesty, beauty, community, sustainability and above all FAMILY!
From our family to yours we wish you very happy holidays!
Kel, Jono, Jethro & Shepard Stones.
Chloe Brookman – Olli Ella
The holidays for me mean a time to regroup, reset and spend lots of downtime with my family. We celebrate Hannukah and Xmas in our house and so it’s really fun to combine to two to form our own family traditions.
Zoe Paul – Mister Zimi
HOLIDAYS MEAN… no routine, beach, family time, lazy mornings, extended family, friends = happiness.
Kashia Kennedy – Castle and Cubby
I grew up in NZ and Christmas always meant lots of presents and seeing extended family we often only saw on holidays (including the ‘cool’ cousins!). I moved to Australia when I was 19 so for a long time it just meant time off work and fun parties – but now I have my own kids I’m getting back into the daggy Christmas spirit and really enjoying starting our own family traditions and continuing some from my childhood (like the ‘rule’ that you have to eat your breakfast before you can open your presents, making the anticipation that much more exciting!). We try to be really thoughtful about their gifts and we have never set a ridiculously high bar to top each year (thankfully!) and make sure they get to see their own ‘cool’ cousins. On a total downer, Xmas also means random hayfever attacks and me complaining constantly about it being too hot, ha!
Sheree Commerford – Captain and the gypsy kid
The Christmas holidays are when we really standstill. Our industry (fashion) unofficially closes for a month and it allows us to be really free and get that glorious chunk of time with the kids. They make the holidays everything. There is that feeling of excitement in the air about Xmas and knowing long days at the beach are ahead with family and friends. Australian summers are like nowhere else on earth and it’s when it really hits home how lucky we are to live in this country. This Summer the holidays feel different as we are reminded every day with bushfires still burning how we have taken that luck for granted. Our country is in trouble and it is a devastating thought to think that these summers of our childhoods, the summers we live to give to our kids, might no longer exist due to the climate crises and our government’s lack if in-action. This summer I will not take a single day for granted.
Courtney Adamo – Babyccino Kids
My favourite thing about the holidays is being able to fully switch off from work and just be with my family. I usually stash my phone away into a cupboard for a few weeks over Christmas and it’s so extra nice to be fully present without that distraction. Oh, and my mum’s famous cinnamon rolls. Christmas isn’t Christmas without them, even if it’s painful to turn the oven on in this hot, humid weather!!