StoryMOOC: Grandpa Sydney’s First Christmas in South Florida

I’ve just completed Creative Task#6 for a MOOC at, “The Future of Storytelling.

Grandpa Sydney’s First Christmas in South Florida

Logline: Grandpa Sydney, who has just come up from Jamaica to live in South Florida, discovers the Christmas Spirit in his new homeland.

In order to complete my task, I used the characters from Grandpa Sydney’s Anancy Stories (Grandpa Sydney; Winston Harrison, Grandpa Sydney’s son; Donna Harrison, Winston’s wife; and Jimmy Harrison, Winston and Donna’s son) to create this virtual scavenger hunt.

Grandpa Sydney's First Christmas in South Florida is a combination of location based (set in South Florida) and  transmedia storytelling (posts in Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and my blog)

The Backstory

"I don't feel the Christmas Spirit in Miami," said Grandpa Sydney. "Where will I meet people who will come together to celebrate the holiday? Where will I get Christmas cake? Go to a church service to hear my favorite hymns and carols? Where do friends gather?"

"We'll see," said Winston as he held Donna's hand and drew Jimmy close to his side.

The next day, Winston, Donna, and Jimmy woke up early and left this clue for Grandpa Sydney on their Christmas tree.

Clue #1: “Want to meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and have a lot fun this weekend? Come to this college in Miami. One of Santa’s helpers will give you the next clue.”

Grandpa Sydney searched through the crowds at Miami Dade College's Annual Christmas Holiday. People from all over the community brought their families to celebrate Christmas. 

In one of the many tents, Grandpa Sydney saw a Steel Pan Orchestra playing “Guantanamera,” Disney Fairy Tales characters and a friend of the family with Ms. Claus.

With the help of one of Santa’s helpers, Grandpa Sydney saw the many sights and sounds of the Annual Christmas Holiday at the North Campus of Miami Dade College. She also gave him a clue for the next location.

“Santa is a ___________? That’s the name of the restaurant where you can get Christmas cake…”

Location #3. Nice Mon Restaurant

Jamaican Christmas Cake

After picking up a delicious Christmas cake that Winston had bought for him, Grandpa Sydney read the clue that his family had left on the counter.

Clue #3: “Joseph, Mary and Jesus are the ____________? Follow this clue to learn about the meaning of Christmas and listen to Jamaican Christmas cantatas.”

Location #4. Holy Family Church, Miami Gardens

"Oh, we'll have a wonderful Christmas service," said Father Ward. "You will feel as if you never left Jamaica."

"Thank you, Father," said Grandpa Sydney. "I'll be back on Christmas Day."

"I'll be looking out for you," said Father Ward and he shook Grandpa Sydney's hand.

After visiting the chapel at Holy Family Church, Grandpa Sydney read the next clue that Winston, Donna, and Jimmy had left for him in the garden.

Winston, Donna, and Jimmy left a clue in the garden.

Clue#4: “You can walk and enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas at this beach. Invite all your friends who’ve helped you throughout the year for a party here…”

What better place to have a Christmas party than on a beach in South Florida? Grandpa Sydney, Winston, Jimmy, Donna and all their friends had a wonderful party at Hallandale Beach.

The friends brought gifts for the children and strung lights around the palm trees. The family and friends sang "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "The First Noel," and Grandpa Sydney’s favorite, “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy.”

And did they eat! They had salads, ham, roasted hen, curried goat, stuffed bell peppers, and rice with gungo (pigeon) peas. And, of course, Christmas cake and sorrel.

"Thank you, Winston," said Grandpa Sydney. "I never thought I'd be able to celebrate Christmas like I used to in Jamaica. I think I'm going to enjoy living here in South Florida."

Jimmy ran up to Grandpa Sydney and hugged him around his neck. Then, Winston and Donna came beside him and they all wished each other, "Merry Christmas!"


Here were the rules for Creative Task Week #6

1. Pick 3-5 locations in a two mile radius that you know very well. (e.g. a tree, a building, a church tower, …, whatever you like)
2. Take the character you created in Chapter #3 (or create a new one if you prefer).
3. Use both, the locations and characters to tell a little site-specific, location-based story. (One example is shown below.)

The Complete Package:

4. Go out and lay out the traces at your chosen locations.
5. Just post a logline (a summary of your game in just 1 line/sentence) here/on the web together with a description of your starting point, so others can actually find and play/follow your location-based story/game.
6. Play & experience! : )

Give thanks to Xavier Murphy, Donna Aza Weir-Soley, Josett Peat, Jason Walker, Eulett McKnight-Samms, Euphemia Napier, Nice Mon Restaurant, Father Horace D. Ward, Michael Mason (Ms. Claus), Nora Dawkins, Sara Alegria, and Estrella Iglesias for help with my homework.

Merry Christmas!


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