I want to be five years old again!
Robert Fulgham, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, writes about what he wants for Christmas. “It’s hard to talk about, but what I really, really, really want for Christmas is just this: I want to be five years old again for an hour. I want to laugh a lot and cry a lot. I want to be picked up, rocked to sleep in someone’s arms, and carried just one more time. I know what I really want for Christmas: I want my childhood back.
(Click on link at bottom of this post to watch video of Fulgham talking further about Christmas. Good stuff. I wouldn’t miss it if I were you. Heartwarming.)
I think most of us can relate to what Fulgham wants. Christmas is a complex time of the year. A loss of any kind feels more obvious during the holidays. When Christmas follows on the heels of the death of a loved one, it is healthy for the family members to work together to create a positive symbol honoring the presence of the absence. Here are two suggestions.
Making message ornaments
- Buy one ornament for each family member. Be sure the ornament top is removable and not exceptionally narrow. Traditional inexpensive ornaments provide plenty of room for this project.
- Cut a sheet of 8-1/2”x11” white inexpensive paper into ½” x8” strips.
- Write a private message to the deceased on one of the strips.
- Remove the hanger top of the ornament, and set the hanger and ornament aside.
- Roll the paper message as tightly as possible. It helps to do this on top of a table so it can be rolled very tightly.
- Push the rolled message through the ornament opening and replace the hanger. The message will rapidly unfurl inside of the ornament. It is now ready to hang on the tree.
- Note: You might want use a permanent magic marker to date the bottom of the ornament.
Creating a paper memory garland
- Cut 1” strips of different colors of construction paper. Make sure they are the same length.
- Give three strips to each family member so they can write favorite holiday memories of the deceased, and/or a few words about what they miss about not sharing this holiday with them.
- If a family member can’t attend, mail their strips of paper, requesting they send them back prior to Christmas week.
- At the family gathering, take a vote as to who will thread and staple each strip into a loop, creating a memory garland for the tree.
Scheduling a family activity around the loss of your loved one is good for everyone and breaks the ice for those who have trouble expressing themselves. These are just examples; maybe you can come up with an even better one!
In closing, here is what I promised earlier
Fulgham talks about the child who came to his door at Christmas.