Memories, Traditions, Old and New

Today being a half-snow day from school and tomorrow being Winter Solstice (as well as the rare winter solstice lunar eclipse), as well as being on the brink of wrapping up our holiday shopping so we can finally relax and enjoy our celebrations, I thought it would be a good day to bring up a few ideas for these last few days of 2010.
No matter which holidays you will be observing, most people follow the traditions of feasting, relaxation, and celebrating with family and friends.  It’s a time for reflection on the year and other passing events to try to decide what we wish to take with us into the New Year, and what things to leave behind.  In this way it can be an ideal time to journal and meditate on gratitude as well.
Sadly, many of us were left behind this year by friends or family members who have passed on, so it will be an especially emotional and nostalgic time.  While we may feel the disappointment at the loss of their physical presence with us over the coming days however, it is so important to know that they will truly be with us in spirit.  Watch for signs they offer to show you they are around – it is just one way they are able to reach out and express their continued love for us.  I also encourage everyone, whether individually, or as a family, to not put aside tradition, but rather focus on creating a new tradition or finding a way to still include your passed loved ones in your celebrations still!

Some ideas you might consider…

  • Light a candle and telling favorite holiday-time stories or memories of the person – or journaling about them if you are doing this on your own
  • Bake a favorite cookie or recipe of theirs to share
  • Make a Memory Ornament (directions below)
  • Say a special prayer for your loved one
  • Meditate to focus on a special place you shared and inviting them to meet you there in your meditation for a bit
  • Journal an entry about all the reasons you are grateful for the person being a part of your life
  • Play, or SING! all their favorite Christmas carols
  • Adopt a holiday tradition that the person had, that maybe you hadn’t been doing before…which is a great way to continue passing down family heritage and customs too!  Like Lefse making, or embroidering pillowcases, or gifting sweaters for all the grandkids just like Grandma did while she was here, ..or whatever it was the loved one was known for!
  • Volunteer in their honor
  • Donate toys, or mittens, or time in their honor
  • Or simply close your eyes for a minute when you’re feeling thus inspired, and thank them for being a part of your life, and tell them how much you love them.
This is a fraction of the possibilities I’m sure, and if you have anything you already do, or are planning on starting this year, be sure to comment because the next person who comes along just might read  it and have it strike a chord with them too!
No matter what you choose to do, enjoy your new custom and be joyful, for all the gifts they passed on to you, you still have time to pass on to others around you too!
Purchase a clear glass ornament intended for crafts like these found at Hobby Lobby, Michaels or other crafting supply shops.  Use your imagination to fill the ornament with little symbols, trinkets, personal messages writtien in scrolled paper, photos, magazine clippings of words or pictures,…all things that remind you of your loved one.  It may include tokens of their favorite hobbies and pastimes, it may have their favorite color as a theme, it might be based on your favorite memory of them.  It could contain a single, significant item, or be a much more complex assortment.  Scrapbooking pieces, dollhouse or model/diorama items (also found at crafting supply shops), household objects are all a great places to start. The possibilities are endless and therefore each ornament will be fantastically personalized. You can layer the items, or fill the bottom with some decorative sand, and then place the pieces on top of that…or come up with your own clever and creative solutions to assembling the perfect memory ornament for your loved one.  The outside of these glass ornaments can also be painted, so feel free to add a saying, verse from a poem or song, or even the person’s name who you are commemorating.  Have fun with it, cut loose your artistic expression, and if you’re up to it, invite them to be around you while you’re working on it, because they might just pop their own ideas into your mind of things to include too!  (Since all it takes is a thought of them to draw them toward us, it’s not likely we’d be able to pull-off a surprise “reveal” to them anyway.)  When you’re all done – be sure to hang your ornament in a place of honor, so it will bring a smile each time you see it .  The best part is that it will be an heirloom and new tradition to be used and passed down for years to come!

Happy Holidays to you and ALL your loved ones!