There’s something beautiful about the retreat indoors after the warm days of summer. As autumn leaves fall and daylight shrinks, we turn toward the bright hope and joy that Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter holidays bring. Here are some creative ways to prepare for the winter season indoors, to bless friends and family, and infuse purpose into your hobbies this snuggly season.
Create Special Gifts
A great grandmother’s handmade doily. A grandmother’s handwritten note. A grandfather’s hand carved walking stick. These gifts are priceless gifts of love that carry our memories and our love forward for decades to come. In the days and weeks leading up to the holiday season, consider giving the gift of your creativity. Create gifts out of your hobbies: knit socks and scarves, cross-stitch Christmas tree ornaments, paint, draw, embroider, quilt, whittle, compose, or crochet… whatever your hobby is, there’s a handmade gift that will be treasured by your loved ones, far more than anything you can buy off of the shelves. And think of all of the times they will be able to say to someone they love, “This was made by my grandma/grandpa.”
Send Personalized Greetings
In this age of electronic everything, personal notes and cards carry significance. Write letters to each of your children and grandchildren with what you see in them, how you are proud of them, and why you are thankful for them. Instead of just signing your greeting cards, write personalized notes for your loved ones. Even an additional single line of love and thanks can go a long way.
Record Your Stories
One of the greatest gifts a parent or grandparent can pass on to their descendants is their stories. Record in writing or capture in audio/visual the stories of your childhood. What was it like to grow up where you did? What do you remember about your parents and grandparents? Where did they come from? Think about the specific details you remember from your childhood. What clothing did you wear? What was your favorite present you ever received? What was the most memorable holiday? What are the first ten memories that come to mind when you think about school? Work? Your parents?
If you know your family’s genealogy, provide a record for your family members. Dash away the doubts that your family members don’t care about such things; they will treasure their origin stories just as much as you have.
Invite a Loved One to Do a Hobby with You
Bond with loved ones by initiating a common activity together. There are loads of things you can do together, in person or from a distance, that can help you stay connected all year round.
If a family member visits regularly, consider an ongoing card competition to see who can win the most hands of Rummy, or chess, or another game you both love. Work on a puzzle together. Create a work of art or craft together. Teach your children or grandchildren a skill that you have mastered over the years so they can carry that tradition forward. Invite your grandchildren to these special games and activities and sow priceless memories of your love into your time together.
If family isn't nearby, pick a TV series to watch and discuss as you go along. Start a family book club and invite family members to talk about the book via a group text message, or schedule a video call. Play a virtual game on your phone together - there are lots of multiplayer games like Scrabble and Boggle and other games that can both enrich your mind and be played with a social component.
Share Your Recipes
Our legacies linger in our meals as well. Do you have a recipe (or many recipes!) that your family cherishes because they are “Mom’s Apple Pie” or “Dad’s Famous Chili”? Buy a stack of recipe cards and start writing out those delicious dishes. Now’s the time to share the secret ingredients so that future generations can enjoy and remember that special sauce you always made.
Other Ideas? We want to hear them!
What ways do you seek to bless and inspire others during the holiday season? What did your parents or grandparents do to bless your family and carry their memory forward? What traditions do you celebrate that you look forward to each year?
Share your favorite holiday memories and ways that you share traditions in your family Here.