Preparing your home and young hearts for the holiday season can be a joy and a time of nostalgia. It’s easy to get caught up in memories while decorating or baking. The love, people, experiences, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of holidays past come rushing back. As we age, these times seem more poignant as we remember loved ones no longer with us. A pause in the busyness of the season to consider how to prepare our home and young hearts for the holidays is appropriate.
Our world is a bit tumultuous right now and keeping family gatherings and traditions may have more importance than ever. Family tends to center us and remind us of what the most important experiences in life are all about. Herein lies the key to our preparations – love, family, and the life we make together. If we love, our preparations for family time are guided by consideration of others who hold special places in our hearts. As obvious as that statement may seem, our busy world sometimes steals this simple truth and we rush around losing our joy. So pause. Take a deep breath. Acknowledge the current state of our world, but set it aside for a time. At least to the extent possible. Choose to make a holiday experience designed to touch your Grands. Here are some thoughts as we prep for holidays 2021.
Thoughts for Preparing Your Home and Young Hearts for the Holidays
Search your memory for the holiday experiences that made an impression when you were the ages of your Grands. Recreate that experience for them. It doesn’t have to be exact. Capture the sentiments and the love even if you have to modify the experience a bit. Is there a long-forgotten recipe you can dig out, cook, and share with Grands along with your memories of it being served when you were their age? Maybe a photo album with pics of holiday memories?
Make time to discuss the reason for the holiday. As crazy as it may seem to us who are grandparents, many young children have not received the same teaching we did about holidays and the reason for their celebration. A mini-history lesson may change the dynamic of the experience for all. For Thanksgiving, consider taking time to watch an online video of the Plymouth area. You can find several here.
Since we’re leading up to Thanksgiving this week, take time to talk with your Grands about gratitude and what you’re grateful for this year. While it may seem cliche or corny to some, the actual process of speaking out loud about gratitude causes a shift in the atmosphere and our hearts. Young people need to have that experience with us. They learn by watching how we react or handle different situations in life. In difficult times, those lessons are especially important. Help them to see us grateful and strong even in the midst of difficult times.
Consider the past two years of COVID and political turmoil. Young people have heard anger, hatred, mixed messages about current affairs, and division. They’ve watched violence and displays of behavior that would have shocked us even a short five or ten years ago. With this in mind, they may be experiencing fear, hopelessness, and even despair about what the future holds for them. We can counter some of that during the holiday season by grounding them in love, family, and holiday traditions. Give them a place of safety and warmth regardless of what surrounds us in the topsy turvy world. Don’t dwell on what’s wrong at present, instead, cultivate grateful hearts by openly communicating your feelings about family and your gratitude for what is still wonderful and right!
As you decorate, shop, cook, and prepare to travel or host company this week, keep young hearts at the forefront of your mind. Look for every opportunity to speak good things into the hearts of your Grands. Give them a solid understanding of why we are celebrating and what that celebration means specifically for your family this year.