Please Help

pink_warm_mama_1November 9, 2013

For Thanksgiving and Christmas it will be the first time my great grandchildren will be without their mother. Ages run from 8-17. I am trying to think of extra fun things in an effort to get them through these holidays with a minimum of pain. So far I've thought of:

making cookies together
making pomanders
making gingerbread houses
making cards/drawings for their dad
fun paper napkins and/or hats and paper cups for cider
the pull crackers that are now being sold.

Any ideas/suggestions will be gratefully accepted as their grandmother (my daughter) works, and much of this will be left up to me (which I will enjoy).

Thank you in advance. Pink

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If you have a stash of Christmas CDs, you might consider getting the older kids involved with ripping them to a computer, creating playlists and making either mix CDs or downloading to whatever MP3/MP4 devices your family has. They could make a playlist with funny Christmas songs, old favorites, Country and Western, etc.

Because you have such a span of ages, I suspect that you might want to talk to the older children about what traditions they would like to preserve and what new traditions they would like to start. I'd guess it depends somewhat on the reason their mother is absent from their lives. If their mother died, they will have different feelings than if there is another reason.

I wish you all the best with what may be a tough time, emotionally.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 12:28PM
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With everything you have already planned you should be on top of the Grt Grand's list with them. When our lg family would get together, we always played alot of games and pool besides doing some crafting.

I am going to try to make some Christmas trees this year. You use a styrofoam tree and cover it with plastic wrap. Next you can cover it with jute, yarn, crochet thread or string. Next cover it with Elmers Glue and let it dry. (You would need to have some of these made up before Thanksgiving). When dry you can add garland, beads, stars or what ever to decorate them. I think you could use Modge Podge instead of Elmers also. I thought this would be neat to use a tomatoe cage for a large one. Will try to share pictures if I get some of these made.

Have you searched pinterest for ideas. I'm sure that's where I seen my tree idea. Good luck and enjoy time with those kids.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:12PM
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Are there any local (free or inexpensive) places you could take them? When my nieces were young, I'd take them to a museum near here that has a home decked out in a Victorian Christmas theme. They do some Victorian xmas crafts there and have a room w/ cookies and lemonade. They loved that.

I don't know where you are located, but around here there are also things like ice skating rinks and several locations with extraordinary xmas light/decoration displays for kids of all ages. My village does a special xmas party in mid December that ends with a fireworks display! There are also winter carnivals w/ food tastings, chili cookoffs, snow sculpture competitions, ice sculpture, etc. Our local Art & Community Center has many special shows and activities for kids during the holidays. There's an old local theater that plays holiday classics (like It's a Wonderful Life), they have a xmas tuba band concert, etc.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 1:15AM
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Thank you for all the grand ideas! We will be out in the country in North Carolina near Wilmington, and I will try to find out about the fun things that have been mentioned. I would like to take the four girls to a Christmas ballet or play, and appreciate your thought.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 9:46AM
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There are marvelous gingerbread house kits that my adult kids still love to make. The pieces are already in the box, along with candies for decoration and a bag of icing to which you just add water.

I'm sorry about whatever circumstances have led to this Christmas without your granddaughter. You are wonderful to plan this time for your greatgrands.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Your craft ideas are great. But I'd emphasized the above suggestions that get them out of the house. Maybe you can find a few places where you don't have to be with them. That's hard in today's culture, but there just might be some places they can go. Is your local movie theater safe? Drop them off at the beginning of the show and then pick them up. The older girls can each be responsible for one of the younger ones. Take them aside and tell them that you'll be busy, but you'd like to treat them to the latest holiday movie.

Remember, all does not have to be play. Does the older one have a driver's license? Have her go to the store with one of the younger ones and pick up the ingredients for the cookies. Ask them to take turns (in pairs, of course) walking the dog. Give them little tasks they can do. The little one can sweep the porch. Let them rake leaves. Then after all their "jobs" are completed, sit down with them and have a cup of hot chocolate. Tell them how much you appreciate their help. Great grandma is just not as strong and she used to be, and they are really helping you out.

Don't have the house "all ready for them." Have a box of Christmas ornaments/decorations that have a story connected with them and ask them to get it down from the attic for you so you can use them. Then, as you take them out, tell the story. The story can just be, "Your grandma always liked to put these strings of beads on the tree, but she got them all knotted evey time she did it!"

And if the subject of their mother comes up, let them talk, without comment. "Really?" and "Oh, I didn't know that." and "I understand why you're feeling so sad (mad)" are safe responses. If the conversation gets too sad, gently end it and get up and move to the next thing.

Choose Christmas movies carefully. They often have a "complete family" (with both parents), so watch for that.

You have a daunting task ahead. My thoughts are with you.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 11:41AM
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pink, can you take them to see The Nutcracker? It's a classic xmas ballet and usually played everywhere in December. I did a search based on Wilmington and found this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wilmington Ballet Company - Nutcracker

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Check this out too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Holiday events calendar for Wilmington

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 1:27PM
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It is clear you warm-hearted crafters have given a lot of thought to helping my beloved great grandchildren, and it is greatly appreciated. The Wilmington information you so kindly sent has been forwarded to their very busy dad who will be happy to help organize the outings. My heart truly wants to make these two holidays ones they will all remember with joy, God willing. Thank you again for your consideration.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Pink, the gals all had good ideas and you had plenty of your own, so not much I can add. Tho I do agree that talking to the oldest teens about what they'd like is a good idea. They may want to continue some old traditions and start some new ones. And they may enjoy helping you with some decorating for Christmas. Tears and memories will be flowing, but hopefully they will be a step in healing for all of you. Recalling some funny memories can help too. When we lost my Dad, we did this.

I am deeply sorry for what your family is facing these holidays. So terrible for all of you, but especially the youngest ones. My heart just breaks about this. But I think you will definitely give them some joyful memories and they are lucky to have you in their lives.
hugs, Karen

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 11:20PM
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Pink, I don't have anything to add to the good ideas you've already been given. It is wonderful that you are there for your great grand children during this difficult time.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Pink, my Mother got all her grands together (ages 3 to 19) to put together gift bags for people on the nursing homes that her church visits during Christmas. She also had them make an ornament which they groaned and moaned about the whole time she was giving them instructions. Can you believe they had a few ornaments left over which they fought over so strongly that she ended up buying another set so they each could make one for home!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 9:10AM
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pdg777 - Another wonderful idea! What type of things were packaged for nursing home members? Essentials such as toothpaste, kleenex ....or goodies...or both? Am excited about this because I firmly believe there's nothing better for one's soul than doing good for someone else. Thank you and everyone else for all the help.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 10:18AM
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