Last holiday season, I took my girls to a nursing home to visit their great grandmother. As she was always so happy to see them and loved when they performed, this time she was welcomed with a little song and dance they had worked on for her. The sight of this strong and often rigid, ninety-seven year old woman with a big grin on her face, and a proud look in her eye was something I’ll never forget. She called over her friends, some busy nurses and even some passersby to get a glimpse of the show. Who knew that “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” sung by a 9 year old and a 6 year old would have created so much joy!
The Environmental Protection Agency confirms that intergenerational relationships “benefit the elderly in their socialization, stimulates their learning, increases their emotional support and improves their health”. For children it “enhances their social skills, improves their academic performance, decreases drug use and increases their mental stability”. All I know is, we had struck gold in that moment and for my grandmother and my girls it was a gift that kept on giving. To me, those memories of being connected with loved ones is what the holidays are really all about.
This year I’m asking for the key to what life is all about…time. Time to spend on simple actions that make memories which will last a life time. Take some time this holiday season to:
– Spend the afternoon making holiday cookies with Grandma
– Video tape interviews with your family members
– Play a long game of Monopoly with friends and family
– Take a turn putting on the red velvet suit and be Santa on Christmas Eve for your family or your friends!
– Don’t just have Christmas dinner, have the whole family spend time to help make it together
– Go around the dinner table and play, “One of the many things I love about you is…” and have everyone answer it about each other.
– Write a love letter to someone special. The best gifts are those that keep on giving and make us smile over and over again. What better gift than your words of all the things that we “wish” we’ve said to our loved ones but never have the time.