Caregiving, family, and the holidays; all emotional words depending on one’s perception of combining all three together. For some caregiving is an emotionally draining act. For others being with family during the holidays (or any time during the year) stirs up the same emotions. For others caregiving and family, in small doses, works perfectly.

What is it about the holiday season that we like and dislike? Some say the commercialism of having to buy presents. Why not make a present rather than buy a present. My parents loved to garden. Mom made canned tomatoes, pickles, and strawberry jam. This led me to make and gift jars of plum jam one holiday when we lived in a home that had the most fabulous plum tree in the front yard that gave off hundreds of plums one summer.

Why not donate to charity and give this as a gift? Honestly isn’t there a point in life where we don’t need more stuff sitting around our houses? What if you asked (well, maybe told) your family and friends that you are not buying presents this year but will donate to a charity and ask each of your family members pick a charity?  Donations are always needed by charities struggling to fund programs.

Caregiving Family Holidays

I attended a family wedding this weekend and had the pleasure of seeing my brother, sisters, nephew, niece, cousins and other extended family and friends. We shared memories of growing up as children with our parents and grandparents who have all passed away probably much like our parents and grandparents did when they got together. We complained about the loud music at the wedding dance, probably also a lot like our parents did when they had to listen to our music. How funny that life repeats itself generation after generation.

What can we do during the holidays to ensure that these memories and stories pass from generation to generation?

  • How about sorting through all those old photos and marking them with the names of the persons in the photos before they end up in some box or on a computer disk after the death of a loved one whose memories hold the names of the individuals in the photos?
  • How about asking grandma for that favorite recipe? One of my regrets is not asking grandma for her coffee cake recipe. I don’t know how she made it but it was one of my favorites. At the time I was too young to even think to ask for the recipe.
  • How about contacting a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in some time? I woke up yesterday remembering the birthday of a friend and I sent an email and received a nice response.
  • How about talking about caregiving in the perspective of, if this happens what would you want?
  • How about sharing life’s lessons? I remember grandma as being an especially gracious person. Each time we visited her as we were leaving, she would say, “thank you for coming to see me.” How often do we receive that type of thank you? Probably not often enough.

Caregiving, family, and the holidays. Let’s find a way to make all three a little happier, more joyful, and a little less stressful this year.

Read about The Realities of Family Caregiving


About Pamela Wilson

PAMELA D. WILSON, MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA helps caregivers and aging adults solve caregiving problems and manage caregiving needs through online programs, live support groups, and an extensive caregiving library that includes articles, podcasts, videos, and webinars.

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