Connecting Through Creativity #1: Building a Tradition

Connecting Through Creativity #1: Building a Tradition

By Barbara K. Stump, MA

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you seeing family, or having a Friendsgiving? Are you Team YES or Team NO for building a holiday tradition with your family and friends? Hopefully, I can convince you to be part of Team YES! Holidays can be the perfect time to connect with the special people in our lives, and by doing a creative activity together it can help to keep things running smoothly.  I totally understand that spending time with family members may sometimes be stressful, but having an activity planned can help to relieve the tension of “what are we going to do there, or what are we going to say to so-and-so?” Possibly, it might be a chance to see this person in another light. Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Founder-Director and Senior Psychiatrist, Manasthali says,“Carving out time for our loved ones is not just a matter of bonding; it has a profound impact on our overall well-being.” The activity could be easy-such as a simple craft, or more meaningful by honoring someone everyone loves and misses. I have two ideas to share with you—one from my mom and another from a dear friend. 

My mom was a rockstar planner, and also an educator. So, whether we were at home for Thanksgiving, or on the road, she always found a way to keep us engaged in an activity. The Candy Wreath project is a family favorite, because of the ease in making one, and it occasionally included candy sampling. Candy Wreaths can be given as gifts of appreciation and thanks to a wonderful neighbor, and friends. If you have a family member living in an assisted living home, this is something unexpected they can enjoy during the holidays and share with caregivers and visitors. The Candy Wreaths are also great for college students to take back to their dorm rooms and share with their roommates while studying for exams. 

Candy Wreath’s Supply List:

  1. Wire Coat Hangers-stretched into a circle shape
  2. Assorted Candies that come in tied wrappers- 4 to 5 bags
  3. Curling Ribbon- any colors you like
  4. Scissors
  5. Large Ribbon and Floral Wire to make bows – any colors you like
  6. Measuring tape or ruler

Steps for making Candy Wreaths: 

  1. Measure and cut curling ribbon 6” – cut several, and cut more as needed
  2. Place the end of the wrapped candy in the center of the piece of curling ribbon.
  3. Tie ribbon around the neck of one end of the wrapping,  and knot it twice
  4. Then tie the candy to the wire hanger
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until the entire wire is filled with candy
  6. Make a bow with the large ribbon, and using the floral wire tie it to the base of the hook on the hanger
  7. Using the scissor, you may choose to curl the curling ribbon going around the circle for a more unified look. It’s up to you!
Steps 1, 2, & 3
Step 4
Step 5
Steps 6 & 7

Spending time together as a family has a short expiration date. I think my mom was well aware of this. So, on those special holiday occasions when everyone is present, try to keep them in the present! Practice those communication skills. Actively listening to others’ thoughts and ideas helps to develop empathy and support for each other. As Barbara Bush justly stated, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” 

How do we carve away time? Holidays can be the perfect time to connect with family members by doing a creative activity together. The Candy Wreath idea may be a helpful start, or perhaps you have another idea in mind. I’ll leave you with one more idea from my dear friend, Kim. She makes these beautiful grave blankets and with her family to honor their parents. During Thanksgiving weekend, they place these on their loved ones’ gravesites. These evergreen grave blankets stay there until the end of winter. This is comforting for her family to do together, and in her words, “It makes my heart happy to celebrate my Dad.” 

Since Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, I imagine you are firming up plans for the family gathering. Try including a creative, group project for all who wish to participate. Possibly, it might be the golden ticket for building communication rather than tension, harmony rather than discord, and fun rather than friction. It could even be the beginning of a new family tradition!

Barbara K. Stump is an art education consultant and a G3 contributing writer.