“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” If you aren’t being bombarded with this phrase in every song that plays on the radio, you are sure to read it on a card or watch this plot play out in a movie playing on TV. While the holidays have earned that reputation, it doesn’t always ring true for everyone. What seems to be a time full of eggnog, joy & cheer can also be a time of heartache, mourning and loss. So how does one not only survive, but thrive through the holiday season when you are grappling with so many other things? We talked to our WallCutz Community on how they do it and wanted to share some ideas with you all.
1. Remember the good times
Timothy Piepenbrok, one of our wonderful crafters, shared his experience about remembering the good times. “My younger brother was born on Christmas Eve. We were 18 months apart. He passed away in his sleep 3 years ago. My parents are both gone also…I just reflect on all the fun times we had during the Holidays growing up. The food, the gifts, the family all getting together. I don't dwell on the loss that much. Happy times keep me going.”
While the holidays may bring up longing for the past, it is okay to reminisce and remember the good times. Whether it is creating a craft to remember those who have past on or carrying on traditions that you used to do with them, there are so many special ways to remember the people you love. Here is one of our favorite memorial stencils that can help you to honor and remember those who might not be with us anymore.
2. Don’t be afraid to cry
One thing we have found is happiness is not a mutually exclusive feeling. You can feel joy, and still experience sorrow. You can feel hope and still have times of despair. Even though holidays are expected to be happy, you have to remind yourself that it is okay to not be okay. Take the time you need to cry- whether they are tears of joy, excitement or sorrow.
Michelle Turner Elder, another wonderful WallCutz customer, shared “Christmas Eve 2015, I sat with my grandmother in the nursing home so when she woke up Christmas morning, she wasn’t alone. Unknown to us, she passed away at 5am on Christmas morning. The happiest time of year certainly means more. You learn to deal with the grief and sadness and look for the reasons to be happy and smile. You choke down the feelings and swallow your pride and cry when you need to and love a little harder on the ones that are hear (all year not just at Christmas).”
3. Make new memories
To many, the holidays mean traditions. Whether it is decorations you put out each year or caroling to the same neighbors since you were a child, there are things that have been passed down for more years than we can count. While we love traditions and remembering years passed, sometimes what you need to embrace change is to create new memories.
People forget that you can mix old with new, keeping up old traditions while starting new ones! Michelle Lisonbee, a WallCutz pro, shared an experience her family had.
“My oldest sister was fighting breast cancer and towards the last month, she had stayed in and out of the hospital. She was able to come home for Christmas. Of course, we didn’t plan or cook any Christmas meal. Instead, I cooked spaghetti for about a dozen people. My sis made it sound like it was the best Christmas dinner ever! I will never forget that and I relive that moment with her every time we have spaghetti. (I used three kinds of meat and three kinds of sauce so it’s quite the mix).”
You would never picture spaghetti being a Christmas Feast, but this new tradition meant the world to this family. New traditions mean new memories, and can help heal your heart in unique ways.
4. Look outward
Christmas is a time of giving. It can be easy to get caught up in our own problems and trials, but the best way to help yourself is to help others!
A heartfelt story shared by our own crafter, Patricia Pung, shared their experience of how they dealt with loss and looked outward. “My son and his wife lost twins in October 2019 due to what’s called twin to twin infusion when they were 7 months. We were able to see and hold them, but our hearts were totally broken. That first Christmas we were not sure if we should remember them in some way or if that would be too painful. We decided to embrace the fact we had them even if it wasn’t forever. So, every year we buy them a Christmas ornament and make a donation in their name so hopefully this won’t happen to someone else. My son said he was so grateful we hadn’t forgotten his boys. We now have a beautiful baby girl! I think God knew we needed her.”
There are so many ways that you can serve those around you. You can invite over a lonely neighbor to join your holiday dinner, or drop off a craft that you made especially for them. Even a smile, wave or kind word goes a long way. Remember that everyone is carrying their own burdens this holiday season and we can never know what they are going through. Serving those around will help you lose track of the things that are weighing you down, slowly but surely.
This love stencil is the perfect gift to brighten someone’s day and remind them how loved they are, just as our wonderful customer Allie Kailey did!
5. Craft it Out
It is no secret that we love crafts! But aside from the obvious fun that this hobby can bring, there is much more that a person gains from crafting. In times of grief or heartache, crafting can be a way of coping and healing.
Nancy Nelson, another WallCutz favorite, shared her experience after losing her husband a few years ago. “I lost my husband in 2019. We had 40 years. So it's not the same. My son lives in San Francisco area and I live in Utah so we have little time to see each other. I don't dwell on the losses but it's it does get a little lonely. I keep myself busy with the crafts.” We hope that like Nancy, many others can find solace within the crafting world. Crafting brings joy and healing, and is a much needed outlet for so many.
Here we have one of our newer stencils, “Hello Winter,” that WallCutz customer Vicky Sweat made and dropped off for her girlfriend to brighten her day.
As we enter this Holiday season, we hope that each of you finds ways to deal with the different circumstances of your life. Whether you are spending the holidays with family or alone, we hope you feel loved. Whether you are surrounded by loved ones or feeling the loss of those closet to you, we hope that you can find peace and remember them in your own special ways.
Remember that to feel all that you need to and find your own ways to navigate these times and do whatever is best for you. There is no guide on how to deal with your individual experiences, so be patient with yourself.
And from us here at WallCutz to each of you, we love you and wish you the Happiest Holidays!