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Making Memories During The Holidays

Christmas is a time that celebrates joy, love, and spending lots of family time together.

For families where a parent has an incurable cancer, Christmas can be a time to make everlasting memories. Underneath this, however, can be worries and fears you all might have, but afraid to share with each other for dread of ‘ruining Christmas’ by making each other upset or sad. Children might not want to ask about what is happening in case Santa doesn’t come, or they might be brushed aside.

What we know is, whatever time of year, whatever celebration is going on, children of all ages will pick up on subtle changes at home and with their loved one’s health. They are likely to already be worried, sad, angry, or scared. When they don’t know the facts of what is happening with their parent, or what might happen in the future, they create their own story which might be far from the truth and very scary.

When children and young people are kept informed, as appropriate for their age and understanding, they tell us they can be involved with making the most of the time they have left with their parent. They can help in the ways they want to and be able to share with friends what is happening, so they feel less alone.

So, this Christmas, make the most of this time together by making your wonderful memories. Please also consider making some time to have a conversation with your children about your health and any worries they might be having, it may just be the most meaningful gift you can give.

Kate WellsFamily Support Service Lead

Family Festive Bake Off

Choose a favourite family festive treat, share the recipe with as many people who wish to join in. They could be anywhere in the world if you want to make this online! Two judges from the family (or they could be neutral people like a neighbour) who can be fair, but won’t give out too many handshakes…

Over the week, get everybody to bake the recipe and share their results via picture message, video, or bring it round to your house for an in-person judging. The judges must choose their Star Baker, and importantly, everyone must share and enjoy the food!

Family Decoration Making

This may get messy, but it is fun! *see our Instagram post for instructions* and suggest they add in the date and their initials.

Celebrate your traditions

Every family has their own rituals and traditions around this time. It might be when you open your presents, a new tradition someone has brought to the family, a new food or cultural celebration. Have a think about what traditions are special to you and celebrate them this year. What traditions did you grow up with? Write them down in a book, or start a family-only Instagram account where everyone can keep adding to them for generations to come. Take loads of pictures and videos, especially of present wrapping and unwrapping.

This family has talent…

Not into baking or cooking? Put the festive playlist on and record a family singalong to your favourite tunes. For the more outgoing, you might like to hold a Christmas themed Talent Show where everyone is a winner. Or attempt the latest TikTok holiday dance if you have the courage! There is always karaoke, but you may not want that on the record…

The next Tilly Ramsey? Jamie Oliver?

Do you have the knack of making the gravy in a special way that no one else knows how? Or the roast potatoes? The trifle? Give them the biggest gift this Christmas by recording the recipe in a fun way they will never forget by recording yourself making the recipe as if you were a TV chef. Put some music on and have fun with it! If it isn’t your style, get everyone involved and you hold the camera, giving the instructions while they make it.

Family Photos Revisited

Pull out those old family photos of Christmases gone by, even ones from when you were a child and get everybody to recreate them in as much, hilarious, detail as possible.