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Archive | Hometown Holidays

How to help a grieving child during the holidays

HOL-Supporting-children

Advice for caregivers and parents 

The holidays can be a magical time of year, but for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or another significant person in their lives, the holiday season can be tough. It also poses challenges for still-grieving family members and caregivers around them.

“The holiday season can be particularly difficult for families, because children carry their own expectations about the holidays, as well as their own grief over the death,” said Bonnie Carroll, military widow and founder of the nonprofit organization Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). “The holidays can be full of bittersweet moments. They can also be an opportunity to honor and remember the person who died and the legacy that special person left for a child.”

Since its founding in 1994 by bereaved military families, TAPS has offered comfort and care to more than 50,000 people grieving the death of someone who served in the military and their caregivers, and is a recognized expert in child bereavement. TAPS Good Grief Camps are attended by thousands of children and teens annually. TAPS offers the following tips to help families supporting a bereaved child over the holidays:

Talk with your child about the holiday season. Anticipating the holiday, especially if it’s the first holiday without a family member, can be worse than the actual holiday. Talk with your child about their feelings and expectations for the holiday season. Discuss the activities your child would like to participate in or attend.

Even if your child does not talk frequently about the death, do not expect for your child to be “over it.” Children grieve on their own time frame and differently from adults. Significant milestones, such as the first holiday after the loss, may cause the child’s feelings about the loss to re-surface, even if the child has not talked about the death for a while.

Make holiday plans that help your child feel nurtured, emotionally safe, and comfortable. Review your plans for the holidays with your child. Spend the holidays where you and your child feel supported, nurtured and comfortable.

Encourage your child to attend holiday functions. Consider attending holiday parties and activities, especially if you and your child will be able to spend time with supportive family members and friends. Make an escape plan in case the event is more than you or your child can handle and trust your hosts to understand if you need to slip out.

Laughter, play and joy are good for your child. Children do not grieve continuously and they need to take breaks from grieving. Encourage your child to play, run and do recreational activities he or she would normally do. Clowning around and laughing (which releases endorphins into the brain) are healthy and normal for children.

Be observant about your child’s emotions. Realize that familiar traditions, sights, smells and tastes, may be comforting, or may jolt emotions. Watch how your child responds to events and be ready to be supportive and comfort your child.

Comfort items that remind the child of the loved one who died may help. Allowing your child to sleep in a favorite shirt that belonged to the person who died may offer comfort. Letting your child carry a special item that reminds him or her of the person who died may help the child feel connected. Placing a photograph of the child with the person who died or from a holiday celebration in a special place, may help.

Pay attention to your child’s health. It’s often difficult for adults and children alike who have experienced a recent death to sleep. Make sure your child gets regular rest, eats well and drink lots of water. Holiday treats are ok, but in moderation. Bed wetting, acting out and nightmares may be signs of struggling. Talk with your medical care provider if you become concerned about your child’s health.

Do not pretend your family has not experienced a loss. Let your child know that you also miss the person who died. Tell your child that you don’t like that things cannot be exactly like they were before the person died, and that you love your child. Children may need to hear this in order to feel it is permissible to discuss their own feelings.

Find sustenance for the soul. Your church, synagogue, mosque, or another faith community may offer services, resources and support networks to help you and your child through the holiday season.

Talk with your child about holiday traditions and how they will be observed this year. Some children insist that holiday customs remain exactly the same each year. Discuss with your child why he or she wants to hold onto a particular tradition or custom. Do not feel that you must do something because you have always done it that way, but consider your child’s feelings when making a change. Talk with your child about any changes before they occur.

Stick to daily routines when possible. The holidays tend to cause a lot of upheaval in schedules and routines. The friends your child plays with may go out of town. The daily schedule your child is accustomed to may change when schools close for the holidays. Try to keep your child on a regular bedtime routine and talk with your child about any changes.

Allow your child to remember a lost loved one through a tribute. Light a candle together at dinner time to remember the person who died. Hang an ornament on the tree that reminds the child of the loved one who died. Help your child offer a blessing at a holiday meal that honors the person who died. Create a picture or collage with your child, display a favorite photograph in your home, or let your child help you set a place at the dinner table to represent the loved one who died.

Help your child write a letter to the person who died that honors the legacy that person gave the child. Help your child write a letter to the person they love who died thanking him or her for the gifts the person gave to the child, the special things they would do together and expressing how the child feels about the person. Some children may want to mail their letter to the person, take the letter to the cemetery or “send it to heaven” on a helium-filled balloon.

Honor the lost loved one through a gift. Encourage your child to draw pictures or create gifts for others that are inspired by the memories of the person who died. Help your child make a donation to a charity or cause the loved one cared about. Consider volunteering as a family at the charity.

Use family connections to help your child. Connections with other family members can help your child feel comforted, loved and safe. These family connections can also help you as a parent or caregiver cope with the holidays. Encourage your child to build ties with other family members, but you may need to remain nearby to reassure your child with your presence.

For more tips on dealing with grief during the holidays, go to the TAPS website at www.taps.org and look for our holiday survival guide. 

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes and has offered support to more than 50,000 surviving family members of our fallen military and their caregivers since 1994.

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Holiday Happenings

Check out some of the fun, family activities going on around the area for the holidays. Start a new tradition!

 

HOL-Tree-lighting1-SantaCEDAR SPRINGS

2014 Cedar Springs Christmas – Come Mingle with Kris Kringle

Dec. 6: Celebrate the kick off to the Christmas season with “Come Mingle with Kris Kringle,” presented by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Looking for something sweet? Pick up some awesome baked goods at the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion Bake Sale at Alpha omega Coffee and Games.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Make an ornament at the Cedar Springs Library, 43 W. Cherry Street, and take it with you to decorate the tree at 1 p.m. (see below).

1:00-2:00 p.m. Decorate the town Christmas Tree with the Cedar Springs Cheerleaders at the corner of Main and Ash Street.

1:00-3:00 p.m. Feets and Seats and Personal Care For North Kent Community Services by the Christmas Tree. Bring your new and unused socks, undergarments, and personal care items, for people in need in the community.

1:00-3:00 p.m. Free Hot Chocolate at the corner of Ash and Main Street provided by ReMax.

2:00-3:00 p.m. Story time with Mrs. Claus at Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more.

3:00-4:00 p.m. Christmas Puzzle Time with Santa’s Elves at Alpha Omega Coffee and Games.

4:00 p.m. Double K Farms & Animal Junction 4H Club  Petting Zoo & Bake Sale at corner of Main and Ash Street, while waiting for Santa.

4:00 p.m. Parade Line Up corner of Second and Maple Street.

4:30 p.m. Christmas Parade brings Santa from Second and Maple to corner of Ash and Main St.

HOL-Tree-lighting2-Tree4:45 p.m. Christmas Tree Lighting and Caroling, corner of Main and Ash St.

5:00 p.m. Live Nativity Scene, then Mingle with Kris Kringle. Tell him what you want for Christmas! The CS Cheerleaders will be handing out candy canes.

5:00-7:00pm Candlelight Tour at the CS Historical Museum at Morley Park. Inside the museum there is an antique sleigh set up in front of a wintery scene backdrop. Families are welcome to take pictures of their children in the old sleigh.

A Christmas night of worship

Dec. 7: Coffee, Candles, Carols, and Praise. Solon Center Wesleyan Church presents “A Christmas night of worship,” on Sunday evening, December 7, at 6 p.m. World-class desserts and coffee will be served during the concert. The church is located on Algoma Avenue, just north of 19 Mile Road. Join us for a great night of celebrating Christmas. All are welcome! www.scwchurch.org.

Edible Christmas Tree Decorating at the library

Dec. 13: Make an ordinary ice cream cone magically turn into a fabulous Christmas tree at the Cedar Springs Public Library! RSVP for sessions starting at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Great for kids ages preschool and up. RSVP by calling 616-696-1910 or stop by and sign up at 43 W. Cherry Street during open hours.

2014 Kent Theatre Christmas Concert

Dec. 13: The 2014 Annual Kent Theatre Christmas Concert hosted by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (CSACOC) is scheduled for December 13th from 3pm to 5pm. Come out an have some holiday family fun! Admission tickets are $3 per person.

2014 Kent Theatre Dance Extravaganza

Dec. 14: The 2014 Annual Kent Theatre Christmas Dance Extravaganza hosted by the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (CSACOC) is scheduled for December 14th from 3pm to 5pm. Come out an have some holiday family fun! Admission tickets are $3 per person!

 

GREENVILLE

2014 Christmas block party and parade

Dec. 5: Come join the fun in downtown Greenville on December 5th! The Block party will take place from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Get your picture taken with Santa, then watch while Santa magically lights the Christmas Tree at 5:45 p.m. The parade will start at 6:00 p.m. on Lafayette Street. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun!

Classic Movie Series at Flat River Library

Dec. 8: See a holiday classic at the Flat River Library suitable for the whole family. Popcorn will be provided. 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. www.flatriverlibrary.org.

Extreme Duct Tape: Holiday Edition

Dec. 9: Teens Only! Get into the holiday spirit at the Flat River Library by making your own duct tape ornament or gift. We will provide all the materials, or you can bring your own duct tape for a custom look. Either way, we look forward to crafting with you! 4-5 p.m. www.flatriverlibrary.org/events/

Make-A-Gift

Dec. 13: Get into the holiday spirit at the Flat River Librar by making your own duct tape ornament or gift. We will provide all the materials, or you can bring your own duct tape for a custom look. Either way, we look forward to crafting with you! For all ages, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

HOWARD CITY

Homes for the Holiday Tour

Dec. 6: The Friends of the Timothy C. Hauenstein Reynolds Township Library is holding their Homes for the Holiday Tour on December 6, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Advance tickets may be purchased at the Library or at Kindel & Company. Advance tickets are $10, on the day of the event $12. Ticket price includes refreshments at the library after 2 p.m. Follow the Snowflake Signs. Homes on the tour are; Jerry and Brenda Gartszke, Poisson Family, Susan Sunden, Brenda Tumosa and Jessie Vogel and Bob Visser.

 

Howard Christensen Nature Center

Holiday Make & Take

Dec. 6: You will not want your kids to miss this one! Bring your child to Howard Christenesen Nature Center on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., where they will make unique gifts and wrap them up with the assistance of our volunteer team. Voila! Your children’s holiday shopping is done. This event is most appropriate for K-5th graders. A cherished gift from your child’s heart, what could be better! Donation $6 per child. The nature center is located at 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City, Michigan, 49330.

Learn to Snowshoe

Dec. 21: You and your loved ones can enjoy snowshoeing together on our scenic trails with a snowshoe guide from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Build a team and join the festive fun, snow permitting (about 6 inches of snow for snowshoeing). This would be a great opportunity for a “date” day! Donation $5.00/person – snowshoes included or bring your own. Hot chocolate will be served in our gorgeous Interpretive Center after our hike. The nature center is located at 16190 Red Pine Drive, Kent City, Michigan, 49330.

 

ROCKFORD

Discover a Rockford Christmas

Take a step back in time and capture the magic of the holidays with these special events!

Dec. 5: Holiday Lighting Ceremony at Peppler Park, Friday, Dec. 5 at 6:00 p.m.

Dec. 6: Santa Parade, Downtown Rockford, Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11:00 a.m. Visit Santa in Rotary Pavilion immediately after parade.

Dec. 6: Carriage Rides (FREE) by Classic Carriages, LLC, Saturday, Dec. 6, from noon to 2:00 p.m.

Dec. 10: Santa Visits & Free Cocoa at the Rotary Pavilion, Wednesday, Dec. 10 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Dec. 11-12: Carriage Rides (FREE) by Classic Carriages, LLC, sponsored by Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 11-12, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Load in front of Custard by the Dam.

Dec. 17: Santa Visits, Free Cocoa, and live reindeer at the Rotary Pavilion, Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Dec. 18-19: Carriage Rides (FREE) by Classic Carriages, LLC, sponsored by Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 18-19, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Load in front of Custard by the Dam.

 

SAND LAKE

Sand Lake Christmas 2014

Experience a Sand Lake Christmas, sponsored by the Sand Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Nov. 30: Tree Lighting  & Concert 6:30 p.m. by Resurrection Lutheran Preschool

Dec. 6: Craft Sale 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

Dec. 12: Bake Sale SLUMW 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at Independent Bank

Dec. 13: Kick off of 12 Days of Christmas 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m.-Noon Santa at the Library

10:00 am-2:00 p.m. Vintage Snowmobile Show

10:00 am-4:00 pm Quilt Show and Raffle at United Methodist Hall.

10:00 am-1:00 p.m. Kids Activities at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

1:00-3:00 p.m. Kids activities at Mary Queen of Apostles Hall.

11:00am-2:00 p.m. Soup Luncheon at United Methodist Hall.

11:30 am-1:00 p.m. Community Caroling.

3:00 p.m. Out House Races

Christmas Cookie Contest

Dec. 13: Bring at least one dozen cookies and your recipe to the Sand Lake United Methodist Church between 8:30-9:30 a.m. Judging begins at 10 a.m. A $25 award will be given in each category: drop cookies, bars (cut squares), and rolled (cookie cutters). An additional $25 will be awarded for overall best cookie. Entries will be judged on first impression, taste and quality. Homemade only, no boxed mixes. May enter multiple recipes. A separate entry form must be filled out for each one. Winners will be announced at noon at the church hall. All extra cookies will be sold at the soup luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sand Lake Village Churches Progressive Advent Activities

Dec. 5: Indoor Live Nativity 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Sand Lake United Methodist Church Hall.

Dec. 6: Indoor Live Nativity 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Sand Lake United Methodist Church Hall.

Dec. 14: “Journey to Bethlehem” 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Mary Queen of Apostle Catholic Church Hall.

Dec. 21: Christmas Program 11:00 a.m. at Church of the Full Gospel.

Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Service 7:00 p.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

 

SPARTA

‘Tis the season! Sparta holiday calendar events brought to you by the Sparta Area Chamber and Sparta DDA.

Nov. 27: Turkey Trot in Sparta, Thursday, Nov. 27, 9 a.m. Race begins at Sparta Civic Center, 75 N. Union. $15 plus two canned food items. Registration forms at spartachamber.com.

Nov. 29: Ugly Sweater 5K Run, 9:30 a.m. Starts/finishes: Mamrelund Lutheran Church, 4085 Lutheran Church Rd., Kent City. Proceeds support local food pantries. Visit Facebook: The Ugly Christmas Sweater 5K run/walk.

Dec. 2: Santa Workshop 5-8 pm at Maddie LaRoues, 126 E. Division. Hosted by Independent Bank. Free photos with Santa, activities, & more!

Dec. 9: Gingerbread House Decorating Party, 6-8 p.m. at Sparta Township Library, 80 N. Union. For all ages! Houses & decorating items will be supplied.

Dec. 13: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 9-11 a.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free! Bring your own camera!

Dec. 18: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 5-7:30 p.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

Dec. 20 Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 9-noon, 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

Dec. 21: Sparta Nazarene Christmas Candlelight Service, 10:30 a.m. at Sparta Church of the Nazarene, 665 13 Mile Road.

Dec. 21-24: Ballard Church of Christ, 1633 10 Mile Road, presents “The Living Nativity,” from 7-8 p.m.

Dec. 22: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

Dec. 23: Visit Santa Claus in the Santa House, 11-1 and 5-7 p.m., 94 N. Union St. Behind Sparta Library. Free. Bring your own camera.

 

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Christmas Coloring Contest Winners

Winner for  Age Group 3-4 yrs: Paige Metzger age 4 of Cedar Springs

Winner for
Age Group 3-4 yrs:
Paige Metzger
age 4
of Cedar Springs

Winner for  Age Group 5-7 yrs: Grace Olivia Ader age 7 of Sand Lake
Winner for
Age Group 5-7 yrs:
Grace Olivia Ader
age 7
of Sand Lake

Winner for  Age Group 8-10 yrs: Ariana Watkins age 9 of Cedar Springs

Winner for
Age Group 8-10 yrs:
Ariana Watkins
age 9
of Cedar Springs

 

 

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Merry Christmas from The POST

ILoveThePOST-Christmas

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Santa spotted in Sand Lake

N-Santa-Sand-Lake-Rostic-webOlivia Rostic 2, was all smiles with Santa at the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library last Saturday, December 14. Olivia had a lot to share with Santa and told him all about what she wanted for Christmas. To see more Santa photos click here.

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Kids enjoy Sand Lake fun

N-Sand-Lake-festivities-web

Berkley, age 3, and Sullivan Armstrong, 8 months, are shown enjoying the festivities at the Sand Lake VFW Friday night, December 13. They reportedly loved the bounce house, hot wheels track and decorating star cupcakes with their grandma and grandpa Ruth and Donald Armstrong.

 

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Gingerbread houses a hit

N-Gingerbread-webFamilies flocked to the Cedar Springs Public Library last Saturday, December 14, to join in the fun tradition of making gingerbread houses for Christmas.

According Library Director Donna Clark, 107 people came to the library, with 28 children decorating the houses with either parents or grandparents.

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Santa visits Cedar Springs and Sand Lake

Santa heard lots of wishes from boys and girls last  weekend when he visited at both Family Fare in Cedar Springs and the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library.  If you missed him, you can see him at Classic Kelly’s Restaurant on Main Street on Sunday, December 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

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Tour of Lights

There’s nothing like the warm glow of Christmas lights this time of year to give you a good dose of Christmas cheer! Pack up the kids, go for a ride, and enjoy the decorations your friends and neighbors have put up this year. We’re sure you’ll find a few other treasures along the way!

427 Northland Drive, near the corner of South Street and Northland. See the 90-foot evergreen Christmas tree at the Reep family home.

65 E. Muskegon, corner of First and Muskegon Streets. The home of Larry and Audrey Young is a classic home decorated with style.

Downtown Cedar Springs is aglow with lights and decorations on the lampposts and the town Christmas tree is at the corner of Main and Ash.

2207 15 Mile Rd, one block west of Algoma Ave. Nolan Patin, 12, set up a Christmas display to music. Tune your radio to 95.1, and don’t forget to make a donation to him to support the Cedar Springs Historical Museum.

830 19 Mile Rd, Burt and Wanda Drent. Go west on 17 Mile to Algoma, then two miles to 19 Mile, and 2 Miles on 19 Mile to home.

The corner of Beech and Maple Streets in Sand Lake. The display of Bob and Tracey Fitzgerald lights up the whole town! The kids will love it.

The Prairie Run and Pines subdivisions off Pine Street, and the subdivision just off 18 Mile, east of Main Street, all have some great lights.

White’s Winter Wonderland, 14181 Macclain Street, Gowen, has a musical light show you’ll be sure to enjoy.

 

 

 

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Baby’s First Christmas

Babys1stChristmas

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