Hopeful Holidays

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Free spirited fun cheerfully ignores the template

Cultivating Creativity

My dear grandchildren have been with me quite a lot lately and I’ve been delighting in noticing how they are changing as they begin to grow up. Quite literally, as they both grew a lot taller over the summer, reminding me how quickly childhood streams away. It’s clear that the youngsters of today experience the world through very different lenses than I did. Even kids like mine who have very limited screen time and are not saturated in pop culture have a far better grip on the use of technological devices than I do. Their matter of fact proficiency shows me that they already take instant access to information totally for granted, something I would have been ecstatic about myself, as I was curious about so much that I noticed and read about and always wanted to find out more. The library was my absolute favorite place to spend time, though not all answers could be found even there. I loved wandering through the stacks, which seemed endless, towering floor to ceiling on three huge floors and packed with what seemed like millions of books.

That magnificent Carnegie library was and still is a treasure, and when I moved to the island, I was delighted to find similar stacks at the local library, if on a less grandiose basis. Today, however, our regional library system seems intent on getting rid of books altogether in favor of ebooks and audiobooks. While both have their place, it’s heartening to watch my grandchildren curl up with an actual book and lose themselves in a story. Interestingly, they often prefer older books where the character descriptions are limited and any illustrations leave a lot to the imagination. That way, the reader can dream into the story and characters and decide for themselves what people and places and things looked like. I myself prefer this style, and when my kiddos make up stories for their endless games, the plots are always imaginative and the sagas are full of intriguing characters and incidents that can change in a blink if the story needs a twist to make it more exciting.

Creative Holidays

That same free spirited approach is enlivening our holiday making as well. When presented with handy pre-made kits for making gingerbread houses, the children responded gleefully without the slightest regard for any intentions the makers had. They totally ignored the illustrated guide to icing and candy placement and instead created lively stories about the house inhabitants, which included Moss People and Shrub People, Frog People and Slug People, as well as mysterious Purple Blob People who then became food coloring-infused magical potions instead. The houses were soon dripping with these potions and surrounded with luxuriant gardens full of living plants and tiny magical critters. Extra pieces intended for roof dormers became tents put up beside a pond which supported magical lily pads for the Frog People.

I love their insouciance in regard to artistic rules, carefully nurtured by their parents. Their amazing mother is an artist who has supported their creativity in every way, from costuming and cookery to painting, sculpting and general Making. It’s been my privilege to build on that base, from knitting, sewing, and baking whatever their games required to suppling whatever additional materials are needed to incorporate treasures brought home from nature rambles into beautiful assemblages, often for gifts. Budgets are tight this year, so this weekend they spent a whole day making holiday gifts for their large extended family with hardly a break. They painted and drew, crafted with clay and assembled marvelously scented blends of dried petals we gathered all summer from roses and calendulas, lavender and chamomile. They made pot pourri and tea sachets and bath salts, then added essential oils to avocado oil and filled tiny bottles with oil made fragrant with attar of roses, orange oil and lavender essence. My kitchen still smells amazing, probably because the table absorbed a certain amount of the oil.

Gifts Of Creativity

The kids went home with a boxful of cinnamon rolls as well as their carefully wrapped gifts. I was left to revel in my own gift, a stained shirt that I hoped some fabric markers might hide. Instead of making a little flower as I suggested, my granddaughter transformed the plain shirt into an exploration of the galaxy, complete with a wrap-around Milky Way. Stars and moons and planets mingle cheerfully with all sorts of floating astronaut creatures, from a flying fish with a helmet full of water to a space bunny and much more. How much richer is her vision than mine, and how grateful I am for the opportunity to watch creativity bloom in another generation. Onward indeed!


This entry was posted in Care & Feeding, Cooking With Kids, Crafting With Children, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Teaching Gardening and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Hopeful Holidays

  1. Paula says:

    Wonderful! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  2. Beth Balas says:

    love this!! sparkly bunch!

  3. Deirdre Mowat says:

    I loved this blog – inspiring words for a newish grandmother. My mother encouraged creativity in her daughters, and I hope I can carry on the legacy.

    • Ann Lovejoy says:

      Deirdre, I’m sure you can carry in that legacy and make it your own! Helping children develop resilience and flexibility seems especially important these days

  4. Diane Louise Hooper says:

    Very fun weekend with your grandkids Ann!!😁
    I can picture it all and almost smell the lovely scents of the oils!
    How old are your grandkids? Enjoy them, they grow oh so quickly!
    Cheers and Best Wishes for season and new year❣️


    Oh, I think you are marvelous, as ar your grandchildren. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *