REAL LITTLE Holiday Activities
~ making the holidays easier for DID kids ~
This article is a follow up to the Real Little Holiday Season — Made especially for Dissociative Kids which is currently posted in the new Real Little section on the Discussing Dissociation home page. Do you see it there?
TRibe has created most of these ideas written below, but of course, I’ve added a few things in here and there. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell which parts are my writing, and which sections are TRibe’s writing!
Here are some ideas TRibe has had for making it easier to feel All The Things at this time of year.
TRibe is going to be doing these. We’d love to hear about things you try out! If you do any of these activities, please let me know! Comment below or send me an email. It would be good to hear how your little manage All The Things as well!
1. Make a Feelings Tree
Well, it doesn’t have to be a tree. We made an upside-down ice cream cone out of a roll of garden wire we had. It’s almost as tall as we are! Then we spray-painted it neon pink (and half the shed too, so watch out for that!). You can make anything you like and you can make it out of things you already have at home. The point is to be able to hang ornaments on it.
We’re going to make ornaments for all our feelings. We’re going to have a craft extravaganza to help with our feelings! Whoever is feeling sad can make an ornament that shows their own kind of Sad. They can pour their feelings into the ornament, giving it special details — like shape and color and size and texture — so we can really understand what their feeling is like. And then they can hang it on the Feelings Cone. Which is them and us saying that it’s okay they’re feeling sad, and that we all still want them to be close to us over the holidays.
Then, anyone can else who wants to can do the same thing for their feelings. And if more than one person, or group, is feeling Sad, but their Sad is different to the first person’s, then they can make their own. And then we can understand better from their ornament how and why their Sad is shaped and coloured the way it is. See? And you can do the same for different types of happy, or angry, or whatever feelings your people are having!
We would love to see pictures of anything you do like this. Wouldn’t that be cool to all share our feelings by sending in pictures of our Feelings Trees/Cones/Magnificent Other Creations?! You can send them in to the DD blog, at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you email your pictures of your Feeling Trees to Kathy, she can post them in a later article!
You can do so many different versions of this. You could make little cards for the feelings and thumbtack them to a wall. You could decorate them with paint or sparkles or pictures you cut out of magazines. Or you could make a whacky statue out of old wire clothes hangers and hang the cards on that. Or you could collect things from outside that show your feelings — like dry leaves or stones — and put them in little jars and line them up along a windowsill or fireplace.
But always check with your grown-ups first. Like we maybe should have done about how to use spray paint without getting it all over everything behind it (thank goodness the car was parked somewhere else that day!).
2. Choosing Special Foods
The holidays is so much about food and eating, because celebrations always have lots of food and eating. We have so many different ideas about what is yummy and festive and special with all our people. It’s definitely one of the things that can get all loud and pressure-y at this time of year, trying to decide what special foods to make and when, when there’s only one body between us to actually eat it all!
But for us, it’s still really super-important to have some foods that are meaningful to our people at this time of year. So we kind of go for categories, and then just pick one thing from the category. Then we pour heaps of thought and effort into the one thing from each category, and that way it gets all filled up with love and meaning. Then we make sure the right group of people are around when it’s time to eat that special food, so they get the front seat experience for the thing that means the most to them.
Want to know some of our categories?
We have one that is about where one side of our family originally came from. We have lots of beautiful memories about the food our grandmother used to make, and some people really miss that. So, we make a meal that uses ingredients and flavors that are special to her country and culture, and that makes some of our people feel — well, they feel lots of things. They feel heard and seen by the rest of us, so that’s warm in their heart, but they also feel nostalgic and homesick and happy and sad all at once. We sit with them while they have their special Christmas meal and we learn more about their stories and the things that have meant so much to them.
We have another category that is about celebrating whatever is growing really well in our garden, because we grow lots of our own food. So, we plan a special meal that really brings the big flavours out of whatever is in season and try to put a fun, festive twist on it. Our gardening people and foodie people and natural-health-organic-vegan people usually get the front seat for this. We like this one because we get to think about all the amazing things they’ve grown and picked and cooked from the garden over the year. We get to thank them for all their hard work and for doing so much to help keep us healthy and excited about food. We get to think about the year ahead, or even just the next season, and what we will be able to grow and pick and eat soon! So while the first category connects us to the past, this one connects us to the present and the future.
Then we all choose something we’ve never made before but have always wanted to try. This can get pretty whacky, but that’s the point! To try something new! It doesn’t matter if it turns out bad or we don’t like it, because it will still be the experience and memory of the fun thing we did together in this holiday season. It’s really nice to do a fun thing that has nothing to do with anything that’s ever happened before. In a time of year where there’s so many big and hard feelings, and so much is about things that have happened in the past, doing something brand new together can be a really good break from all of that.
Some Questions for Little People
- What special foods are your people going to be eating over these holidays?
- What do these foods mean to you?
- How do they make you feel?
- Is there anything new you’re going to try over these holidays?
3. Pick a Present For the Whole Tribe
We like to think of a gift to give to everyone, from everyone. What is something that we will all get a lot out of? With so many people being interested in so many different things, sometimes this is a real thinker! But it’s cool to finally realize that there’s something we can all connect to. Sometimes it’s about what we are all trying to do to make our lives better, and getting something that represents or helps with that. It might be a really practical thing that gets used all the time. Sometimes it’s just a whacky thing that makes us all smile, but for heaps of different reasons.
Sometimes it’s that one person has had a really hard few months, or done something amazing that’s helped the whole system with healing, and we all vote to get something just for them. And then every time we see the gift, or feel how it makes them feel loved, it makes us feel so good in our heart that it really was a gift for us all, too. So, sometimes the thing that everyone wants is to give a lot of love to one person, and that is the gift from ourselves to ourselves. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but that’s just how we roll. We never get tired of learning about how we’re all connected in such a beautiful way.
Some Questions for Little People
- What feeling or hope or goal is connecting up all your people this holiday season?
- Is there one person, or group of people, going through something big, or who has done something big to help out the whole system?
- Is there a M.V.P. for the year you all want to recognize?
- Is there someone whose heart is speaking out so loudly that you all want to do something to show them they’re heard and cared for?
- Is there a special present that would say what you all want them to know?
4. Give Grown-Up People Some Breathing Space
This one doesn’t sound so fun, but we think it’s super-important. At the start we said how little people need their grown-ups to stay okay enough to take care of them. We also said how our grown-up people get big feelings at this time of year, too.
Well, they explained that to be able to stay okay enough to always be kind, and listen to us when we ask for help, and show up to talk things through and do activities with us, they need some time and space for themselves. Because they need to come up with ways to make their big feelings feel more okay. And then they need to be able to do whatever things they come up with that will help.
So when we littles work together to give our grown-up people some time where it can be just about them, we are really helping them so that they can keep helping us.
They said, they trust us to give them the space they need, and they trust us to keep speaking up when we need help from them. And then, we can trust them to be there when we need help. We liked that explanation. It just makes good sense to us little people.
And it’s another one of those beautiful ways we are all connected.
We love our grown-up people. They have been through so much, too. And they always do everything they can to make sure us little ones are taken good care of. So it feels really good to give them back some of all that kindness.
Some Questions for Little People
- How are your grown-ups doing at this time of year?
- Do they need some extra breathing space to take care of themselves?
- What are some beautiful ways littles can get together to show grown-ups that we care about their big feelings?
- What kinds of things can littles do to give grown-ups some breathing space?
- What kinds of reassurance do littles need from grown-ups so you know they will keep taking good care of you?
- How can the grown-ups show you that they can be trusted to keep showing you kindness?
5. Listen to Carlita read the Holiday Season article to the kids
Check out this audio clip of the Real Little Holiday Season article. It’s got so many words — many littles can’t or won’t read those many words! You can listen to this recording, made by Carlita, and then all the kids can hear all the things that were written. It’s a long reading, so gather up yourselves in a comfy chair with a snack and a stuff, and be ready to listen for awhile. It’s a good one. Enjoy!
6. Listen to the Real Little Holiday Song again, and again, and again.
Do you have this song memorized yet?
Have you been playing it over and over?
Let your little ones enjoy the music, sing along, dance along. This is a great song, and really, it can apply to many many different events all year long, (even more than the holidays), so…. let your littles get very familiar with this song, and play it a zillion times. It’s been written and recorded exactly for you!
Are you tired yet?? That’s lots of stuff to do!
I hope you enjoy all these holiday activities! How many of them can you do this week?
Pick a few that work best for you, and try them. If you want to share what you create, please post or email.
Most of all, take gentle kind care of all your peoples, and be compassionate, patient, and gracious with each other. Make this holiday season the kind of holiday season that is best for you.
I wish you the very best on your healing journey, and please do have a great holiday week.
Copyright © 2008-2021 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation