By April Greene and Wendy Griffith
With the holiday season upon us, there is no better opportunity to work on creating your legacy.
For many cancer patients, this can be a helpful way to cope with the cancer experience.
Creating your legacy isn't about death and dying, though. It's about life and living. It's about making connections and sharing precious moments with the special people in your life.
Legacy work is the act of putting the things you want your loved ones to remember about you or learn from you on paper or into a project or activity.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, the time you spend with loved ones and the memories that you make together will be a part of your legacy. They will live on for years and may even create traditions that will be carried on by future generations.
How to create memories
Wondering how your current holiday activities are contributing to your legacy? Or need some inspiration for creating some new traditions? Here are some ideas.
- Make a photo album/scrapbook of the year's events or look at old albums
- Serve food at a shelter
- Put up holiday decorations together or in a memorable way
- Go caroling or sing special songs
- Put wishes for the upcoming year in a box and open them next year
- Volunteer for a special cause every year
- Make recipes that were passed down to you and continue the tradition
- Enjoy meals on certain days or at certain times
- Decorate cookies or a gingerbread house every year
- Create a cookbook with favorite family recipes
- Make handmade gifts
- Keep special decorations that will become family heirlooms
- Give yearly gifts like holiday pajamas or ornaments, or items that can be given every year to build a meaningful collection such as dolls, baseball cards or charms
- Give heirlooms
- Make annual donations to a charity
- Acknowledge important religious events and honor their meaning
- Make your greatest gift of the season a donation to your church, synagogue or other place of worship
- For the nonreligious, focus on the positive aspects of the holiday season
- Have meaningful conversations with loved ones
- Tell stories about your family history and favorite memories
time doing things your loved ones enjoy, such as ice skating, watching a
favorite holiday movie, or playing a board game or sport as a family
For some other hands-on activities ideas, take a few minutes to watch the video "Making Memories Last."
Creating a legacy can seem overwhelming and daunting. But remember, a big part of your legacy is the memories of you that live on. So, try taking some time to make those memories last this holiday season.
If you would like more information on building your legacy, contact a social work counselor at 713-792-6195 or ask your nurse or doctor to speak with a social work counselor.