Tomorrow is All Saint’s Day. Today is Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve. There are so many cultural traditions around this time of year in the US… dressing up, carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating. The one tradition that I like to emphasize with families is the idea of remembering family members who have gone before us. On All Saints’ Day, November 1, we name those who are important to us who are now part of the church triumphant.
This activity, creating a memory table, is a way to teach children about someone they may not have had the chance to know who is important in your family. Alternatively, it’s a way to remember a family member or friend who has died. There are more detailed instructions in the book (along with 49 other activities!) but here’s how I did our memory table this morning with my boys, ages 3 and 4.
I gathered a few things together that reminded me of my grandmother, Fern Smith, whom they have never met.
- A picture of her
- A crochet hook and crochet project (because she liked to crochet)
- Measuring spoons (because she was an excellent cook and baker)
- A Beatrix Potter book (because she brought home some Beatrix Potter prints from England)
- A few candles
I said “I made this table of things about my grandma, your great grandma, and I want to tell you about them.” I explained each of the things and then lit the candles. I said “My grandma was a very special person, just like your grandma. Amen.” And then we blew out the candles. Very simple. It would have been a much more involved conversation if my children were older, and I think in future years we will be able to have longer conversations. As my children get older, I’d like them to be involved in selecting the items that go on the memory table.
What do you think, would you make a memory table for someone in your family? What would you put on it?