Cracker Barrel Country Store, Toys for Kids of All Ages
Celebration and Suffering Loss
This article is written to those who have suffered loss, and have to some how continue to live life, and celebrate the loved ones who remain.
When a loss occurs, there are many holidays that can add to the general sadness and depression of those who can barely put one foot in front of the other, or get dressed in the morning, or any number of just regular "life" activities, but when it comes to holidays like Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Festivus, it may seem impossible to make it through the celebration.
I want to share my experience with you, and how Cracker Barrel Old Fashion Country Store, saved our Christmas celebration.
Merry Celebrations - May You Find Joy in Your Celebration
Give Toys to Grown-Ups This Year
When my kids were young, I loved the holidays I couldn't wait for the kids to get up on Christmas Eve and open their new toys they got for Christmas.
- 0 to 10, they were easy to buy for. Dolls, trucks, bubbles, balls, Tinker Toys, paints, play dough, musical instruments, books, music...
- 11 to 13, they got older. Quantity was exchanged for quality. The toys for this age group are more expensive, because they were in-between children and teens. They are aghast at possibly getting a gift that makes them look like a baby.
- 13 to 19, gift giving become pricier. It is acceptable getting them designer clothes, shoes and accessories they want. A gift card for "i"Tunes,The Gap, or other Clothiers is a perfect gift. Even a Visa Gift Card can spread teen joy.
- 20+, they start having families of their own and gifts become more practical. Then there is added fun when the Grands come along....
Holiday; Joy and Loss
What about Holiday Gift Giving in a year of Tragedy? In 2002 our family suffered a huge loss. My youngest daughter passed at the age of 17. As her mother I endured my personal pain, and could not help seeing how her siblings were in mourning and sorrow of their own.
It had been 6 months since she left, but it was our first Christmas without her sassy and sparkling, vibrant personality. It was a very difficult prospect. While in the midst of deep mourning, when I laughed or thought of having fun, I was plagued with false guilt.
As a grandmother and mother of three living children, there was no way I could let my sorrow neglect the meaningful holiday celebrations we observe.
At Thanksgiving, my surviving daughter and I went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Cracker Barrel® has many toys from when I was a kid, a half a century ago.
Cracker Barrel® has hearty food, and they have a welcoming front porch. Inside the dining area of the restaurant each Cracker Barrel™ has a large fireplace and stone hearth. My favorite thing to do if we eat there, or am shopping for a unique gift, is to visit their Old Fashion Country Store.
These roadside restaurants are a welcome rest along the weary road.
All around the Country Store, there are displays of harmonicas, jack sets, checkers, dolls, Super Ball™, Silly Putty™, Pick-up-Sticks and many other goodies.
Since our loss that June of 2002, I hadn't been feeling much more than sorrow. While we were walking around, I could not help but to breathe it all in. It brings me back to age 5 instantly, and truth be told; The whole time we are there, I restrain myself from flinging myself in the floor and playing jacks.
One month from the gift-giving holiday, it came upon me that getting fun and childish gifts would be the thing to give my adult kids. Toys for Christmas. This would be a way for them to realize they do not have to feel sad and guilty for laughing and having fun. We can sorrow, and laugh. It is a tragic comedy.
Making Holidays Merrier on a BudgetClick thumbnail to view full-size
Healing and the Grief of Losing a Child or Sibling
There was no way of knowing how my family would take getting such silly gifts. This experience at Cracker Barrel was a break in the darkness.
I did buy Toys! Each time it came someone's turn to open a package they would find Sidewalk Chalk , Bubbles, A Cloth Checker Board & Checkers, and Hasbro™ Super Balls for the Boys! The girls got Cookie Cutters, Aprons, Pick-Up-Sticks, Jacks and Dolls.
The week before Christmas, I caught an Estate Sale where the family was moving out of country and their family had all of the classic board games in well loved condition. They were also puzzlers, they had about 30 jig-saw puzzles, and I bought board games, and half of the puzzles.
Truthfully, our family had suffered through various stages of grief. All of us went through blaming ourselves and blaming each other. I was almost afraid that the kids would be horrified , or reject me once and for all over failing as a perfect mother.
I am happy to say that my full grown sons were so excited when they opened the Super Balls, that they could not finish opening presents, and like small children, they took their Super Balls into the garage, and the ka-thump, ka-thump sound went on for hours. It was a pleasant background noise for all of the ooh's, and ah's, the laughter and tears.
Toys and the freedom to play as a child was the ticket. It saved our family holiday and helped us through another stage of grief.
In our society we witness some who try to spend the most, and "outclass" others in gift giving. That really takes away from the loving act of giving to each other.
When in doubt, give Games , Toys and other activities that bind families together.
To this day our family are extreme puzzlers! If you visit any of our homes, you will find a puzzle in process on some surface. The neat-kins roll theirs up, but most of us have them out for friends and family. There is something calming about being able to play at any given moment of time.
The Very Best to you and yours!
Best Gifts are Toys
The Best Gifts are Toys!
What wrapped package does not bring excitement and expectation?
Who likes Toys?
Everyone but the Grinch!
Meaningful and Affordable, Giving Gifts
- Cracker Barrel Hours And Locations | HoursMap
Find complete list of Cracker Barrel hours and locations in all states. Get store opening hours, closing time, addresses, phone numbers, maps and directions.
- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Online Store you'll find nostalgic gifts, housewares, and children's toys; hand-blown glassware and cast iron cookware; old-fashioned crockery like you'd find on your grandmother's table and collectible dolls.
Stages of Grief - "Good Grief Music Video" by LaBond - YouTube
Find a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
October 10, 2010, Cracker Barrel™
© 2010 Lori J Latimer
More by this Author
These love songs from the 1960's had us swooning in love. Love to die for, to the death. Years later I realize they are stalking songs. Songs I still mostly love.
All of us know or are related to those who are poor and struggling. There are ways to give and help those at a disadvantage, that give dignity and a wealth of goodness
It is not life, obstacles, ownership, or relationships that drive us crazy, it is our thinking about these things that do. Here's a hundred give or take