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

Fill the year with fun games and toys.
Fill the year with fun games and toys. | Source

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.

(continued below)

Making Holidays Merrier on a Budget

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pinked Tree 12.2009Lilly's stocking, custom Christmas 2010
Pinked Tree 12.2009
Pinked Tree 12.2009 | Source
Lilly's stocking, custom Christmas 2010
Lilly's stocking, custom Christmas 2010 | Source
Source
Source
Source

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!

Stages of Grief - "Good Grief Music Video" by LaBond - YouTube

Find a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

show route and directions
A markerCracker Barrel -
Cracker Barrel, Conway, AR 72032, USA
[get directions]

B markerCracker Barrel -
Cracker Barrel Boulevard, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, USA
[get directions]

C markerCracker Barrel -
Cracker Barrel Street, Las Vegas, NV 89143, USA
[get directions]

D markerCracker Barrel -
Cracker Barrel Drive, Crestview, FL 32536, USA
[get directions]

E markerCracker Barrel -
Cracker Barrel Circle, Colorado Springs, CO 80917, USA
[get directions]

F markerCracker Barrel -
Cracker Barrel Drive, Calhoun, GA 30701, USA
[get directions]

G markerCracker Barrel -
Cracker Barrel Drive, Clarksville, TN 37040, USA
[get directions]

citations

October 10, 2010, Cracker Barrel™

© 2010 Lori J Latimer

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Comments 21 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

I think that's a happy thing to do, buying toys for adult children. I like wind-up toys myself, coloring books, Lego, Lincoln Logs --remember ColorForms static cling picture making boards? SLINKY!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

PattyI, Thanks for the read, and Comments...Slinky!!!Colorforms; I had forgotten!


chan0512 profile image

chan0512 6 years ago from Camarillo, CA

another great hubs. Thanks for sharing!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you chan0512, thanks for coming by, thank you for the comment.


inkwell780 6 years ago

First off I would like to send my condolences for the loss of your Daughter! Another beautiful Hub Lilly... It is true about toys... I think it brings out the childhood for any age and that was a thoughtful Christmas on your part. Thanks for another great Hub! Sincerely, Matt.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you Matt!I appreciate the sentiments. One day I will write about Oliana. Thanks for your heartfelt comments. May you get that one toy you have always wanted.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

sad and touching story... my condolence.

I will be thrilled too if I am given a Lego set which I used to love when I was a kid.

In fact, today, another male friend of mine just wanted to buy a second set of remote control toy helicopter for himself after getting one for his son.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Buying toys brings back my "youth." Thanks...


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Ingenira thank you for your condolence. I am glad you are still a kid at heart. May you find something Lego cool at your house for the Holidays!

dallas93444 - I thank you for coming by, and am Delighted that you got a positive feeling of youngness! :0)


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I agree The Best Gifts are Toys! We should celbrate the kid in all of us more often. Great stuff here!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Beautiful hub. Lilly. I don't know why this hub remind me about my tinker toys. I always got my toys on my birthday party. I have the same idea with you. The best gifts are toys. I know adult still has a childish side, even for my self. Thank you very much brought this for us. Vote up.

Blessing,


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

I would have to say my favorite gifts were toys, I loved winding things up and building toys. Card tricks, board games and drawing kits. It was so much fun being a kid, it seems the gift giving and receiving as we became adults was not as much fun. The joy of Christmas gift giving had to be when we were kids. Thanks for this share, It put me in the spirit of Christmas that's not to far off. Hugs


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Ms Katiem2! Thank you very much for coming by for a read, and leaving your sweet comment! Peace

Prasetio30! Thank you for sharing childhood joys and memories that are good. I hope your child has the most fun in this coming year!

saddlerider! Thank you for your visit, read and insightful comment. Anytime writing stirs of feelings of joy, love, and good memories I am happy. Thanks for the hugs!


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Great hub and I agree. I love gift giving for my 3 yr old- it's so much fun. I have an aunt, who still gives everyone "goodie bags" filled with treats and toys- the fun toys you mentioned in your hub and still fun to play with as an adult. I love her idea and want to pass it on when she is gone.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

izettl! Thank you forstopping by for a read, and thank you for your thoughtful comments! Carrying on loving traditions is vital! The Best.


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

After the passing of my Mom I had to create a fun Christmas for the family, I went to the dollar store bought a bunch of 'stuff' and wrapped each one individually and made a game out of the gift giving. It was truly a fun time, at not a lot of money!

I'm trying to think of something to do this year that will be tons of fun. Your toys sounds like something I might do! Won't those grand kids get jealous when their parents open toys!! LOL I am soooo evil in my thinking!!

Thanks for thinking early with this one! (well giving me the chance to think early that is!)

Up, awesome, beautiful and useful!!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Dear Sweetsusieg, thank you for the thoughtful comments. I like your idea. The dollar stores have lots of neato stuff. I hope all is the Best at your house. :0) Peace!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Just wanted to share, My Dad, God rest his soul, always loved taking us to the Cracker Barrel. After I read this I recalled so many wonderful memories of my baby sister, God rest her soul, and I as we explored all the magical and unique toys and stuff they had as we waited for our table. This was one time we were not in a hurry to be seated. Anyway, I set out to find the nearest Cracker Barrel and took by two daughters, they had a similar experience and we left with our tummies filled on great homecookin and bags of goodies and treasures to enjoy. I'm so happy you reminded me of this fond memory. Love, Peace and Joy :)


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

dear katiem1, thank you for this heartfelt comment. Thank you for sharing beautiful family memories, and the traditions you are enjoying with your family. Thank you :0) Merry Holidays!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Nothing like gift-giving to bring a smile to one's own heart!

Cracker Barrel does have a neat selection of interesting goodies!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

RTalloni, thank you for coming by. Another Cracker Barrel fan. I love that place.

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