Taking a cue from the holiday season, we brought a golden wish holder to two eldercare facilities this week and last. (Some drew parallels to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem; others saw two inverted tomato cages attached to one another.)  Markers and metallic card stock and paper strips were provided for decoration, along with suggestions for what to write on them: a caring thought or wish directed to someone else, a gift to either give or receive, one’s name or that of a loved one, or simply something decorative. The options offered different entry points to accommodate residents whose cognitive abilities vary widely. Here is a sampling of their responses, and those of staff and visiting family members:

I would like to travel.


I wish all of my family stays well.

New earrings.

Happy Chanukah to all.

I wish to walk without a walker.

To see my son.

Give love.

Be very good.

A trip to the shore.

A very kind and loving husband to take care of J~.

Cooking lessons for our chef.

I wish my daughter come to America.

Peace and goodwill to everyone.

New bedroom slippers.

Hi N~, I hope you will get well soon.

New tie for my husband.

Merry Xmas.

Hello Betty and Irv.


I wish for my mother to come home.

Good health for B~.

I would like the sun to shine on Everyone to keep them happy and healthy.

I wish that I could have the dental work I need.

To mother, E~.

Great family.

I wish for an English Christmas cake.


and one very literal response:

A gift I would like to give and a gift I would like to receive.

What can we give that isn’t bought online or in a store? And what would we like to receive that doesn’t come in a box or bag? Two questions worth contemplating as we celebrate the season of light and our hope for peace.