A Claremore nonprofit is making sure families have a way to enjoy Christmas this year while also being able to honor loved ones who have died.
It’s almost like a scavenger hunt, combined with Christmas light displays with a very touching ending.
The holidays might look a little different this year but people with the non-profit Light of Hope in Claremore are trying to make sure this time of year is still enjoyable, that you still feel magic, that you can still smile and laugh and make memories with the people you love.
"We wanted to make sure that there was a COVID friendly, safe event for people to be able to get out of their houses, and feel some sort of normalcy," said Kimberlee Francis with Light of Hope.
So, they put their idea on wheels - literally. Families are given a map full of addresses and they will be stopping by houses lined with hundreds and hundreds of Christmas lights. They will drive by local shops and restaurants who agreed to offer discounts for people involved in the festivities. You make it all happen from the safety of your own car and everything is completely free. There are dozens of stops created just to put a smile on your face but there is one created to just to remember.
"This time of year is kind of rough for me. I lost my daughter on Christmas Eve, it will be seven years ago this Christmas Eve," said Light of Hope Founder Layla Freeman.
This is the Transformation Tree. The process is really simple. The tree will be covered in lights throughout the weekend. You can take off one of the white lights and then replace it with the favorite color of the person who you lost.
Sawyer Buccy is using blue in honor of my dad. He passed away in 2012, when I was 18. His birthday was three days after Christmas, so it is pretty impossible to go through this season without thinking of him every second of the day. Families can personalize a paper bag with the person's name, fill it with sand so it doesn't blow away and put a tea light inside.
"The holiday season is a trying time for those who have lost folks," said Steven Anderson with Light of Hope.
This is Light of Hope's way of making sure people can make new happy memories while keeping those they lost alive in a very real, and special way.
The Christmas Tree Transformation and Luminaria Walk will be at Claremore Lake, December 18, 19 and 20 from 6-8:30 p.m.