Getting through the Holidays

Date: Dec, 21 2020

Getting through the Holidays
Holiday time – the whole world seems consumed with tinsel and glitter, but those who grieve are only aware of the terrible hole in their hearts and their lives. Knowing the intense pain of the Holiday Season, here are some thoughts which other bereaved people have shared with the hope of making your holidays easier to handle.

We must realize that grieving persons have definite limitations – we do not function at normal capacity so, therefore, we must re-evaluate our priorities and decide what is meaningful for ourselves and our families.

1. We must decide what we can handle comfortably and let these needs be known to family, friends, and relatives.
• Whether or not to talk about our loved one openly
• Whether we can handle the responsibility of the family dinner, holiday party, etc. Or if we wish someone else to take over some of these traditional tasks.
• Whether we will stay here for the holidays or choose to go away to a totally differ holiday environment this year.

2. Do not be afraid to make changes. Making changes really can help make things less painful.
• Open presents Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning.
• Have dinner at a different time.
• Attend a different church for your Christmas Eve service.
• Let children take over decorating the tree, making cookies, etc.

3. Our greatest comfort may come in doing something for others. Some grievers feel they can acknowledge their loss meaningfully by:
• Giving a gift in memory of their loved one.
• Donating the money, they would have spent on their loved one’s gift to a particular charity.
• Adopting a needy family for the holidays.
• Inviting a guest (foreign student, senior citizen, or family friend) to share our holiday experiences.

4. Whether it is greeting cards, holiday baking, putting up the tree, decorating outside, or having a big family dinner, ask these questions before making any decisions:
• Have I involved or considered the rest of my family?
• Do I really enjoy doing this?
• Do other family members really enjoy doing this?
• Is this a task that can be shared by other family members?
• Would Christmas be Christmas without it?

5. How many stockings should we hang? We may decide to:
• Put them up as usual.
• Hang no stockings at all.
• Put thoughts and feelings about our loved one on notes and put them in that special stocking. Family members are free to read them. This can be a special opportunity for younger children to express their feelings.

6. Other suggestions:
• One family burns a special candle on all their special days to quietly include their “absent” member or friend.
• Christmas shopping is easier if you make the entire list out ahead of time. Then when one those “good days” comes along, you can get your shopping done quickly and with less confusion.

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