Presence is the Best Gift of All

Table spread with cookie cutting tools and dough.

In recent blogs we’ve discussed the importance of taking care of yourself this holiday season. We also provided an easy way to reach out to someone who is grieving, letting them know with one simple question that you are there for them however they may need you. Now is the time to share some tips that might make navigating these last few weeks of the year a bit more comfortable for all.

  1. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Whether you or someone you love is grieving, everyone’s journey will be different. The key is to be understanding and supportive of yourself and others.
  2. Be open to change. Traditions can be a wonderful part of a holiday, bringing with them so many memories. Take care not to hold onto traditions that bring too much stress or pain. It’s okay to let them go, maybe just for this year. Now might be the perfect time to start a new tradition.
  3. Take time to honor and remember. Setting aside a time or a special place of tribute to the loved one you’ve lost can be very comforting. A special moment while gathered together to share memories, an extra setting at the table, moments of silence on behalf of everyone who is no longer with you. Some families set aside a table and bring photos of their loved ones, so they feel their presence.
  4. Volunteer or Give Back. You can honor the memory of a loved one by choosing to spend time (or money) in support of a charity or cause that was important to them. As an individual or with a group, volunteer at an event or activity, or ask for contributions (no matter how small) from family members and make a donation in your loved one’s name. This itself may become a new tradition.
  5. Let Others Help or Be A Help to Others. Whether or not you are the one who is grieving, this tip is key. There are so many ways you can be helpful to someone who is struggling. Talking (listening) on the phone, taking them on the errands that may be overwhelming, accompanying them to events of the season, writing Christmas cards with them, even something as simple as sending them a text message to let them know you are thinking of them. Caring for someone, no matter how small the gesture, will mean a lot and open the opportunity for them to reach out if they need you for more. This goes the same if you are the one who is grieving. Be aware of the ways people are trying to help you and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you might need it. After all, it is the season, for giving and our presence is the best gift we can give one another.