Holiday tips–especially if you have children

rocks at the beachHoliday tips–especially if you have children

Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special dates can be especially difficult for grieving families.  Memories of your loved one and what you all are missing without them can flood your mind.  Sometimes it’s hard to even get out of bed as the winter holidays approach, with the darkness and colder weather.  Dread is a common experience.  Yet your kids will likely want a special holiday experience, so it’s important to figure out how to get through the holidays while creating some new traditions that are just yours in this new life without your loved one.

  • Go easy on yourself; you don’t have to do all the things you usually did before your loved one died.
  • Give yourself permission to skip sending cards, buy pies instead of bake, etc.
  • Get out of town, visit friends or family, or head to a place that you and your children can all enjoy, such as the ocean or a cabin in the woods.  Nature can be very healing to all of your family members.
  • Ask a friend to come over and decorate the house with your kids while you go somewhere else.
  • Ask a friend to take your kids shopping for you.  They will want to make you feel happy, and a friend can guide them in their gift selections.
  • Volunteer on the holiday: serve at a soup kitchen, sing at an assisted living facility, distribute blankets to the homeless, walk dogs at the humane society.
  • Set a place at the table for your loved one, and share memories.
  • Create an altar space in your home with pictures and other memorabilia, where your kids can do art, write a letter, and express their grief.
  • For Christmas, make a special ornament with your children to honor your loved one.
  • Make a CD of your loved ones’ favorite music to give as a gift.
  • Make a donation to a local nonprofit in memory of your loved one; have your kids get involved with the decision.
  • Join a support group that helps bereaved people get through the holidays.
  • Exercise, sleep, eat well, avoid addictive substances.
  • Keep breathing and placing one foot in front of the other, and soon the holiday will have passed.