This is the time of the year that we love and wait in anticipation for its arrival. There is a general feeling of happiness and joy that exist, and people are looking forward to holiday decorating and festivities that mark the season. It is also when people tend to be more giving and generous of their time and resources. Smells of wonderful baked goods permeate the house and invitations to holiday gatherings are forthcoming.
For some, however, it can be a really difficult time. It’s a reminder of the memories one shared with someone who is no longer with them and can bring sadness and in some cases withdrawal and depression. This is especially true for those who have lost a spouse or partner they have shared many years together with, and they may now feel loss on how to proceed without them.
Ways you can help those friends and relatives are;
- Try to be sensitive and not over share about what you are doing for the holidays. It’s okay to mention you are baking a favorite family food and if possible, invite that person over to engage in the activity. This will help them to feel included and aid in taking their mind off being alone.
- Telling family stories can be very therapeutic. Reminding a person of the wonderful times they shared with family and perhaps, depending on the condition of the person, sharing photos of holidays past, especially if there are some humorous moments remembered.
- If the person does not feel like visiting, bring over a baked good or food you know they would like and offer to stay and eat it with them. Sometime just having a person around can help cheer a person up. This is especially true for a grandparent and grandchild.
This year there will be a resurgence of family gatherings as 2020 was devoid of spending time with families. In some cases, it was an opportunity for a family to be alone and learn to create their own traditions.
However, this holiday season many families are seeing each other for the first time in 2 years so it will be particularly joyful to have the freedom to celebrate together and rekindle family relationships. That can become the greatest gift you can give and receive from others.
Finally, it is probably best to avoid discussions about COVID related topics and use caution around large crowds. This will help insure a more harmonious and peaceful family gathering.
Cathy is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist at Simply Brave. She is motivated to help people find the answers they are looking for to enjoy happiness, find hope and regain personal strength.