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12 Simple Ways to Support a Grieving Friend This Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us and it seems that many people have decided to simplify their holiday traditions this year. Instead of spending hours shopping and getting frustrated at the mall, they have decided to spend quality time with friends and family.

In the spirit of simplicity and kindness, we have compiled a list of 12 simple and memorable ways to support a grieving loved one this holiday season. This list comes from the suggestions submitted by our online community. So take a minute to check your holiday To Do List and be sure you have added your grieving loved ones to the list.

1. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the loss. One of the most important things you can do for a friend that is grieving is to understand that special occasions and holidays may be filled with both sorrow and joy. A message as simple as “I know the holidays may be difficult for you. I want you to know that I am thinking about you.” will let them know you care.

2. Listen and allow the tears to flow. Allow your friend the opportunity to feel all the feelings he or she is experiencing this time of year.

3. Allow the person to set the pace. Grief is a little like a roller coaster with many ups and downs. Your friend may want to cry one minute, talk about fun memories the next and then the next may want to have some time alone. Respect their needs and understand that their change in mood is not about you.

4. Encourage your friend to talk about the person that has passed away. If you knew the person, share your fond memories too.

5. Invite your friend to join your holiday gathering. As family members pass away, traditions change and a loved one may not be able to spend the holidays with their family. Including them in your family festivities will help ease the loneliness they may be feeling this time of year.

6. Send a card and be sure to acknowledge the loss. Don’t be afraid to mention the person’s name or to include your own personal memories of the person that has passed away.

7. Visit the cemetery with your friend or leave flowers with a note for the family at the gravesite.

8. Prepare your friend’s favorite holiday treat or a favorite food of the person that has passed away. Each year I prepare my mother’s holiday cookies to remember her love for the holidays.

9. Create a scrapbook of memories. Ask friends and family to write down their memories of the loved one that has passed away and put together a scrapbook of pictures and stories to give to your grieving friend.

10. Make a donation to their favorite charity in memory of the person that has passed away.

11. Encourage them to take care of themselves. Self care is very important to the healing process. Give a gift of pampering at a spa or prepare a care package that includes a relaxation CD, bath salts, and an aromatherapy candle. If going to a spa is not their way of relaxing, find an activity that brings them joy and relaxation.

12. Don’t run for the hills. Many people are afraid to be around a person that is grieving. They often treat the grieving person as though they have a contagious disease. A true friend is the one that stands by their friend and allows them the space to feel all the feelings they are going through…the good and the bad.

Offering your support, understanding and companionship during the holidays will be a cherished gift. Be sure to listen to your friend’s wishes and do not force him or her to participate in activities that may be overwhelming. Be sure to only offer your support if you know you can truly follow through. And remember, it is the simple acts of kindness that are delivered with an open heart that are remembered year after year.

Holiday Gift Ideas for a Best Friend

A best friend is a priceless gift all year long, always there for you to share your best and worst moments, offer advice when needed, lend an ear or offer a hug in hard times. When it comes to the holidays what can you give your best friend that will show you appreciate having her there for you? Here are a few ideas that are sure to put a smile on her face.

Coffee

Does she love coffee? If you can afford it, consider an espresso maker so she doesn’t have to spend so much money on her daily fix. If that’s too pricey, a gift card or certificate to her favorite coffee shop or a gift certificate filled with various flavored coffee beans also make a wonderful present.

Gourmet food

A gift basket filled with gourmet treats that she wouldn’t normally spend the money on for herself but would love to have, can make an ideal gift. Depending on her tastes, heavenly dark chocolate and other sweet delectable treats, gourmet cheeses, specialty jams, hot cocoa mix, a bottle of wine – all great ideas to fill in your own basket, and made just for her shows that you are a very thoughtful best friend.

Bath products

Everyone loves to be pampered, but often feels guilty about spending their own money on products meant to de-stress and soothe. Aromatherapy candles that can be used around the bath, bubble bath, specialty soaps and soothing gels all make great gifts that will allow her to soak her cares away.

Lessons or classes focused on a shared interest

Do you both love yoga, art, writing or perhaps share a desire to travel to another country in which a learning a new language would be helpful? Consider a gift of taking a class together that is focused on any shared interest. This is a gift that will keep on giving for many years to come.

Adventure

Do you both love adventure? Consider a gift certificate for a girl’s day out on a white-water rafting adventure, horseback riding, zip-lining, a scenic helicopter ride, or for the really adventurous, perhaps bungee jumping or skydiving?

A day of beauty

Give her a special day of beauty that you can spend together, with a gift certificate to a Spa or beauty salon that includes a facial, manicure and pedicure, haircut and/or styling. After you’re finished and you both look amazing, consider a night out on the town; take lots of pictures and you’ll have wonderful memories to look back on forever.