Here are several suggestions for getting the most out of the upcoming holidays. We suggest that you try one or two of them, or use these to spark some other ideas that will be personal and meaningful to you. Even though there may be some emotional pain connected with doing activities like these, we believe there will also be a special kind of healing in them.
1. Give a SPECIAL GIFT in memory of your loved one. Join the gift giving emphasis of the holidays by giving a gift of some kind, e.g., a flowering plant to a favorite institution like a nursing home, church, or temple.
2. Give a GIFT OF MONEY, if you can afford it, to others who are disadvantaged and having a hard time of it. Make it clear that the gift is in memory of your loved one. You might choose a cause that was important to your loved one.
3. ENGAGE IN AN ACTIVITY that you and your loved one especially enjoyed. You might choose to do this alone, or with other family or friends. An example of this would be going to a play or taking a little trip.
4. Have a SPECIAL GATHERING with family or friends during the holiday season. During the time together have a “sharing of memories” about your loved one. Some of you might speak of the gifts they received from the loved one in times past, with emphasis on gifts of the mind and heart – things your loved one said or did that meant a lot to you.
5. During the holidays begin some kind of NEW TRADITION or RITUAL that is meaningful to you. An example of this is going to a restaurant on Thanksgiving Day rather than preparing a big meal at home. Another example would be to light a special candle for part of the holiday season. The candle could symbolize both the one you lost and a light for the path ahead of you into the future.
6. To rephrase any old saying, “It is just as blessed (and appropriate) to receive as to give.” In that spirit GIVE YOURSELF SOME KIND OF SPECIAL GIFT during the holidays. You might try to imagine something which your loved one would have given you or done for you if he or she were here, and do that for yourself.
7. HAVE SOME PHOTO ALBUMS OUT, including pictures of holidays past. Tell others about the past, and about what you are going through now. This will bring healing, and help you to become free to move into the future.