5 ways to comfort someone through Thanksgiving and Christmas
The holidays aren’t happy for everyone.
For many, holidays are hard. They may not feel thankful at Thanksgiving. And Christmas may not be bright and joyful.
Whether it’s a reminder of a lost loved one, mental anxiety over all the social interactions, divorce, or just general reluctance to go to family functions because of the inevitable conflict, it can be rough. Not everyone looks forward to the holiday season.
Here are five ways to support your friends and family when holidays are hard.
1. Support whatever they want to do.
Have patience. The last thing you want to do is make them feel worse. Don’t make them attend the gathering, don’t guilt them into letting you come over. Let them guide how they want to participate. Ask them how they want to participate and support whatever that is.
2. Small gestures can have a significant impact.
Consider how you can show up on their terms. Send a text, mail a note, or directly message them on Instagram, just letting them know that you’re there if they need you. You don’t need to say anything about whatever’s hard. Just a simple, “Hey, I’m thinking about you. I love you, and I’m here if you need anything.”
Rather than asking them to let you know if they need anything, put yourself in their shoes and do that for them.
3. Send a gift of comfort so they can have something just for themselves.
We spend most of the holidays thinking about other people we need to serve–food, gifts, activities. It can be a bit much. And it’s easy to lose ourselves.
Sending a token of comfort to someone that’s having a hard time can make their day. Here are some of our favorites:
- Chocolate, a fresh-smelling candle & cozy socks are a way to send a hug without invading anyone’s space.
- The gift of a sweet-smelling, calming bath (+ a pair of cute earrings) so she can remember how brave she is.
4. Think about ways you can spend time together without creating more stress.
Maybe it’s not a giant family gathering. Maybe it’s just stopping by for the evening to help decorate or wrap gifts. Or perhaps it’s dropping by with dinner for her family and watching a movie. It could also be meeting at a restaurant for a glass of wine and some appetizers. Do whatever they want to do!
5. Make extra.
Extra time. Extra cookies to take home. An extra pie to drop off. Extra space. Whatever your friend or family member needs, just make extra of it.
Remember that showing up for those who are having a hard time is not: providing unsolicited advice, trying to fix her problems (as much as you want to, you just can’t), telling her why it will all be okay or that these things happen for a reason. Be there for her. Acknowledge the pain. Listen.
As much as we want to support our friends and family through the holidays, do keep an eye out for signs when it may be more than just a hard time. It’s a good rule of thumb to program the national suicide prevention hotline into your phone (800-273-8255). We’re generally not equipped to handle tough conversations if someone is contemplating suicide. Call for help.
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Whether you're comforting a friend who just had some bad news, sending a care package to your mom, or want to spread some cozy love, we have something for you.
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