This week, one of my dearest friends inspired me. Last year, her mom passed away and this week held the one year anniversary of her mother’s Homegoing.
Every griever knows how incredibly painful the “firsts” of grief are. Especially the anniversary of the death date, as well as the holidays.
I hosted a special holiday coffee at my house for my friend and it happened to fall on her sweet mom’s one year anniversary death date.
After offering to reschedule our coffee date, my sweet friend said she still wanted to have coffee at my house.
As we enjoyed having coffee together and catching up, something my friend said deeply inspired me…she said, “Today is a painful day, but I’m going to spend the day doing things in my mom’s honor”—then she said, “I’m actually looking forward to it!”
The first thing she did was pay the bill for the car behind her at a drive thru. She told the cashier to share with the person how today was the first anniversary of her mom’s death and she was paying the tab in her mother’s honor. It genuinely brought my friend’s heart so much unexpected joy.
My helpful holiday tip for today is: Look for ways you can honor, celebrate, and remember your loved one by being a blessing to others.
The Christmas season is now in full swing! With few days left until Christmas, we all have these few precious days to remember and honor a loved one in a meaningful, special way. We also have these few days until Christmas to be an extra blessing to our family, friends, and even anonymously to strangers.
During these days leading up to Christmas, consider doing something special in memory of your loved one or for others:
1. Plant a tree in your loved one’s memory to honor them. You can also choose to decorate the tree with lights and Christmas decorations in the years to come. If buying and planting a tree isn’t feasible, how about decorating your loved one’s grave? Or purchase a small tabletop artificial Christmas tree to decorate in your loved one’s honor and then bless someone with it? (You can also purchase an identical 2nd tree for your own home to decorate in your loved one’s honor, too!)
2. Anonymously pay for the person’s order behind you if you’re in a drive thru or at a restaurant. You can also tell the cashier/waitress to tell the person you’re doing this in honor and memory of your loved one.
3. Make a donation to a local or national charity in their name. Maybe your loved one had a favorite charity you can donate to.
4. Bake your loved one’s favorite treats or make up a fruit basket and give it to someone you know who is discouraged or going through grief. The baked treats can be store bought, too!
5. Buy a gift you would’ve bought your loved one and then bless one of their favorite family members or friends with the gift.
6. Think of an activity your loved one enjoyed doing while they were alive, and then give that experience as a gift to someone else (or invite them to do the experience with you). You can also give away an experience your loved one wanted to do but never were able to. Was there something they wanted to do for Christmas or somewhere they wanted to go but never had the chance?
I know a lady who gave a brand new skateboard to her nephew in honor of her son who loved extreme sports.
I have a very dear friend in my grief group who had planned to take his wife to a new movie theater. He gave my husband and me a gift certificate to the movie theater and shared how he and his wife planned to go there and told us to enjoy our gift in their honor and her precious memory. His gift meant so very much to me!
7. Continue to shop for your loved one and donate the gifts to whoever God places on your heart. For example: If you had a precious child who died, consider buying your child the gifts you normally would have given them, then give those gifts to a child who is in need through the Salvation Army or Angel Tree. You can also give them to a family member or friend, too. I still buy a gift for my sister and give it anonymously to someone every year.
8. Anonymously pre-pay for someone’s gas at the gas station. Go to the attendant and buy a gift card with cash, explain what you’re doing, and tell them to give the gas gift card to the next person who looks like they could use it or to someone who may need cheering up.
9. If you know of someone who is going through grief, consider being their “Secret Santa.” Send them a gift card to your loved one’s favorite restaurant, buy and send them your loved one’s favorite book or CD (or other small gift) with a note telling them they’re cared about.
10. If your loved one left behind children, consider doing something special for them. You could write them a nice card or verbally share wonderful or funny stories about their parent, you could buy them a gift you think their parent might’ve bought for them, or take them out for dinner.
Just because our loved one(s) died, doesn’t mean we can no longer remember, celebrate, and honor them, or actively love them. It is perfectly fine to remember, love, and honor them and their memory.
If you don’t feel up to doing any of these ideas, consider doing something more peaceful such as inviting a family member or friend to attend a quiet Christmas service at church or online.
Think of something you can do today to include your loved one’s precious memory into your holiday traditions!
Some will very much enjoy doing these things while others may not. If you don’t feel up to doing any of these ideas, then do not force yourself to do them. Grief takes time and everybody grieves differently. Always be kind and gentle to your heart!❤️
Praying for all who are struggling and hurting today! I’m truly sorry for your heartache. May these tips bring your heart comfort, joy, peace, and HOPE!
Gratitude & many blessings,
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