I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Holiday Sympathy Gifts’

First Holidays After a Loss – How You Can Offer Your Support

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 11, 2013

The first year of grief can be a roller coaster of emotions that are unpredictable and at times scary. Your friend has embarked on a journey they wished they never had to take and at each turn they find that life has changed and they have to chart a new course. The first year of holidays and family celebrations can bring a sense of uneasiness and displacement. Everything is new for them and yet the rest of the world seems to have remained the same. There are most likely many questions going through their mind. How will I feel? Will I want to celebrate the holidays? Will anyone remember my loss? If I sleep through the holidays, will it make all the deep feelings of sadness go away? And when will they stop showing all the happy commercials of families enjoying the holidays?

After my mother passed away, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were a blur. It felt like we were going through the motions but not really present. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends at my mom’s home. After my mom passed away, I felt like I was lost and did not know where I fit in anymore. It took many years before my new life without my mom became full of new traditions. Having friends and family around helped easy the deep feelings of loss I felt that first year.

How friends can help during the holidays

Respect their decisions about the holidays. Each person’s reaction to the holidays after a loss is unique. Some may find comfort in continuing with family traditions, other may wish to start a new tradition, and still others may want to travel and be away from home during the holidays. Respect their decision and understand that they are doing their best to make their way through the many emotions they are feeling.

Encourage Simplicity. If the person grieving usually hosts the family festivities or has a long To Do list this time of year, offer your assistance. Holiday dinners can take a lot of energy to prepare, offer to host the family dinner or help prepare the meal. You maysnowflake-cookies even want to suggest going to a restaurant to take off the pressure. Holiday shopping can also be stressful, offer to help them with the shopping or suggest that the family reduces the number of presents by drawing names.

Help them make a plan. Although your friend may think they are up to putting together all the traditional family activities, they may find that they become overwhelmed in the process. Help them find alternatives, even at the last-minute, should they not feel up to the “traditions” of the season. Assist them in creating a plan for the holidays that encourages self-care and helps them move through the holidays with a little more ease. And if they choose to skip the holidays this year, be supportive.

Acknowledge the Loss. Be sure to acknowledge your friend’s loss this time of year and don’t be afraid to use the name of the person that has passed away. Send a card, make a phone call, stop by with a plate of their favorite holiday treat and remind them that you are thinking about them.

Share Your Memories. Sharing memories and pictures can be very therapeutic. It allows everyone involved to share their memories and honor the person that has passed away.

Pamper the mind, body and spirit. The depth of emotions that grieving can bring is exhausting mentally and physically. Encourage your friend to take care of themselves by eating nutritious meals, getting exercise and making time to process the feelings they are going through.

Holiday Gifts - Should you or shouldn’t you? If your friend has decided that they want to exchange gifts, consider buying something for them like you normally would and also include a memorial gift in remembrance of their loved one. A memorial ornament, a scrapbook with pictures of their loved one or a remembrance candles, shows your friend that you acknowledge their loss. Just know that the one gift that they want most in the world, having their loved one back, you will never be able to give them.

Ask Questions. If you are not sure what your friend needs, be sure to ask questions, listen and respect their decision. If they decide they want to host the holiday dinner, allow them but offer to help. If they want some time alone, allow them to have their space but let them know you are there for them anytime.

Leave the front and back door open. Feelings of grief throughout the holidays can be unpredictable. Allow your friend or family member the space to back-out of holiday activities or join-in at the last-minute without feeling guilty.

The best present you can bring is your Love. Deep feelings of grief can leave your friend feeling lifeless. Pamper them, hug them, love them, and take special care of them. Remind them that although they have lost a loved one, they still have family and friends that love them.

The first year after a loss is a start of a new life. Just like walking for the first time, your loved one may feel wobbly and may fall down many times as they find their way. Have a little faith that they will find joy again – one tiny step at a time.

For Holiday Grief Support Resources, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter ! http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one. Plus You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

©2011 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 30, 2013

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Special Savings for the Holidays on Cyber Monday and throughout December on select gift items.

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html
for special offers!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Gift Baskets & Food Gifts
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Trees, Flowers & Garden Memorials
Military Memorials Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Unique Gift Items
And Much More…

For Holiday Grief Support Resources, please visit our website at
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter ! http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one. Plus You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Military Loss, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays-Cyber Monday & Special Discounts throughout December!

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 23, 2012

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Special Savings for the Holidays on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout December on select gift items.

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special offers and
discount codes!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Gift Baskets & Food Gifts
Kindnotes
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & ThrowsMemorial Trees & Flowers
Military Memorials GiftsMiscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial GiftsPersonalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Unique Gift Items And More…

For Holiday Grief Support Resouces, please visit our website at
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter ! http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one. Plus You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughtful Memorial & Sympathy Gifts for the Holidays

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 25, 2011

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Special Savings for the Holidays on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout December on select gift items.

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special offers and discount codes!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Design Your Own Gift Baskets
Kindnotes
Memorial Gifts
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Memorial Trees
Military Memorial Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Unique Gift Items
And More…

For Holiday Grief Support Resouces, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter !
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Holiday Grief Support, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

12 Simple Ways to Support a Grieving Friend this Holiday Season

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 13, 2011

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 you for 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.

 “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Leo Buscaglia

We invite you to share your holiday stories and suggestions with us on our Blog or by email at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special Holiday Sympathy Gift Ideas and Special Discounts.

 Holiday Memorial Ornaments http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts-memorialornaments.html

Holiday Grief Support Resourceshttp://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

 

© 2009 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Share Your Story, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

How to Choose a Thoughtful Sympathy Gift

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 3, 2011

The grieving process can be as unique as ones finger print. Each person brings to the journey their individual personality, their connection with the person that passed away, their religious/spiritual beliefs, their feelings about death, and their life experiences. When it comes to choosing a thoughtful sympathy gift one size does not fit all.

Finding the perfect sympathy gift to express your deep concern and provide the recipient with a lasting gift that honors the memory of their loved one, is not an easy task but not an impossible one.

As you consider what might be an appropriate sympathy gift for your loved one, here are a few things to consider:

1. What are their religious beliefs? If they are religious, take a few minutes to consider the customs and norms of their religion. Some religions have specific beliefs about giving gifts after the death of a loved one. If they are not religious, be sure to stay away from religious gifts that may offend them. Remember, this is a time to be supportive, not a time to push your own belief system.

Gift Idea: I received a beautiful Angel with a candle that includes Psalm 27: 1 – The Lord is My Light and Salvation. This Angel sits next to my bed and I am reminded that through lives ups and downs I am not alone.

2. What are the circumstances? The cause of death and the significance of the relationship between your friend and the deceased are important factors to consider when choosing a sympathy gift.

Gift Idea: A friend that lost a pet may appreciate a stepping stone with the animal’s name on it to place in their garden. A mother that is grieving the loss of her child may welcome a thoughtful journal and a personalized memory box with the child’s name inscribed. Sending flowers and being a good listener to a husband whose wife has been murdered may be the best way to offer your support.

3. What is their age? A grandmother may want a different type of gift than a friend in her twenties.

Gift Idea: When my mother passed away a good friend of mind gave me a Calvin & Hobbs cartoon book. Life was so heavy at the time that having something that made me laugh was just what I needed. I was 25 when my passed away and for me it was the perfect gift.

4. What is their gender? Gender plays a big part in the type of gift that is appropriate. A male friend may enjoy a round of golf with you much more than a candle or a piece of jewelry.

5. What do they enjoy? Try to find activities that bring them joy and help them reconnect with life. A relaxing day at a spa, an enjoyable afternoon at a baseball game, or a nice afternoon tea, are just a few gifts that you can share with your loved one.

Gift Idea: A few weeks after my mom passed away, my friends took me on a trip to Disneyland. What a wonderful gift this was to help bring joy back into my life.

6. Do they have any allergies or food restrictions? When choosing a food gift basket or if bringing food to the family, be sure to check to see if they have any food allergies or are on a restrictive diet. You don’t want to buy a bottle of wine for someone that does not drink. Or bring peanut butter cookies to someone that is allergic to peanuts.

Gift Idea: Don’t have time to cook, Sympathy Food can provide a complete nutritious meal to a grieving family.

7. Do they have pictures in their home or scrapbooks? If your friend enjoys displaying memories in their home, a personalized picture frame or a decorative scrapbook that they can keep mementos in may be an appreciate gift.

8. What type book will reach them? If choosing a book, consider the stage of grief your friend is in. The first few months after a loss can be extremely difficult and it may be difficult to concentrate. Books that are easy to digest and provide coping skills by people in similar situations may be best.

Gift Idea: I received a very meaningful, yet simple book after my mother passed called “How to Survive the Loss of a Love”.

9. Think outside the box. Gifts don’t need to be traditional; they can be as unique as your imagination.

Gift Idea: When my friend Dan passed away I could not afford the last minute airfare to attend the funeral. A friend of mind paid for my ticket using his frequent flyer miles.

10. Offer your support. Some people don’t need or want trinkets, books or movies; they just want a friend that will be there with a listening ear, a hug, and a warm heart.

Buying a special gift basket, inspirational book, customized picture frame, memorial ornament, or sending flowers to a grieving loved one can brighten their day and lift their spirits during a difficult time.

For more Thoughtful Gift ideas, visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html

© 2011 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts & Holiday Memorial Ornaments

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 26, 2010

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas

Special Savings for the Holidays on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout December on selected gift items.

 Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special offers and discount codes!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Design Your Own Gift Baskets
Kindnotes
Memorial Gifts
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Memorial Trees
Military Memorial Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts 
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Spa Gift Certificates
Unique Gift Items
And More…

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter !
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Be the Gift of Comfort, Joy and Love this Holiday Season by Lori Pederson

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 21, 2010

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone.  When you have lost a loved one, the holidays can be filled with mixed emotions of joy and sorrow.  After the loss of my mother, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were filled with a sense of displacement.  My mother always hosted the holidays at her home.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends. 
 
After my mom passed away that all changed.  The first few years were an adjustment. I was blessed to be included in my sister’s family festivities and when my dad moved back to California we were able to start new family traditions.
 
Over the holidays my home is still filled with memories of my mother’s love for the holidays.  I have combined my new holiday decorations and traditions with some of my mom’s favorites.  Making my mom’s favorite holiday recipes each year helps me connect with her spirit and makes me feel like she is right there with me.
 
As we move into the holiday season, remember that your friends and family members that have lost a loved one may be experiencing deep feelings of loss.  Be sure to take the time to connect with them and let them know that they are loved.
 
Here are a few ways to be the gift they were hoping for this holiday season: 

  • Invite your loved one to join you for 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.
  • Make a special date to go to dinner, have coffee, or to go shopping to have some private one-on-one time.  This special time will allow them the opportunity to talk about their feelings.
  • Help them with holiday arrangements.  If they are hosting a holiday gathering, offer to help them prepare the food or offer to go shopping for them to take a little stress off of their shoulders.  Ask if they would like you to prepare a favorite food that may have been a family tradition.
  • Take them out for a special day of pampering to a spa or to have a massage.  Relaxation and pampering will assist both of you with the stress of the holidays.
  • Celebrate the memories of their loved one by sharing stories and going through photo albums together.  This activity will give your friend or family member the opportunity to celebrate their happy memories. 

Having the support of friends and family during the holidays can make all the difference.  So as you are making out your To Do List for the holidays, be sure to include those friends and family members that might need a little extra love and care this time of year.
 
We invite you to share your holiday stories and suggestions with us on our Blog or by email at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special Holiday Memorial Gift Ideas.

Holiday Memorial Ornaments http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts-memorialornaments.html

 Holiday Grief Support Resourceshttp://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

© 2009 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What to Say, a website built to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.  If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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