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Posts Tagged ‘online sympathy gifts’

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.

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Posted in Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Share Your Story, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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 »