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“Happy holidays” might ring hollow this year, especially for people who are dealing with hardship. Instead, try saying, “I’m thinking of you this holiday season.” Or ask an open-ended question, such as, “How are you feeling about the holidays?” Even if you aren’t sure what to say, just starting a conversation can make a world of difference.
Questions like, “What can I do?” are well intentioned, but they leave it to the person having a hard time to tell us what to do—which can feel like an additional burden. Instead, step up with a simple gesture. You could mail a handwritten card, deliver groceries or a meal, or stop by to help rake leaves or shovel their driveway.
Sometimes the best way to show someone you care is to support the people and causes that are important to them. That might mean donating to their favorite charity, dropping off a box of books and toys for their kids, or helping them assemble a care package for a relative they’ve been worried about. These acts can go a long way toward showing a friend or family member you’re on their team.
If you can’t be with loved ones in person this year, set aside time to talk about something you’re excited to do together in 2021—and then put a date on your calendars, even if it’s tentative. Having something to look forward to will make it easier for everyone to get through hard moments during the holidays.
To show up for others, you need to take care of yourself—and that’s especially true this year, as we’re all navigating the holiday season amid loss and uncertainty. Make time for activities you enjoy, and accept help when it’s offered. You can also try journaling as a way to process your feelings.
According to our recent research, 8 in 10 people faced a significant personal challenge in 2020. But in the midst of hardship, we’ve built resilience by showing up for each other. Nine in ten people provided meaningful support to someone else this year—and 7 in 10 feel better prepared to handle new challenges as a result of the difficulties they’ve faced.
You can show your loved ones you’re there for them—even if the holidays aren’t totally happy—by sending an #OptionBThere card, developed in partnership with PAPYRUS and Emily McDowell & Friends