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Option B There For the Holidays

One of the best gifts you can give this holiday season is to be there for friends and loved ones who are separated from family, coping with loss, or going through other challenges. Small gestures of love and support—from heartfelt cards to thoughtful conversations—go a long way.

One of the best gifts you can give this holiday season is to be there for friends and loved ones who are separated from family, coping with loss, or going through other challenges. Small gestures of love and support—from heartfelt cards to thoughtful conversations—go a long way.
How the holidays can feel

The holidays can be especially hard for people going through tough times

For those who’ve experienced hardship, this season can be more emotionally challenging than other times of the year. You can’t change what your family and friends have been through, but you can give them your love and acceptance.

Why it matters

Many people who’ve gone through hardship still associate the holidays with joy and excitement, but they’re about twice as likely as others to feel sad, lonely, and worried as well.1

Why we don’t reach out

The most common reason that people don’t reach out to loved ones during the holidays is that they don’t know what to say or do.2

How to help

It doesn’t need to be perfect to show that you care

While most people know someone who has experienced hardship, few make a special effort to support them during the holidays. Even if it’s tricky to find the right words, saying something is always better than saying nothing at all.

Try these conversation starters to let your loved ones know it’s okay to share their true feelings. Or find a way to help with this list of small things you can do to make a big difference, sourced from the Option B community.

See all resources

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Show them you care

Small gestures of love and support go a long way during the holidays

You can show your loved ones you’re there for them—even if the holidays aren’t totally happy—by sharing an #OptionBThere card, developed in partnership with PAPYRUS.

Just show up

Just being there can be the most helpful gift of all

They might seem small to you, but tiny gestures that remind people they’re loved can make a world of difference. You can even find ways to be there when you’re far away. Or browse the stories below to see what worked for others.

What helps the most

The majority of people experiencing hardship say it would be helpful if their loved ones spent time with them.3

Looking for more advice on how to support your loved ones this season? Sign up for tips delivered to your phone or inbox.

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Support yourself this season

You deserve to make the holidays what you need them to be

If the holidays are hard for you, you’re not alone.

Support groups

Join an Option B group to connect online with people who understand what you’re going through.

Learn more

Encouragement and tips

Sign up for emails or texts with tips on coping during the holidays or inspiration from the Option B community.

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Expert advice

Browse our online library of what’s worked for others. A good place to start: the holiday bill of rights.

Explore

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to SurveyMonkey for conducting the online poll about how the holidays feel for people who have been through hardship—and how we can all be there for one another during this time of year.

Footnotes

  1. This SurveyMonkey and OptionB.Org poll was conducted online from September 19–21, 2018, among a total sample of 2,082 adults age eighteen and over living in the United States. Respondents for this survey were collected using SurveyMonkey Audience. Audience members are recruited into the panel from the millions of diverse SurveyMonkey surveys delivered every day in the United States since 2011, and they take surveys in exchange for a fifty-cent contribution to a charity of their choice. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus three percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age eighteen and over. Learn more.
  2. September 19–21, 2018, SurveyMonkey and OptionB.Org poll.
  3. Ibid.