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Lend a hand

Find a way to help

“Let me know if you need anything.” We’ve all said it at some point to a friend or loved one who is struggling. We really want to help but aren’t sure what to do. But when we make a general offer of help, it puts the burden on the person who’s already having a hard time. You can be a bigger help to your friend by just doing something—even something small. It doesn’t have to be big to mean a lot.

We asked members of our Option B community to share the small things people did for them that made a real difference during a hard time. Pick a few and commit to doing them for someone you love this holiday season. Or use this list as inspiration to come up with your own ideas. The important thing is that you take that first step and just do something.

Help with housework

1

Fix something that’s broken—or if you can’t, call a repair service.

2

Do a little yard work—rake leaves, shovel snow, spread salt or sawdust on icy walkways.

3

Make a home-cooked meal or bring food over for a holiday gathering.

4

Take their dog for a walk or change the kitty litter.

5

Help tidy some clutter or give their kitchen or bathroom a quick scrub.

6

Help your friend with holiday décor—hang lights, polish the good silver.

7

If the laundry is piling up, do a load or two.

8

Are they hosting a holiday dinner? Set the table.

Give them a break

1

Take them out to do something they love: dancing, bowling, going to a museum.

2

Invite them to join your holiday party.

3

If they have guests, take over hosting duties for a few hours—show their guests around town, have them over for coffee and dessert.

4

If they are caretaking, offer to stay at home with their loved one while they have an afternoon to themselves.

5

If your friend likes animals, bring your pet over for a visit.

6

Go on a walk or take an exercise class together.

7

If they have kids, offer to babysit, set up a playdate, or drive the kids to holiday activities.

Make sure they have emotional support

1

Call or send cards, texts, or emails regularly.

2

Listen with an open mind and heart to whatever they have to say.

3

Sit with them, even if they don’t feel like talking.

4

If they’ve lost or are separated from a loved one, be there if they want to reminisce. Share favorite pictures or memories.

5

If your friend is in the hospital, bring holiday decorations for their room.

Play personal assistant

1

Pitch in with doctors’ visits: make appointments, drive them, or just go with them for moral support.

2

Fill out medical/financial/legal paperwork for them.

3

Take their car in for service.

4

Organize their mail and bills.

5

If they don’t want to talk to anyone, offer to screen their phone calls.

6

Run errands—pick up groceries, make a trip to the drugstore.

7

Help them with holiday shopping.

8

Wrap their gifts for them.