3 Easy Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


We have officially entered the holiday season.

Well, technically I suppose one could argue that the holiday season began in late August or early September with the first football game (isn’t football part of the holidays?), but as everyone I know is still eating turkey leftovers, I think we all can safely say we are in the midst of the holidays.

Most of us enjoy this time of the year. Sure, we may roll our eyes at minimal family drama or grit our teeth at choosing the pumpkin pie or the pecan pie (and not both!), but hopefully your holiday season is celebrated.

Or maybe – just maybe – it’s not.

Our holiday season used to involve having all the family together for a scrumptious meal and fellowship. I remember drinking wassail out of fancy pottery mugs at my aunt’s house. On Thanksgiving, my cousin’s wife and I would scan the Black Friday ads. Sometimes I’d make plans to go Black Friday shopping, but more often than not, I’d just sleep in. But scanning the ads with her was so much fun.

My dad, who worked crazy hours as a tugboat captain, would fall asleep on the couch, and someone would giggle and take a picture of him. I’d have afternoon coffee with my second (or third) dessert, and toward sunset, we’d finally all call it quits and head back home.

Four years ago, my mom’s youngest sister died right before Christmas. That was a hard holiday season for all of us.

Then my dad got sick about three years ago. His most recent diagnosis is dementia with lewy bodies. He doesn’t really go anywhere except to doctor’s appointments.

This season is so joyous – but it’s also so different when you’re dealing with loss of any kind.

Whether it is death, disease, family conflicts, job loss, or something else, the holidays may be a little more stressful for some than others. If you’re in a season where it’s easy to give thanks and the holidays are merry and bright, that’s awesome! I certainly would not tell you to hide your joy – shine it bright, my friend. And if you are in a good spot for this season, I would ask that you consider helping someone else whose holiday season may not be as merry right now.

1. Cook food.

I’m not a very good comforter. I will never give empty platitudes such as, “It’s going to be okay.” Because the truth is, especially with death, it’s not going to be okay. There is an emptiness from that person’s loss. So I usually don’t know what to say in tragic situations.

But I can cook – and I generally love to cook and bake. And when you’ve had a rough day or bad news, take it from my experience – nothing is sweeter or more thoughtful than when someone brings you a meal when you didn’t even ask for it.

2. Invite someone over.

Especially for those who have lost loved ones or are far away from family, the holidays may look bleak. Invite that person over. Not only is it a nice gesture, but also, if that person was going to spend the holidays alone, you gave that individual another option. When you invite someone to be part of your family for the holidays – again, take it from my personal experience – it’s quite meaningful.

3. Send a card.

If all else fails, a seasonal snail mail card is always appreciated. You don’t even have to say, “Hey, sorry for your loss.” Just a “Thinking of you during this season! Love you!” can suffice. After all, it’s always a nice change to get something besides bills.

Also, a call or a text is nice. I remember a friend a few years ago saying that a card or a call helps her know that people haven’t forgotten her loved one. 

One of the best aspects about this season is the opportunity to love on others. And these are just my top three go-to ideas; if you have others, please share!

We all go through periods of suffering in this life; and it’s these times when we can help those who may need a little cheer during this time of the year.