The holidays have a way of magnifying our loss and can be a difficult and confusing time of year. “What to do? How to act? How to wake up and seize the day?” are just a few of the thoughts running through our widowed brain. With Thanksgiving kicking off the rollercoaster ride we’re all on this holiday season we thought we’d put together a list of ideas and things to do to make this time one you can enjoy.
o Bake Goodies to Donate to a local organization or charity that is helping to feed the needy this holiday season.
o Having guests over? Ask them to each to bring clothing, books, canned food, etc. and donate them to local shelters (women’s, homeless, animal).
o Deliver or hand out food for a local church, VFW hall or hospital or shelter.
o Volunteer in a Thanksgiving Trot or local festivity that may be going on that day.
o Host local military personnel that may not have a place to eat.
o Visit these sites:
§ www.volunteermatch.com is a great resource to find something in your area.
§ www.craigslist.com >community section also is a good site to find volunteer opportunities.
Give Thanks…to yourself and others
o Go to www.legacy.com/soldier/home.aspx and leave a message to a stranger who made the ultimate sacrifice as well, or visit www.letssaythanks.com and send a free postcard to military members serving overseas.
o Start a Gratitude Journal. It’s pretty simple. At the end of every day, write down five things that have made you happy or appreciative that day; not necessarily big things, even small ones count. For example: 1) nice weather, 2) being thanked by a customer at work, 3) my pet, 4) having people who love me, 5) or a funny joke to tell everyone.
o Be grateful for old traditions but don’t be scared to start new ones. Ask your kids or friends if they have an idea.
§ Here’s a site that has ideas on starting new traditions on Turkey Day: http://aginggrandparents.suite101.com/article.cfm/new_thanksgiving_traditions
o Don’t feel pressured to celebrate if you’re not in the mood. Be thankful that you recognize your boundaries and know that there are not right or wrong decisions. There’s only the decision to follow your heart and what you can bear.
o During Your Holiday festivities, go out by yourself or with your children and pick out a candle. Square, round, scented, unscented, whatever you like, and light it at dinner or whenever you choose, as a representation of your loved one who can’t be there. Light it when you miss him, light it when you feel him, light it when you need to feel the glow of his love.
o Write a message to your hero of all that you are thankful for that he made possible or did to make your life better. Tie it to a balloon and send it up to him.
o If you’d like, you could do an empty place setting for your loved one at the photo, as they do at military balls and other military functions. Here is a link to read more about it:
And Most Importantly…..Relax
o Stick in a favorite movie or go to your local theater.
§ Visit http://www.google.com/movies to find your local showtimes.
o Hog down on turkey, stuffing, and pie till you pass out, while watching the Macy’s Day Parade on TV.
o Not cooking but still want a Thanksgiving Feast? Cracker Barrel and Denny’s are two spots open that day that serve all the fixings and more. Check your local newspaper for other places in town that may be doing the same.
o Don’t want a Thanksgiving meal? McDonald’s is open for all your Big Mac and french fry needs. Also, Chinese Take-Out is a sure bet on this day as well.
o Pick out an outfit to go shopping in on Black Friday and buy yourself a gift for surviving your 1st, 5th, 20th….Thanksgiving without your hero. You deserve it.
o Cry, scream, laugh, sleep…. Do whatever you need and remember to breathe.
Other Useful Links and Articles:
Thanksgiving Day on a Dime:
What to do with your leftovers:
Thanksgiving Day Games and Crafts: