The Holidays are a time of joy, celebration and gathering of family and friends. But what if someone close to you has recently died or is terminally ill? For those of us who have experienced a recent loss of a loved one, the Holidays can be an especially difficult time.

I am often asked “What can I give to a family in honor of a loved one lost? There are many thoughtful Holiday gestures that I have seen over the years – a plate of Holiday Treats favored by the loved one, a donation made to his/her favorite charity or a special ornament hung on the Holiday Tree.

Following is a web site to stimulate gift ideas or simply do the job for you. The Comfort Company was founded ten years ago by a social worker. Renee found that people are often perplexed by what to give a grieving person or family so she created a business that does just that. The site also contains helpful links for sympathy messages and quotes to help with writing condolence cards.

The most important thing to do at this time of year for a grieving family is simply remember. This can be a very isolating and sad time for the surviving family and friends. They might really appreciate you dropping by simply to reminisce and share stories. A woman who lost her husband a few years back said, “Just hearing friends mention his name brought enormous joy into my saddened heart during this difficult time of year.” Almost any gesture you make will make it a little easier for those left behind.

May your Holidays be filled with love, compassion and gratitude.