I'm sitting here... in a quiet house. Staring at the Christmas tree glowing in the dark living room. December always seems like the hardest month to get through. It's a tough time of year when loved ones who aren't with us, either spiritually or physically, are missed. Our family has dealt with both... The absence of a loved one who had passed and making it through the holidays with the kids' dad being deployed. These empty seats at our Christmas tables are hard enough for us as adults. But how do they affect our children? Here are some different ways you can help children deal with the absence of a loved one during Christmas time.
Read some books about death and grieving written just for kids.
Write letters as a family for that special someone.
Create a new tradition in honor of your loved one.
Do a random act of kindness or make a donation to a cause your loved one supported.
Purchase an item your loved one would have appreciated and donate it to a local charity.
Donate altar flowers to your church in your loved one's name.
Dealing with a deployment? Use these tips to make it through the holidays.
Light a candle or display a photo of your loved one during holiday get-togethers.
Have a moment of silence before eating in your loved one's honor.
Talk with your children about how they're feeling. Let them know that it's okay to be sad. Share each other's happy memories of your loved one.
Turn your loved one's belongings into gifts for family. They can be teddy bears made from old clothing, shadowboxes, or even jewelry made with their signature.
Make a memorial ornament in honor of your loved one to hang on the tree each year. It doesn't have to be serious, either. Did Grandma have a penchant for feeding the neighborhood squirrels? Hang a silly squirrel ornament in her memory every year.
Leave an empty chair at the dinner table in their honor.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of your families during this holiday season. It's not easy, but you will make it through. You have the strength for this...