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Shopping and Grieving During the Holidays

One of the most stressful parts of the Christmas, Hanukkah and the holiday season is shopping for gifts but when you’ve experienced a loved one’s death, it seems almost unbearable.

Family and friends are still expecting their gifts and it is difficult, especially for little ones, to comprehend that somehow you decided to sit out this season. So let’s look at a few shortcuts to keep this task managable.

Online sites are by far the most efficient use of your time, your energy and your sanity. You sit, do some surfing, find what you want and presto, it shows up at your door. What a blessing the internet is for grieving-stricken folks. More sites are offering online deals than before and if you order from one site, chances are your shipping will be limited or perhaps zero.

Catalogues…same premise. Flip, choose, order by phone or on the web.

If you need to go to the mall, be prepared for the holiday music, the crowds, the lines, the hectic pace and of course, the people. Let’s take one at a time…

The holiday music can flip you back to a time when the person you loved who has died was shopping with you and perhaps you were singing that song together. Maybe you sang it in the car with the children. Either way that memory can pop up and you well up with tears or feel tightening in the chest.

Crowds…you’ll have less tolerance for nonsense now. Expect it. Crowds don’t seem to fit in the picture. You’re just trying to keep your emotional balance and don’t need the pushing and shoving and diving into piles of clothing for the best bargain…get the picture.

The lines…you don’t have as much patience as you normally would so long lines trying to get to a cash register is really the job of a good friend who goes to the mall with you.

The hectic pace…same issue with the crowds. This year your tolerance is low and rushing around trying to get everything done when you’re energy level will be low to begin with, can be a difficult task.

People…this might sound like a funny one, but think about this. You’ve lost your husband, sometime since last Christmas, and here you are walking in the mall, you sit to have coffee. As you begin the people watch, since you’re staring into space, you glance over to see a couple about your age who is embracing. Ouch.

Or you lost a child this year, you’re walking through one of the major department stores and unaware you walk right past the little girls’ section. It occurs to you that you won’t need to buy anything in that department this year. Double ouch.

Now that you know some of the ‘hazards’ you can be prepared. It’s more about being aware of what can occur, so you won’t put yourself into a position where you’ll be surprised. Just a little thoughtful planning will help make shopping this season more bearable.

Take the time to listen to your heart and obey what it’s telling you. If you can’t do any of this, have a friend or family member help. If you need to limit gift giving, that ok too. Just communicate it all beforehand to your loved ones. You’re gonna make it through!! Promise.