Kay Holdren, MSW, director of Hospice Evangelical wrote some suggestions for family members facing their first major holiday season after loss of a loved one.

Holiday meals — Options include: Change the menu and make something simpler, perhaps a buffet; Change the location of the meal; Have everyone bring a dish to help spread out the work; Establish new traditions.

Cookies — Options: Buy them; Have a cookie exchange; Make cookies with others; Make two kinds instead of 12.

Gifts — Options: Shop early; Shop online; Give monetary gifts; Ask a friend or family member to assist with the shopping and wrapping.

Cards — Options: Limit number of cards sent; Send only to out of town family and friends; Write short notes and not too many at a time.

Tree decorating — Options: Get a smaller tree or a living plant; Invite family or friends to help with decorating; Decorate quietly, a few decorations at a time.

House decorating — Options: Keep it simple!

Social gatherings — Options: Accept invitations and explain you would love to come but if it’s a bad day you won’t be there; If at a gathering you need some time alone, look for a quiet room; Don’t keep yourself from having a good time.

More tips available at www.whatsyourgrief.com/64-tips-grief-at-the-holidays.

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