It’s that time of year again when we send holiday cards to friends and family. And you’re stressing about what to say in your card when someone’s grieving. You wonder if you should send your yearly “family newsletter” – the one intended to catch everyone up on what’s going on in your life. You know your friend’s first Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas without their beloved will be heart-wrenching. Floodgates of grief will tear holes in their emotions. And you don’t want to add to their burden. So, here’s a simple template you can follow to send a holiday card that’s comforting and inclusive.

Use a bookend approach.

Start your card by acknowledging the truth of their situation.


 As this “First Christmas” arrives without the earthly presence of _______. There will be moments of tears and hopefully joy. May you find moments filled with love and cherished memories.

Next, let them know you’re including your family newsletter because they’re a part of your community.

I’ve enclosed our “family newsletter” because you’re a dear friend who’s part of my circle. I’m holding you in my heart as I send this letter to share our family trials and triumphs of the year.

Finally, close with a blessing.

May your ______ holiday be filled with Love. I’m deeply grateful that you’re in our lives. Sending Peace and Blessings as you surf the waves of grief this Christmas and in the year to come.

In Summary

By first acknowledging the truth of the situation, then sharing the triumphs and tragedies of the year, and finally closing with a blessing the message is book-ended by love. Most importantly, listen to your heart. If you feel your family news would cause too much pain, leave it out. But do send a card letting your friend know you care. Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you, Georgena

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