Merry Christmas? How do you make it through the holidays after the loss of a loved one?
This year my holiday spirit is, well less than stellar. Which does not bode well in my house since my husband is already on the naughty list for not being a fan of the holidays any year. When my cheer’o’meter is low, i can usually fill it up rather quickly. This year however, there is just nothing in the tank.
My family is dealing with loss over this holiday season. Unfortunately I have experience dealing with loss at this time of year. This will be my eighteenth Christmas without my older brother. I remember quite vividly how hard the first few were, Christmas was his favourite time of year. If ugly sweater parties were a “thing” when he was alive, he would of been the life of the party. He always was the life of the party.
It never gets any easier, it just gets different.
A few short months ago I lost my brother-in-law suddenly to brain cancer. By sudden I mean he was diagnosed on a Sunday and passed away the following Monday. No signs, no symptoms, no cure. He was 47 years old, husband, son, brother, father of two and my husbands only sibling. It was to state it mildly, devastating. Losing a sibling is not something I want to have in common with anyone.
At the time of my brothers death I had no children, I found out I was pregnant with my first child two weeks after his passing. This time there are teenagers and young children involved. Which means questions and a whole lot of them. In this time of “Festive Fun” there is also G.U.I.L.T, a whole lot of it.
“How can I smile when I just lost my dad?”
“How can I be happy when my brother can’t be here?”
“I can’t go to the Christmas party, I will bring everybody down.”
“Because Uncle Dave is in heaven does he know what Santa is bringing me for Christmas?”
Like I said, a whole lot of questions.
I am not a physiologist or expert in this field. I didn’t even really want to write this article. After all I am the “fun girl” and let’s face it, there is nothing fun about this. But it IS important, it’s important to share and know that you are not alone.
I turned to the only expert I know…GOOGLE… I read through a bunch of articles, tips, strategies and how t.o.’s. I then thought about how I have managed the holidays all these years with the feeling of loss, of something just not being quite right.
In my VERY UN-expert opinion. Here are my thoughts on how to get through the Holidays after a loss.
CRY …Cry whenever and wherever the hell you want. There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to grieve, EVER. I remember bawling, openly, at the diner scene in Christmas Vacation. Sobbing when the turkey exploded open because it was always a favourite movie of my brothers.
GIVE BACK… I think this is my favourite tip. GIVING truly heals, it will not only help heal you but it will help heal those you are giving too. If you don’t have time to volunteer, pay for someones order in the drive-through. Carry someones packages to their car. Let someone ahead of you in line. There are SO many ways to give on a daily basis…Do it all year round you won’t regret it.
BE SELFISH… I know…Kind of doesn’t quite work with tip #2. What I mean here is, take care of yourself. Get lot’s of rest, don’t try and do everything. This is a time when you really need to lean on these who love you. If the offer…TAKE IT!
Don’t SKIP it …This is important especially if you have young children involved. If there was something you did at the holidays when the person you lost was alive, STILL do it. They would want you to. It is also important to teach the kids that all the good things about that person did not die with them.
BE HONEST ..with yourself and others. There is no need to fake it here. You and others in your family are broken. There is a HUGE piece of what you knew to be so…gone. If you don’t feel like doing something, then don’t. But be sure to tell those around you why. Don’t keep it all in, let people in. If it happens to be the cashier at the grocery store who notices you openly sobbing as you pack your bags…then so be it.
The ultimate goal here is not to put on a “Brave Face” for everyone else. It is about spending the time with those you love and healing together. It’s ok to laugh, cry and get angry. You don’t HAVE to listen to carols or deck the halls. You DO however have to get up every day and participate in life. It just so happens that life around this time of year, is supposed to be a little more J.O.L.LY. If you can’t find the jolly, no worries…Start with the J…in time the rest of the letters will come.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful and J. holiday season.
“A hostess gift is a token of gratitude for the invite & all of the work your host/hostess has put into the event. Keep in mind that it is not a Thank-you for the event itself. Etiquette tells us that we follow-up with a Thank-you after the event & that should be sent in the same manner as the invite was extended. For paper invites a paper Thank-You, email invites and email thank you and so on.”
I also asked the ever Fabulous design duo Colin and Justin their thoughts on giving hostess gifts…
“When you think of all the effort your hostess is putting in to make sure you have a fabulous evening, it’s nice to take along a cute wee present. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, maybe some homemade cookies, a scented candle (a candjhome.com, candle of course!) or a lovely jar of home made jam. Just something to show you’ve thought of them and all their efforts to make you feel at home. We sometimes take a swag bag with perfume samples, candy and a lottery scratch card or two. It’s fun to be the gifter instead of the giftee!”
Here is my list of my FAVE FABOOSH Hostess Gifts for 2015…
Be sure to check out some passed lists for more FABOOSH gift Ideas.. Happy Hostess…
“Perfect gift for film buffs and a terrific twist on movie nights, Gone with the Gin is the ultimate cocktail book for die-hard silver screen aficionados who prefer to be shaken, not stirred. Included within are 50 delicious drinks—paired with winking commentary on history’s most quotable films—plus an all-star lineup of drinking games, movie-themed munchies, and illustrations throughout.”
This book adds a fun new twist on cocktail books and film books in one. The recipes are smart , easy and most entertaining to read. FAB value at 18.99$ on Amazon.ca
It is rare that I enjoy a flavored anything. I have to say, I like this Bailey’s better than the original . This has now become a staple in my Saturday morning coffee.
Well not just any beer…
Put together a basket or 6 pack of fab unique craft beers. Or beers from other parts of the world for your host to enjoy. It is always fun to try new things and so many people will not be as adventurous when buying for themselves.
Check out McClelland Imports for some more FAB beer suggestions. Also if you are in ST Jacobs be sure to check out Block Three brewing and the Elora Brewing company in Elora Ontario. Be sure to google craft brewers in your local area to see what you have available to you.
Soap Stones are handcrafted glycerin soap intended for both use and display. Consisting of all natural, vegetable-based soap ingredients, the Soap Stones are made and faceted by hand in a Brooklyn studio.
Headed to a holiday kids party… I got ya covered… I am in love with these Hair ties and hair bands made by a young lady named Story…
Story chooses different charities to donate portions of her profits too..can you say.. TAKE MY MONEY!! For more info and to order email firstname.lastname@example.org …Delivery is included!
If you are headed to my house for a party these top my gift list..just saying…
If you are pinching your dollar and Scents… (see what I did there…)
I love me a good Caesar and it all comes down to the Mix.. and my go to is Walter’s All Natural Mix … Small batch with NO Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), artificial colors, and Glucose / Fructose (high fructose corn syrup) …Makes drinking healthy..right?
Unicef has 14 Survival Gifts available all under $20 These are more than just gifts, they are small miracles. You can send things like bed nets, anti-malaria drugs or pencils for a school. Simply buy your hostess one of these little miracles and you can send her an e-card or their is even a printable card you can take to the party with you…I gaurantee it will be the best holiday gift and one your hostess will never forget..
What is your favorite hostess gift to give or receive…?? I am always looking for FABOOSH ideas…CHEERS!
Over the past few months Canola Eat Well for Life has been traveling across Canada cooking up a storm from coast to coast. I had the great pleasure of hosting the grand finale at Olde Bridge Place in my kitchen with some amazing people and an FABOOSH baker.
Cook book author Charmain Christie known as The Messy Baker joined us to give us the 101 on baking with Canola.
We set on a an afternoon journey of baking 6 amazing recipes all using Canola…
The Messy Baker used the Canola in these recipes like you would any other oils or butters. No fancy changes had to be made and the finished products were just FABOOSH. Not to mention that Canola is a good fat. Love the ‘Fat Chart’ they provide on their site. They also have a very handy Canola Oil baking conversion chart...Which is great when you avoid doing math at all costs like myself.
Here is a fun chart I now have posted in my pantry for easy use.
The day was filled with tips, tricks and so much knowledge. Both about baking and Canola itself. One of my faves came from The Messy Baker herself.
“If you’re baking with sticky ingredients like honey or molasses, measure the canola first, but don’t scrape it all out. It will grease the measuring cup so that the sticky ingredient slides right out.”
So simple right! This will save me so much frustration and RE-washing of measuring cups. I knew Canola was a healthy choice in my cooking but had no idea it was versatile in baking.
Another thing I learned that day is that not all Canola is created equal. Just like many oils and fine wines there are different grades of Canola and we had the pleasure of baking with some Pristine Gourmet Canola that is a pure virgin oil. This oil has a more robust flavour and is a favourite for chefs. It has the lowest saturated fats of all oils and can be used in raw or cooked recipes.
And what is a party without GAMES…
I love learning new things and today was all about the “Canola Crush”..Which is a simple as it sounds. You crush the Canola seeds and VOILA..You have oil. And we could not have asked for a more picturesque place to do it than on the front lawn of Olde Bridge Place on the banks of the Grand River by the Kissing Bridge.
Look at this crew of freshly inspired Canola bakers… HUGE thanks to Canola Eat Well and Charmian Christie The Messy Baker…We are all ready to head into the holiday season inspired to make delicious and healthier treats for our loved ones.
This would not be a proper baking post without sharing some screen licking worthy pictures of our finished products…