This is the season when many of us rush around before we slow down. We scurry about buying gifts and attending holiday events. When Christmas Day arrives, the bustle has usually calmed and we sit and enjoy quiet moments around the tree.
That may represent your reality this year. But what if I told you that someone close to you is experiencing the opposite? The rush is doubled. The scurrying is frantic. The quiet is anything but peaceful, if it ever comes at all.
For a caregiver, this is often their holiday reality.
But here’s the good news: you have the power to ease some of their burden this season. As they care for another, you can care for them.
Here are some practical ideas of how to do that.
1. Check in with a phone call or text.
This is the easiest place to start. It’s pretty simple. Touch base to let them know you’re thinking about them and praying for them.
2. Decorate their space.
Caregiving demands a lot of time away from home. Putting up decorations might be on their to-do list, but life has other plans. Show up at their house to put up their Christmas tree and decorate it. If they’re spending the holidays away from home, take several strands of twinkle lights and drape them around their room at the hospital, nursing home, or care recipient’s home. A small, tabletop Christmas tree is another easy add-on. If you decorate their house, check in after the holidays to help take the decorations down.
3. Get baking or gift-wrapping supplies at the store.
Caregivers may have traditions they want to continue, but it’s hard to get to the store for supplies. If they love to bake, offer to do their shopping and bring the ingredients to them. If they’ve done online shopping or have a pile of gifts to wrap, bring the tape, scissors, and wrapping paper to their home.
4. Sit with the care recipient so the caregiver can go to church.
Caregivers often are under such demands that it’s hard to step away even for a few minutes. Offer to sit by their care recipient’s side so they can attend a Christmas Eve service. That hour away may seem small, but it’s huge in refilling the caregiver’s energy tank.
5. Give a thoughtful gift.
There are all sorts of gifts that could boost a caregiver’s holiday. Practical ideas include gift cards, snack bags, or comfy socks. You could lift their spirits with a bouquet of flowers or an encouraging book. (Prayers of Hope for Caregivers is a perfect giftable read.)
No matter how busy your holidays, remember those who may not have a normal Christmas this year. The simplest gesture can mean the world to someone who is pouring out everything they have.
photo by Jana Bishop