Remembering People at Christmas

| December 23, 2015

Today I have a post that isn’t light and fun. It’s a post about the people we need to keep in mind this holiday season–the people we don’t want to fall through the cracks at a time when they need our support.

Family Deaths

Don’t forget your friends and family who have lost loved ones. Maybe it’s obvious when it happened last week, but don’t forget that there are people still missing their son who died 3 years ago, their father who died last month, their sister who died 4 years ago, their grandmother who died last year, their mother who died when they were still a child, the husband they lost to war, the Christmas-adoring wife and mother lost 3 years ago. These family members used to be sitting next to them at the table on Christmas Eve, or rushing in to open presents from Santa, or handing them a special gift. A season of joy can become a time of heartache for those who have lost someone dear to them.

Don’t worry about whether or not you think they want you to say something. Don’t worry that you’re reminding them of something painful. One of the things that people fear, is that their loved one will be forgotten. Don’t forget them.

Deployed Soldiers and Their Families

There are families who are separated because someone has signed up to serve the United States of America. People who are in harm’s way at this very moment, and people who aren’t in combat but are stationed halfway across the world. There are children whose mom or dad won’t be there with them at Christmas. There are mothers and fathers who will miss their baby’s first Christmas.

It’s hard on those in the field–they’re feeling so alone. They’re relying on whatever contact they can make, care packages and cards from strangers, and their colleagues, to get them through the loneliness. It’s hard on those at home, as well. Reach out. Help the wife who has been stressed out, alone, as she tries to put together a wonderful Christmas for her children while she misses her husband’s warm touch; be there for the family who is celebrating their first Christmas without their 19-year-old kid who is no longer a kid, as he sits on the battlefield; send a card to the troops, whether it’s someone you know or not. Thank them for their service. You don’t have to agree with the politics of sending troops to war to remember this: People volunteer to serve the nation so that you don’t have to be drafted to do so.

Soldiers aren’t the only folks who deploy–government employees and contractors find themselves across the world from the people they love. Their families miss them as much as they miss their families.

All of these people deserve your appreciation and support.

The Divorced

Christmas is family time. There’s nothing like watching the joy on your kids’ faces as they open their gifts. But what about the father living 6 states from his children; the mother whose son is with his dad this Christmas; the kids who want to be with both parents but can’t?

Families torn apart by divorce have a hard time during the big holidays. Days that once included family traditions are now a time of separation and loneliness. Reach out. Say hi, invite them over, send them a Christmas card, email them, whatever you can do. They’re feeling alone. Let them know they’re not.

Low-income Families

There are kids who won’t be opening presents on Christmas morning. While children all over the world are tearing open their gifts, tossing their new football in the yard, and texting their BFF on their new iPhone, there are kids who will spend Christmas like every other day of the year: poor.

Donate to Toys for Tots; volunteer at a homeless shelter; participate in a program that sends care packages to low-income families; buy a gift for someone you know won’t have gifts under the tree. Christmas isn’t something that rich kids deserve and poor kids don’t.

Other Folks Working to Serve You

Don’t forget all the people who are on duty and on call over the holidays. The 911 operator who is there to take your call; the volunteer firefighter who just jumped up from the dinner table to respond to a fire; the police officer patrolling your neighborhood.

Wives are worrying about their husbands, who just rushed off to fight a fire; mothers are worrying about their on-duty police officer sons; and there are kids who don’t get to read The Night Before Christmas with their mom because she’s working a shift in the ER. These days, there are also retail employees who are missing Christmas Eve dinner so you can grab that last-minute item. Let these folks know that you appreciate them.  Don’t say, oh, it must suck to work–say, I appreciate you.

Remember all of these people as you sit down for dinner. Think of them as you open gifts. Let them know you love, appreciate, support them. 

And have a Merry Christmas.




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Category: Author Blog, Ex-pat Parenting, FAMILY, In Germany A Broad blog, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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