2 New Traditions Can Make the Holidays Less Lonely


At holiday time when we're supposed to be feeling joyous, many people are instead feeling lonely, depressed and grief-stricken. Adding to their pain, people who care about them might not understand or recognize their plight or know how to help.

Mary Lee Robinson, a certified grief expert, author, and editor of a lifestyle magazine for widows is encouraging people to start two new traditions this year.

The first is something any family can do: include neighbors, friends and other non-family members in your holiday traditions if they don't have anyone to celebrate with. This Set-an-Extra-Plate Initiative is something she has been practicing for years. She says, "My family tradition was to embrace our solo friends on holidays and include them in our celebrations. It was about remembering and acknowledging everyone. It was about understanding that not everything was 'all about me.' It was the very soul of being inclusive. My husband and I had a next-door neighbor who lost his wife and all four sisters within a year. He and his daughter were estranged. Directly across the street was an elderly spinster with no family. Both of them were painfully lonely and we enjoyed having them as guests."

The second tradition is one lonely people can carry out for themselves and comes courtesy of Robinson's friend Pat, who found creative ways to handle her late-in-life loneliness. Robinson says, "Pat takes a long drive, sings some songs in the car, and says a few prayers. She also makes some Christmas preparations for herself that are just brilliant!"

Pat goes online to buy gifts for herself and uses the gift-wrap service. She fills out the cards with messages like "you've been such a good girl this year, Pat!" or "Santa loves you, Pat and you deserve this!"

Robinson says, "What if we started a new tradition, a DIY initiative? We could send ourselves a gift or two from our missing loved one. We know exactly what they would say. What if we sent ourselves gifts to unwrap in the morning and the card was signed by that special person and the message was in their voice?" More about that here: Self-gifting can help alleviate holiday loneliness

She points out that gifts don't have to be extravagant, maybe a new lipstick, or a good book." It's about filling the bottomless void and feeling their presence with their small presents. It's about not feeling so empty and alone. It's about still feeling the love...because that never dies," Robinson says.

About Mary Lee Robison

Author, blogger, grief coach and widows advocate Mary Lee Robinson edits Widowlution Online Magazine and teaches grief healing on LifeCoachHub. Suddenly widowed in 2013, she found few resources available to help heal her broken heart; she felt compelled to work on behalf of the widowed to fill the gap in support for the grieving. She is the author of six books.

Contact: Mary Lee Robinson, 843-421-5338; [email protected]




About the Author

Mary Lee Robinson was widowed suddenly in 2013 and found herself totally unprepared for what was to come. In a new state for a mere 11 months when her husband died, there were few supportive friends or family around. She set about creating some, and started a social club for widows and widowers in her community. Within a year, it had grown to 170 members. That told her quite a lot about an unmet need. She gathered 25 widows and widowers to write a book to share their stories, and the surprises, good and bad, that they all encountered as members of the club nobody wants to join. It is her hope, and that of the other storytellers, that the books help prepare and educate.  Mary Lee lives in the Low Country of South Carolina, caring for her Mom and is a native of Towson, MD, just outside of Baltimore. Her constant companions are her dachshund and rottweiler dogs. Mary Lee Robinson is the author of The Widow or Widower Next Door and 5 of the Grief Diaries series books, all of which are available right here in The Grief Toolbox in her marketplace https://shop.thegrieftoolbox.com/category/store/mary-lee-robinson. You can find more of her work on her Widowlution blog, practical tips for healing and living, at www.widowlution.com and on her Facebook page for widows at The Widow or Widower Next Door.