Here we are at the "Happiest time of the year" as the song goes.  And so it is in many ways; spending time laughing and singing with family and friends you love and cherish, enjoying a traditional holiday meal, perhaps exchanging gifts, creating experiences that become memories and reminiscence years from now.  It is a time when your heart is full.

It is also a time of mixed emotions for some, of sadness and gladness, memories and reflection as some work through the fact that some of their loved ones are no longer here. Sometimes these feelings are pushed behind the tree, so to say. I propose that we take time as we bless our homes and families to bless, remember and be kind to those who have suffered loss of any kind in the past year.  Not to be a 'Debbie Downer,' but to be empathetic to those who are sad, to those who may not want to ruin your holiday by talking about their sadness.

It doesn't take a lot of effort to do.  So how do you do it, you ask?  By simple gestures of kindness; a warm, sincere hug and/or a listening ear.  Let the person know you care by saying something like, "I can only imagine that it must be hard at this time without (fill in the blank)."  In acknowledging them, in embracing them and their pain, you are doing a true Mitzvah, and act of kindness, that will be forever remembered and etched in their hearts. You are giving them an opening to express feelings. It is essential that we create the space for this, because in doing so we validate and allow our friend or family member to mourn their loss and cherish the memories at the same time.  

In conclusion, the best gift at this time of year is your caring heart.  Share it with others and others will share theirs with you, and they will all overflow with love.