How to Ensure a Festive Season for All

By Lisa McPhee, Open Arms Content Writer | December 22, 2023

gift boxes with red baubles on top

The holiday season often brings joy and cheer, but for those battling or living with illness, it can be a challenging time. Whether your loved one is facing a temporary illness or a long-term condition, making them comfortable during this festive period is a heartfelt gesture that can brighten their spirits. Here are some simple yet thoughtful ways to ensure your loved ones continue to feel cherished and supported during the holidays.

Firstly, communication is key. Reach out and ask how they are feeling. A genuine, private conversation can mean the world to someone who might be feeling unwell or isolated. Take the time to listen attentively to their concerns and offer your support. Sometimes a sympathetic ear can provide huge comfort during tough times.

Moreover, adjust your plans to accommodate their needs. Understand that they may have limitations due to their illness. Consider hosting gatherings in locations that are easily accessible or more comfortable for them. Ensure the environment is conducive to their health, perhaps by minimizing noise or providing a quiet space for rest if needed.

Furthermore, small gestures can make a big difference. Sending a handwritten note, a thoughtful card, or a care package filled with their favourite things can bring immense joy. Consider including items that provide comfort, such a cozy blanket, soothing teas, or a good book. These thoughtful gifts show that you’re thinking of them and wishing them well during the holidays.

During holiday gatherings, be mindful of their dietary restrictions or specials requirements. If they have specific dietary needs due to their illness, ensure there are suitable food options available. This thoughtful consideration will make them feel included and cared for during the shared meals and celebrations.

Offering practical help can also alleviate their stress. Whether it’s helping with chores, running errands, or providing transportation to medical appointments, lending a hand can ease their burden. Sometimes, the simplest tasks can become overwhelming for someone dealing with illness and your assistance can make a significant impact.

Additionally, encourage them to participate in holiday activities at their own pace. Respect their boundaries and don’t pressure them to engage beyond their comfort level. Whether it’s joining in a game, watching a holiday movie together, or simply enjoying quiet moments of conversation, let them take the lead and participate as much or as little as they desire.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, offer emotional support. Understand that the holiday season might evoke mixed emotions for someone grappling illness. Be there to provide empathy, comfort, and companionship. Share stories, reminisce about happier times and remind them that they are valued and loved.

In conclusion, the holiday season is about spreading love and joy, and there’s no better way to embody the spirit of the season than by supporting and comforting those who are unwell. By offering your understanding, time, and thoughtful gestures, you can make a significant difference in the lives of your ill friends and family, making their holiday season a bit brighter and more comfortable.

How can Open Arms Advocacy Help?

We advocate for a wide array of patient issues from emergency room care, senior care, women’s health, mental health, and acute care to medical fatalities. We help patients get a second opinion, find a physician, place a complaint, or access medical documents. Open Arms also helps families of patients with guidance, support, and resources to get the answers they require.

If you need a patient advocate, please contact us at or fill out our intake form.