With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, the holiday season is officially underway. Amidst the hustle and bustle, it's important to remember that this time of year doesn't bring the same excitement and anticipation for everyone. For some, it's a reminder that a loved one is no longer with them. Others may be going through a tough time, like a serious illness, and the thought of tackling all of the additional holiday tasks seems (and may actually be) impossible.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own lives, we don't take the time to notice those struggling around us. This year, let's remember those in our lives who may be in need of a helping hand. You have the chance to put some of the joy back in their holidays while enjoying the true gift of giving yourself.

One of the biggest tasks to check off your friend’s list is likely buying gifts. We’re all strapped for time during the holidays. The added stress of your friend’s situation makes this all the more difficult. Here are four specific ideas that you can use to make holiday gift giving easier for your friend.

Plan a shopping date

Set a time to go shopping. Your friend will enjoy being able to get out and pick gifts for everyone on her list. Remember your friend’s energy level and don’t expect her to be able to trek all over the city to find everything! This is a time to focus on helping your friend crossing things off HER list. Be sure to stay focused and don't plan to do your own shopping at this time.

Take the kids!

Even the littlest elves like to help with shopping! Take the kiddos to get gifts for parents, siblings and other loved ones. Grab some wrapping paper while you’re out and help the children wrap their gifts before returning home. Don’t forget to remind the little ones about secrets and surprises!

A special gift for the Caregiver

Offer to relieve the caregiver to allow time to get shopping done! Help make the list and then make the list happen! Maybe your friend or their caregiver isn’t able to get out to shop, but they might appreciate if you are able to run some errands for them. Be specific when offering to help. Tell them you are going out to do holiday shopping and would love to have their list to help them out. Tell them the time and general locations you will be visiting to shop. As you shop, remember to ask for gift boxes and gift receipts. And don’t forget to help with stocking stuffers!

Wrap it up!

Plan a gift wrapping party. Bring gift wrap, scissors, tape and any extra boxes to wrap all the gifts for your friend. It will be an added bonus to have the shopping done AND the gifts wrapped.

If you're in need of gift ideas, check out this 2019 gift giving guide from Real Simple. This list shares ideas to cover just about everyone on your friend's list.

If you're looking for more ways to help a friend who may be grieving this holiday season, you may find this article from Refuging Grief or this one from What's Your Grief. Both of these organizations are dedicated to the needs of grieving children and families.