Michael Jackson and his mother Katherine were extremely close

As they approach the six-month anniversary of their father's death, Michael Jackson's children are having karate lessons to help them cope with their grief.

The martial arts classes aim to boost their self-esteem and teach them leadership.

Prince, 12, Paris, 11, and Blanket, seven, will need all their strength at this time as, in a sad twist of fate, Christmas Day is exactly six months since the pop singer's tragic death.

The children won't be celebrating this year, unlike previous times when their father lavished them with gifts.

But Christmas at their grandmother Katherine's house in Encino, California, will be a low-key affair involving a quiet family meal, with all the Jackson clan in attendance.

‘It was always one of Michael's favourite times of the year, when he really enjoyed giving the children all the things he wasn't able to get when he was growing up,' a source tells Now.

‘Even if it wasn't this awful anniversary, it would be a very subdued affair as their grandmother Katherine- who they live with - is a devout Jehovah's Witness and Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate Christmas.

‘Most of the family, including Michael's sisters and brothers, will go to Katherine's house on the day. They'll have a meal and lots of songs around the piano.

‘But they won't give presents and the children's biological mum Debbie Rowe won't be invited - she'll never get to spend Christmas with her kids. The family would never allow it.'

The Jackson's
attorney Brian Oxman tells Now: ‘The family will be together for the holidays. They aren't celebrating Christmas because they're Jehovah's Witnesses, but they gather under one roof to commemorate the occasion. It's not a happy time for any of us. We're all grieving. But the family's bonded together and are doing everything they can to support each other.'

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Chris_White@ipcmedia.com

See the full story about Michael Jackson's children in Now magazine dated 28 December 2009 - out now!