The Christmas season is meant to be filled with love and joy, but for people who have recently lost a loved one, it can feel incredibly sombre. For many, Christmas without their loved one can be the first time they’ve ever experienced such a feeling.
A lot of bereaved families find it difficult to cope with the emptiness of spending Christmas without their loved ones and the festive cheer that surrounds the season can often make things worse. But it’s important to remember that you are not alone and there is plenty of support available to help you through the holidays.
1. Share your memories of the person who died
For most, it’s comforting to talk about and remember the loved one who has passed away – and it’s particularly easy during the holidays to do so. This doesn’t mean you have to share every single memory you have of them, but it could be something as simple as sharing a few favourite quotes or a funny story from their past.
2. Honor the person you’ve lost
Another way to honour your loved one during the holiday season is by creating a new tradition or ritual that you can do in their name. Some bereaved families choose to go to a cemetery or memorial service, say a prayer or light candles in their memory to help them feel connected and remembered during this special time.
3. Continue your loved one’s favourite Christmas traditions
Whether it’s decorating the tree, singing their favourite songs or cooking their signature dish, taking part in these traditions can help you connect with your lost loved one and celebrate their life. And it can also give you a sense of normality during the festive period, says Naomi.
4. Do something for charity
For some bereaved families, this can be a wonderful opportunity to channel their grief into a cause they know and loved. Getting involved with charity work in their lost loved one’s memory can be both therapeutic and a way to feel positive about the holiday season.
5. Listen to their favourite Christmas music
This might seem counterintuitive, but listening to your lost loved one’s favourite Christmas songs can help you feel closer to them and reconnect with the love you shared. It might be the Christmas album they always listened to or it might be their favourite song from a classic film.
6. Start a memory jar
If you’re struggling to remember the loved one who has passed away, it can be helpful to create a memory jar where you write happy memories each day until Christmas Day. You can then read these in private or with others at the festive celebrations.
7. Find a new hobby
For some, the loss of their loved one has caused them to want to get back into a hobby they had previously enjoyed. Getting started with a new hobby can be a great way to get out and about and meet like-minded people.