Grief can become more prominent at Christmas. If you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, the Christmas period can feel particularly difficult to handle. It’s commonly a time for friends and family to gather, so if anyone is missing from your life, their absence will be more obvious during the festive period.
Finding a way to properly memorialise your loved one with unique memorial gifts can help you to cope with your loss and find closure. The first Christmas without your loved one is often the most difficult, but over time you will learn to create new traditions that help you to cope with your grief.
If you’re looking for inspiration, support and gifts to remember a loved one, we can help. Consider these simple ways to remember your loved ones at Christmas.
TAKE GRIEF AS IT COMES
Grief doesn’t follow a schedule or a timetable. A huge part of moving on after losing a loved one is accepting that your grief will progress at its own pace. Christmas can derail your grieving process by shining a light on what you are missing, or it can help you to come to terms with your loss for the exact same reason.
You might feel a rollercoaster of emotions throughout Christmas, including joy, sadness, anger, fear and relief. Learn to accept emotions as they arise. Remember that Christmas without your loved ones will never get easier, but you will find ways to manage your grief.
TALK ABOUT IT
When you’re experiencing grief, it can feel like the rest of the world has continued without you. And if you talk about your grief, you’re just dragging people back to your level. Most people don’t mind talking about grief, and some even find it helpful if others express their feelings first.
Talk to your friends and family about what you need from them and what they can do to make your Christmas a little easier. If they are also grieving, they might have some requests from you, too.
SET A PLACE AT THE TABLE
A simple tradition that can help you to feel closer to your loved ones is to simply leave them a space at the table. This allows you to acknowledge their absence without feeling overwhelmed by the sadness of an empty space at the table.
Setting a place at the table also allows those present to talk about their feelings without feeling they are upsetting anyone. The place is set intentionally, and so those left sitting at the table can acknowledge it without risking upsetting anyone.
ADD A DECORATION TO THE TREE
If you want to feel like your loved one is still part of the festivities, adding a special decoration to the Christmas tree may offer some comfort. We specialise in glass Christmas memorial decorations that contain a sprinkle of ashes. This can provide a great deal of comfort for those suffering a loss. We have lots of memorial gift ideas that can help you to find closure.
Moving on after losing a loved one depends on the ability to be able to create new traditions. Making a tradition out of adding your loved one’s Christmas ornament to the tree can be incredibly helpful.
ENJOY THEIR FAVOURITE SONGS
Attempting to avoid Christmas music is a losing strategy. Instead, lean into the grief and enjoy your loved one’s favourite Christmas songs. It can be bittersweet to enjoy things that you know brought someone a lot of joy.
By leaning into the memories, you are less likely to be caught off guard when you aren’t expecting it. The same goes for watching their favourite Christmas films or engaging in any other Christmas traditions. Some days you will feel like avoiding them, and some days you will feel like leaning into grief.
CREATE A MEMORY WREATH
Wreath making is a time-honoured Christmas tradition. Making a memory wreath is a beautiful way to honour your loved one and start a new tradition in your home. A memory wreath contains photos and mementoes that remind us of those we have lost. It is a deeply personal piece of decor that can bring a lot of comfort over the Christmas period.
Making a memory wreath is also an excellent way to take a trip down memory lane. The act of making the wreath and then hanging it up in your home will provide a much-needed dose of joy whenever you need it.
HANG A CHRISTMAS STOCKING
The fireplace can look bare with one stocking missing, so don’t stop hanging their stocking once they are gone. Some days it might bring your overwhelming sadness to see their stocking, but it may also bring you comfort.
You could also write a letter to your loved ones and leave it in their stocking. Invite other friends and family to do the same. Every year, you can bring out their stocking and see the letters increase with every passing festive season.
LIGHT A CANDLE
Your act of remembrance could be as simple as lighting a candle in their memory. Candles are deeply symbolic and can be seen to keep away the darkness and bring light into your home. Choose a scented candle in a scent they loved to feel even closer to your loved one.
VOLUNTEER IN THEIR MEMORY
Christmas is the ideal time to give back to your community. Bring your friends and family together to support a cause that your loved one supported. This could include helping the homeless, visiting the elderly or even working with animals. Volunteering can help you to keep distracted and focus on something other than your grief.
HAVE A CHRISTMAS TOAST
When your friends and family are all gathered together, it’s the ideal time to propose a Christmas toast in your loved one’s memory. It’s the ideal opportunity to reminisce and share memories about your loved one. Sharing new experiences with your friends and family can help you to cope with your grief and find closure. While Christmas will always be a difficult time of year, you will get through it, and it will get a little easier every year as your grief becomes more manageable.
By Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. I seem to be falling apart. My attention span can be measured in seconds. My patience in minutes. I cry at the drop of a hat. Feelings of anxiety and restlessness are my constant companions. Rainy days seem extra dreary. Sunny days seem an outrage. Other people’s pain and frustration seem insignificant. Laughing, happy people seem out of place in my world. It has become …