Christmas Can be Tough when Grieving

The holiday season can be incredibly difficult for those who are coping with grief over Christmas. Your loss doesn’t have to be recent for you to feel the pain of grief. Whether you have just recently lost your loved one, or it happened years ago, during special occasions it is common to feel the pain of loss more.

Expected or not, whether the person was young, old or unborn, it is perfectly normal to grieve your loss. Mourning can be felt in a variety of ways.

Coping with grief over Christmas can make you feel the loss more. This is due to the emphasis on family and friends over the Christmas period. You are likely to feel the missing piece of your puzzle at this time especially.

Turn down invitations if you need to

You need time to yourself sometimes.

If you are not feeling up to going out, allow yourself time for yourself if needed. Your caring family and friends may be making a conscious effort to keep you busy over the festive period as a way of offering support. Although it is good to be around people close to you when mourning, multiple invitations can be overwhelming and just too much to handle. Allow yourself time to feel your emotions and don’t over do it trying to please others. If you don’t feel up to the celebrations, you could suggest an alternative that is less distressing.

It is suggested to spend time with people over the festive season and ensure that you are not isolated all of the time. If old Christmas traditions are too painful for you, you could make new ones. In addition, if a certain location triggers painful memories, arrange an alternative. Self-care is essential so don’t be afraid to have your say if you are struggling.

Make sure that you don’t feel obligated to share your reasoning’s with people. Sometimes having to explain your reasons for not participating can upset you more. Simply say that you don’t feel comfortable and people will understand and arrange an alternative. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Honour your loved one’s memory

Celebrate the memories that you have with your loved one and the life that they lived. There are many ways in which you can do this:

Toast to your loved one

The festive time is filled with family and friends coming together so having a toast to your loved one helps you to feel that they are still a part of the occasion and shows that their memory will never be forgotten.

Have a photograph and candle set up in their memory

A great way to commemorate a loved one, when coping with grief over Christmas, is to set up a memorial on the day to show respect for them. This can be done by placing their photo near a festive decoration or candle so that you still feel they are with you on Christmas.

Hanging a Christmas ornament for them

Another way of coping with grief over Christmas would be to hang a special bauble or Christmas decoration in their memory. This can be a hand-me-down bauble or their favourite one. Additionally, you can get personalised ones made with quotes that are close to you or a lyric from their favourite song. You may also choose to add their picture to the ornament for a personal touch.

Make their favourite food or use one of their old recipes

If your loved one had a favourite food, make it and enjoy their favourite meal in their memory. This will help to stimulate fond memories and add a personal touch to your Christmas. Additionally, you could make a recipe that they created so that their creations are continued.

Host a get-together

Gather your friends and family and share the memories that you had with the loved one. You can all have a laugh over your times together and remember the good times that you had.

Have a moment of silence for them

You can have a moment of silence for your loved one to take time to show that you are thinking about them during the festive time. The perfect time to do this is before tucking into your Christmas dinner as the whole family will be together, supporting each other.

Create a post on social media

As technology is advancing, so are digital posts in memory of someone. Many find solace in posting some pictures of their loved ones lost, during happy occasions. This allows you to write your feelings down and open up about their memory with them.

Always be careful when on social media as it can be deceiving. Try not to compare yourself to others during this difficult time as images and posting on the web can be inaccurate portrayals of how the person behind the screen is feeling/coping. Make sure that you make time for the people around you.

Online communities

There are many online groups and communities that you can join to help share your feelings and thoughts. This can vary from sharing feelings and opening up, to adding relatable quotes, poems and memorial ideas. Opening up about your struggles and feelings with people going through a similar experience may help you to feel less isolated. Here is a link to a helpful bereavement forum.


Be patient

Finally, the most important step is to be patient and allow yourself time to grieve your loss. No matter how you lost your loved one or the circumstance of the loss, your feelings are completely valid and you should allow yourself time to heal and celebrate the life lived. During special occasions, missing a piece of your family/friend group is incredibly noticeable and you are more likely to feel the loss. This is especially the case at Christmas as it’s a time for families and friends to come together. When coping with grief over Christmas, be patient, don’t isolate yourself and let your feelings out.


For more helpful advice on what to do when someone dies, take a look at our blog page here.

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