Losing someone you love at any time of year is never easy, but around Christmas, when everyone else is jolly and having fun, it can be especially daunting. Whether they died around this time of year, or they loved Christmas and the holiday brings back memories, many people in society struggle to feel the festive cheer while they’re still grieving.
For many people who have lost friends or relatives during the festive season, Christmas can have a negative association that can make it a painful and difficult time, even many years after their loved ones have departed.
After all, there is no set timeline for grief, and it can last for years or even decades, depending on a range of factors, such as their relationship to the deceased. Everyone also experiences grief differently: for some, it’s ongoing, and their dear departed loved ones are constantly in their thoughts. For others, the feelings come and go, and small reminders can bring back floods of memories.
So, if you know someone that has lost a loved one around Christmas, then you need to be prepared to help them get through the festive season and make them feel as supported and comfortable as possible. That means creating a tailored approach that suits them and finding ways to help them enjoy the holidays and remember their loved ones.
Here are some practical ideas to help you be considerate and kind to those who are coping with grief over Christmas. Everyone is different, but this list should help you to find some ways to support the ones you love who are dealing with grief during the festive season.
Include Their Departed Loved One In The Celebration
Often, the hardest thing about spending Christmas without someone you love is that they’re not with you to share in the joy and celebrations. To help your grieving friends or family members to feel like they’re including their departed loved ones even after they’re gone from this world, you could consider getting a memorial ornament to hang on the tree. Heart to Heart Sympathy Gifts offers an extensive range of memorial ornaments that can be personalized, making them the perfect lasting reminder of a loved one during the festive season. These ornaments can be used every year and make a beautiful addition to any tree or festive display. Check out their full range at hearttoheartsympathygifts.com. With so many options to choose from, you’ll easily be able to find one that suits their tastes and perfectly encapsulates their late loved one’s personality.
Give Them A Memorial Gift
A gift that’s both a sweet present and a memorial to their dear departed loved one can be a thoughtful way to show you care this Christmas. There are many types of gifts that can be a great way to immortalize the departed, such as a photo album, a compilation of their favorite songs or even a piece of jewelry with a reminder of their loved one on it. With so many options, you can find a bespoke memorial gift that will fit into your budget and give someone you know and love a great way to remember someone who is no longer with us. A memorial gift can help you to show that you care and understand how much someone is going through, making it a thoughtful option. It will also be better than a generic present, particularly if the grief is still fresh. Take the time to explore your options and consider what the recipient might want to get them the perfect token to remind them of their loved one when they unwrap it.
Donate To Charity In Their Memory
If you’re not sure what gift to give that can help someone to cope with the loss of a loved one, then you might want to consider donating to charity in their name. Donating to a good cause in the name of someone who is no longer with us can help to do some good in the world and show your friend that even though their loved one is gone, their name lives on. When choosing a good cause to donate to, consider one that is linked to their passions or to any ailment that might have caused them to pass on. You’ll then be able to make a difference in their name and provide the evidence as a unique gift to your friend or family member during this difficult time for them. Many charities offer certificates to show that you’ve donated in someone’s name that you can print out and share with them. If you want to donate more money, you could request a plaque to share their name and act as a physical reminder of their legacy.
Offer To Join In On Their Favorite Traditions
For many people who are grieving during the holidays, it can be incredibly upsetting knowing that their loved ones won’t be there to enjoy the activities that they loved when they were alive. To keep their memory going and make things easier for those who are grieving, consider offering to keep their traditions alive by joining in on favorites from the past. This approach will help the grieving to make new memories and connect with old ones. Some people who are grieving might struggle to articulate what they need or how much their traditions mean to them, so be patient with them and take the time to listen to their reminisces. When making this offer, be careful to be sensitive and make it clear that you’re not usurping their lost loved one. If they don’t feel comfortable, then be respectful of this. Everyone handles grief in their own way, so be understanding and try not to push too hard if someone isn’t sure about reinstating old traditions after a loss.
Suggest New Traditions
While reliving the past and remembering someone who’s gone is cathartic, making new traditions and creating fresh memories can help people who are grieving to live in the moment and find new joy. So, as well as offering to reinvigorate old favorite Christmas traditions, consider suggesting new ones. For example, instead of a trip to a favorite pub on Christmas eve, you could propose the idea that everyone stays at home and makes a festive cocktail instead. Alternatively, instead of offering a substitute, you could suggest a new pastime for Christmas day to go alongside old favorites, such as playing board games or listening to carols on the radio. These new traditions can help the grieving to remember the good old days and try something new that could help them to move forward. When choosing new traditions and suggesting them, think about what everyone enjoys and how you can integrate the memory of the deceased into your plans. An example of this might be if someone used to love singing, you could suggest a carol concert, which could become a new festive tradition that you do to honor their memory and spread some festive cheer.
Light A Candle In Remembrance
One tradition that might be a great way to honor the departed is to start lighting candles in their memories. Lighting a candle to remember the dead is an age-old tradition in many cultures and religions, and it can be cathartic for anyone who has lost a loved one recently. At Christmas, candles are prevalent, both in homes and places of worship, as they are cozy and warming, as well as being significant for many traditions. If you and your grieving friend are Christian, then you could consider lighting a candle in remembrance at a church service. For those of a different faith who simply enjoy Christmas or those who have no strong religious beliefs, you could light a candle at home in remembrance. It could be an ordinary candle that you have and enjoy the scent of, or you could buy a special candle with a specific scent the deceased used to love. There are even candles that can have names inscribed on them to make them more special. You can then light these candles and burn them to remember those you and those around you have lost.
Listen And Be Respectful Of Their Feelings
As simple as it might sound, just being there for your friends and family members while they’re grieving or reliving old memories can be a great way to connect with and support them. All you need to do is listen and encourage them to share their memories if they’re comfortable. Always offer a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear, to help them get through this tough time. By being supportive, listening and using the other tips in this article, you can make your grieving friend or relative feel more comfortable and happy during the festive season, despite their loss. It might take time, but eventually, they’ll come to feel more comfortable and have a more positive frame of mind around Christmas moving forward.