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6 Christmas Traditions that Honor Someone Who Died


The holidays are all about spending time with the people you love while taking part in your favorite traditions. From decorating the tree to baking cookies to caroling, these moments are what make this time of year so special.


But after a Loved One dies, your traditions can change. You may start gathering at a different family member’s house to open presents or you may not have certain get-togethers at all. You may even begin entirely new traditions that honor your late Loved One while keeping their memory a part of your festivities, like:


Hanging a Memorial Ornament on Your Christmas Tree

The Ornaments you hang on your Christmas tree help tell the story of you and your family. They remind you of your favorite memories and connect you with the people you love the most. Hanging a Memorial Ornament that is engraved with your late Loved One’s fingerprint and name on your tree can help you continue to feel them with you during this special time of year.


Visiting a Light Display in Their Hometown

If you are able to travel or live close to your late Loved One’s hometown, consider visiting it over the holiday season. Spending time in the places they enjoyed—like at their favorite Christmas light display—can help you to feel close to their memory while making new memories for yourself.


Watching a Christmas Movie that Reminds You of Them

For many families, gathering to watch a Christmas movie is a beloved tradition—one that you can continue even after a Loved One is gone. This year, choose to watch their favorite movie together as a group with others who miss them. As you do, you can find comfort in the familiar story you used to share with your late Loved One.


Giving a Gift in Their Memory

Doing something kind in your Loved One’s honor is a beautiful way to memorialize them during the season of giving. Consider giving a personalized gift to another grieving family member or donating to your Loved One’s favorite charity.


Enjoying Their Favorite Holiday Treat

The holidays are known for Grandma’s sugar cookies, Dad’s pecan pie, and Aunt June’s dipped candies. If your Loved One is no longer around to make their favorite treat to share, their absence can feel even bigger. Thankfully, you can help keep their presence near—and share it with those who mean the most to you—by baking their favorite Christmas treat once again for everyone to enjoy.


Having a Moment of Reflection

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can feel overwhelming to anyone. If you’re grieving, this time of the year can be even more difficult. Stop and reflect on how you’re doing. This can be during a quiet moment at home, church, or even while you’re running errands. As you do, remember that it’s okay to take a break from holiday obligations and focus on self-care. Sometimes, it’s the best gift you can give to yourself.


The Holidays Won’t Be the Same Without Your Loved One, That’s Okay

Grief will change the way you experience the holidays, whether it’s your first year without your Loved One or twentieth. It’s normal to miss the seasons when you were together and to be sad that things are different now. But by starting new traditions that honor and remember the people you miss, you can find comfort in knowing their spirit is still with you during the Christmas season and all year long.