Preparing for Your First Holiday Season without a Loved One
The holidays aren’t always the most wonderful time of the year--especially when they are the first you won’t be able to share with your Loved One. Grief doesn’t end just because the calendar shows a particular date. That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself for a holiday season that will be different than any other.
In the days leading up to and surrounding Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and other special dates for your family, take some time to reflect on what the weeks will hold and how your recent loss will affect them. We hope that the following ideas can help bring you peace and comfort as you begin preparing to face your first holiday season without your Loved One.
Remember to Give Yourself Grace
First and foremost, you need to be kind to yourself during this difficult time. Prioritize your mental health by slowing down and giving yourself the space to feel your emotions as they happen. Know that your grief will appear unexpectedly as you are reminded of your Loved One and that it is okay to pause any festivities for as long as you need to process what you’re feeling.
Find Comfort in Family Rituals
There is a certain type of comfort that can be found through partaking in family traditions. In fact, performing the same rituals your Loved One enjoyed—like cooking their favorite food, playing their favorite game, or decorating the tree—can help you continue to feel close to their spirit. You can also help their legacy live on by teaching these rituals to a new generation of family members.
Start a New Tradition
Along with all of the familiar traditions from years past, new ones can help you honor and stay connected to a Loved One who is no longer with you. Consider starting a new tradition of visiting their grave before attending a holiday church service with your family or inviting a new friend to join in at a meal at your home in their place.
Keep a Physical Reminder of Their Presence
When we lose a Loved One, sometimes the only thing we want to do is hold them close again. Memorial Keepsakes can help create that tangible connection. Consider personalizing a Keepsake Christmas Ornament engraved with your late Loved One’s fingerprint so that their presence will be ever-present during your holiday season.
Acknowledge the Loss
Part of healing from loss is acknowledging that your Loved One is no longer with you. You can do this in a meaningful way during the holidays that helps bring comfort to both you and those who join you. Take a few moments to make a toast to your late Loved One or share your favorite holiday memories together with your guests.
Give a Gift in Their Name
One way to help your Loved One’s legacy live on and spread some goodwill during the holiday season is to do something positive in their honor. You can make a donation in their name to their favorite charity or even give other grieving family members the gift of Fingerprint Jewelry engraved with the lines and grooves of your Loved One’s print so that they can feel comforted by their memory.
Allow Yourself to Feel Joy
Even in your grief, you can still find joy. Instead of feeling guilty for enjoying yourself, know that your Loved One would be so glad that you are happy. Allow yourself to take a deep breath and appreciate the goodness in the moment and memories you are creating during this special time of year.
Reach Out for Support
There are people available for you to talk to and who will support you—even during the holidays. If you would like to talk to someone about your loss, consider joining a grief support group in your area, meeting with a therapist, or simply grabbing a cup of coffee with an understanding friend. Always remember that you are not alone in your grief.
It’s Okay Not to Celebrate the Holidays After a Loved One Passes Away
Even though they are meant to symbolize comfort and joy, the holidays can be extremely hard for those who are grieving. If you need to, take a step back from the festivities this year. You can choose to attend fewer gatherings, scale down your family celebration to be a quiet movie night at home, or forgo all activities and focus on other projects or hobbies that help ease your mind and heart.
We understand that the holidays can be difficult, especially after a Loved One has died. If you are grieving, please know that you have our sincerest sympathies. We hope that you can continue to feel comforted by your Loved One’s presence during this season and all of the ones to come.