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Celebrating the Holidays After
the Loss of a Loved One

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Celebrating the Holidays After the Loss of a Loved One


The holidays are a usually a time for fun and celebration, but when you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, the festive season can be difficult.

You may find some solace in acknowledging your loss during the holidays and special occasions by embracing the good memories, rather than focusing on the grief.

It may provide you with a deeper sense of connection and comfort to attend a memorial service at your local funeral home. You can also light a tribute candle at home and remember the good times that you shared together when they were alive.

There are different ways that you can remember and honour your loved one during the holiday season. You can keep the holidays the same, try something entirely new or combine old traditions with new ones.

Keep the Same Traditions

You may find it comforting to stick with your regular holiday traditions. Continue to do what made them love the holiday as a way to keep their memory alive.

Combine Old With New

For some families, making a few changes to traditional festivities helps everyone to better cope with the absence.

For example, if you and your spouse always had a big tree and lots of presents, even after the kids left home, instead try a simple wreath and a few well-chosen gifts, or make a donation to charity in your family’s name.

If dinner is always at your house, ask another family member to entertain this year. You can also bake their favourite dessert as a way to share the holiday with them.

Throughout the season, make an effort to accept invitations to holiday events. You may be surprised by how an evening out can lighten your spirits even while you are missing someone special.

Develop New Traditions

You may find it difficult to celebrate the holidays when you have experienced the loss of a loved one.  Things have changed and the holidays will never be the same as they once were. Making a change to your holiday traditions may bring you some comfort.  

You can create new traditions and memories by trying new things and planning new activities. For example:

  • Volunteering can be a good way to feel connected and your help will be greatly appreciated. Volunteer at your local food bank, soup kitchen, church group, animal shelter or homeless shelter. It may become tribute to your loved one.
  • Go out to eat or invite friends over
  • Go the theatre or see a movie
  • If you prefer not to stay home during the holidays, you can always take a trip.
  • Treat yourself to a spa day, massage or whatever you enjoy doing that helps you relax.

While the holidays can be lonely you don’t have to feel alone. Take it one day at a time. Focus on understanding what your needs are and meeting them.

Categorized under: events, grief

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