Easing Your Concerns About the Holidays

  • Ask yourself questions to help you identify and face the specific feelings you have about the coming holiday. Questions could include:
    • “Which traditions will be different this year?”
    • “Which traditions are important to maintain?”
    • “What plans do I have on that day?”
    • “What do I dread the most about the coming holiday?”
    •  “What will I miss the most about not having my loved one here on that day?”
    • “How do I plan to take care of myself on that day?”
  • Consider having an “escape plan” in place. If you plan to attend a family or group gathering, you could make arrangements with the host/hostess ahead of time to be excused if needed. This plan involves an acknowledgment of the grief process, while also avoiding potentially awkward situations with others.
  • Volunteer to help others in need on that special day. For instance, working in a soup kitchen or at the Salvation Army.
  • Have a candle-lighting ceremony with your family or close friends to remember lost loved ones. As each person lights a candle, he or she may share something meaningful about the loved one. People could also share a picture, song, poem or a tangible item that was special to the loved one.
  • Plan a night of remembrance not only in honor of your lost loved one, but including other friends who have lost a loved one. Provide ornaments or have people bring a special ornament to hang on the tree in remembrance of their lost loved one. Invite people to share a special Christmas memory about their loved one.
  • Read a book such as The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions by Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries.

Adopted from Grief Share.  Copyrighted by Church Initiative