Grieving During the Holidays

How do we cope with missing people and holiday traditions from seasons past that are no longer in our lives?  Experts on grief typically stress that everyone grieves in his/her own way, and it’s okay to accept and respect whatever feelings you may have.  Below are some suggestions to assist you in managing your grief during the holiday season.

  • Plan to do only what is special and meaningful to you.
  • Don’t stifle emotions. Set aside time to experience sadness and anger.
  • Be truthful about your feelings when asked.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell family members that certain traditions will be too hard.
  • Decide if and/or how you want to honor your loved one.  Plant a tree, pass along an heirloom to a family member, volunteer in your loved one’s name, write notes and put in stocking to remember and reminisce.
  • Share memories with family and friends.  Embrace the laughter and tears.
  • Parties can be exhausting- but if you do decide to go, don’t feel guilty if you enjoy yourself.
  • Grief is a physical experience for children.  Lighting candles, drawing pictures, decorating photos, making food, or contributing in some way to the overall ritual can be helpful.
  • Bring some Christmas into your line of sight, even if it’s just something small.
  • Seek help from a professional.  If your feelings are too intense and affecting your ability to function, a professional counselor can offer great support and assistance.
You may be tempted to skip the holidays or declare your home will be without celebration this year.  Don’t succumb. You can pass up on the extras of the holidays, but don’t miss the promise of the season.


Written by: Ann Sheerin, LPC