As the song goes, the holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year” for many people. However, for those who lost a loved one, the holiday season lacks the usual joy.
The first holiday without a loved one may feel different and confusing. Annual traditions are disrupted without the physical presence of a loved one. But by creating new traditions, families can honor their loved one’s memory while coping with grief.
Coping with Grief
The first year without a loved one is often the hardest, and it’s even more difficult during the holidays. Remember, it’s okay to not feel up to all the holiday events, but it’s also important not to isolate yourself. Only do what you feel up to, and it’s okay to sit some events out if you need some time alone to grieve. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, so it will be different for everyone.
During the holidays, there may be added pressure to feel joyful, but you don’t have to be happy all the time. It’s okay to cry and show your emotions; it’s a completely healthy and normal way to grieve your loss. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself and ask for help if you need it. Your family members can lean on each other for support and grieve as a family while you’re together for the holidays.
The holidays also bring with them the added secondary losses of annual traditions with your loved one. The holiday traditions won’t be the same without them, but you can create new traditions that honor their legacy.
Traditions You Can Do Together
Creating new traditions to honor your loved one can help you feel their presence with you during the holidays. They can be passed down from generation to generation so your loved one’s memory lives on forever in your hearts.
Below are a few ideas:
- Volunteer together in your loved one’s honor, such as at your local nursing home or hospital.
- Visit your loved one’s gravesite or memorial site and leave some flowers.
- Donate to an organization or cause that your loved one was passionate about.
- Look through old photos and share your favorite stories and memories of your loved one.
- Bake your loved one’s favorite holiday treat.
For some more ideas, check out this holiday memorialization article!
Mementos to Honor Their Memory
You also can create meaningful mementos to remember your loved one by. It’s a little something to honor their memory while easing your grief and helping you feel close to them.
Below are a few ideas:
- Creating a memorial ornament in their honor. Check out this holiday grief article for some instructions!
- Make little mementos to give to your family members, such as bookmarks with your loved one’s name on it.
- Give everyone one of your loved one’s items, such as jewelry or small trinkets.
- Decorate a memorial candle and light it in your loved one’s honor.
- If you’re already looking through old photos, why not put together a beautiful scrapbook?
What other ideas do you have for coping with grief during the first holiday without a loved one? Share them with us in the comments!