10 ways for coping with grief at Christmas

10 ways for coping with grief at Christmas

Christmas – the season which celebrates love and family time – can be a very difficult time of year if you have lost a loved one. Emotions will be heightened, your sense of loss can feel greater and, from TV advertising to personalised cards, there are potential ‘trigger points’ everywhere.

It’s natural to miss your loved one and want to do something to remember them but remember that it’s also ok to look forward to and enjoy Christmas Day. Here are 10 ways to survive Christmas and ideas of how to remember your loved one who isn’t there.

  1. Talk as a family to understand how everyone is feeling
  2. Some families find it useful to continue old family traditions, whereas others may choose to create a new family tradition e.g. baking a special Christmas cake together.
  3. It may be important to mark the memory of the person that has died by doing something special. This could be visiting a special place, lighting a candle, or buying a new special decoration for the tree.
  4. It might be important to visit the grave or the place where the ashes were scattered and place a Christmas card there.
  5. You could ask friends and family to write special messages to your loved one on star-shaped cut-outs and hang these up on ribbon around the home or on a tree.
  6. Ask other people for their memories of the person who died and begin to compile their ‘life story’. If family members are together at Christmas, it would be a good opportunity to record these. You could include Christmas memories, for example: ‘What was the worst or best present they ever gave you?’ ‘What was their favourite part of the day?’
  7. You could choose to eat their favourite meal – fish and chips? Curry? Egg on toast?
  8. Listen to their favourite music, or their favourite Christmas music.
  9. Make and back salt dough shapes to hang on the tree. You could decorate them with things important to the person who died.
  10. On Christmas Day itself, remember to look after yourself, if things become a bit too much, you could always find a way to take a breather. Give yourself permission to not be ok and, equally, to have fun and smile.

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