Grief during the Holidays

“ Christmas comes every year, whether we’re ready or not. Joyous though

the season may be, it also brings its own challenges and stresses. And

when one is dealing with the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be

especially difficult to deal with, and impossible to celebrate.

It’s important for those grieving to acknowledge, respect, and

respond to their sadness, even amidst the festivities—and to remember

that they can still observe Christmas in ways that recognize and

commemorate both the season and their grief.”


 10 Simple Ideas to Help You Through Christmas Grief

  1. You don’t have to face your grief alone.  You can turn to loved ones for companionship and comfort.
  2. Seek a balance between time alone and time with others.  Moments of solitude are helpful, but isolation isn’t. Reach out to a friend when you just need to talk.
  3. When you’re feeling low, a simple diversion can be good for the spirit.  Watch a movie or curl up with a good book if it suits you.
  4. Attending a children’s Christmas show at a local school might bring a smile, and that’s not a bad thing.
  5. Serving those less fortunate at the holidays helps us recall our blessings, even at a time of loss. And our loss gives us extra compassion for others who are hurting.
  6. Some days, putting one foot in front of the other is all you can . But it’s enough. Go for a long walk when you’re feeling down.
  7. Christmas worship services are filled with warmth and color that can soothe a hurting heart.   Ask a friend to accompany you to a service.
  8. Remember that it’s okay to change or even skip some traditions this year.  If you’d rather wait until later to exchange gifts, loved ones will understand.
  9. Find a way to memorialize your loss this Christmas.   It could be as simple as putting a loved one’s name on a stocking and hanging it on the mantle. Or perhaps you’ll want to plant an evergreen in the garden.
  10. A gift in your loved one’s name to a charity will help needy families express their love to their children at the holidays, and it will help you feel better, too.

Source: “Grieving at Christmastime” An Elf-Help  book

Resources during the Holiday Season

“Holiday Grief: When The First Holiday Is NOT The Worst Holiday”
Article from the website: “What’s Your Grief”
Read the full article:

The following publications are available at Hospice Huntsville:

A Not So Jolly Christmas

Author:  Dr. Bill Webster
This 16 page booklet suggest why Christmas is so difficult and provides several ”Helpful Hints for Handling the Holidays”. We have put high expectations on Christmas as the ”season to be jolly” and when THIS Christmas is different because someone we care about is missing, we struggle with our feelings.

CareNotes Publications:

How Christmas Memories Can Bring Healing to Your Grief 
Author: Karen Katafiasz

How Holiday Traditions Help Heal Your Grief  Author: Daniel Grippo

Celebrating Your Last Christmas with a Loved One  Author: M. Donna MacLeod

Coping with Holiday Stress  Author: Therese J. Borchard

Christmas: A Time to Remember Those We’ve Loved and Lost
Author: Patricia Normile