Coping with Grief at Christmas and the Holidays: Honoring Loved Ones and Spreading Comfort

connecting during difficult times holiday celebrations memorable events memorable moments Dec 19, 2023
Girl grieving loss during the holiday season

 In Memory and Making Holidays Memorable

The Christmas and New Year Holidays trigger a range of emotions for all of us, ranging from excitement and joy to depression and sadness.  Regardless of how we're feeling, these holidays come every year and must be dealt with, one way or another. This year may be an especially difficult one for some if they have recently lost a loved one.  This may even be one of those years for you.  

The holiday season can be a challenging time for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Amidst the celebrations and festivities, feelings of grief can become even more pronounced. 

  • How do we deal with it (holidays and the expectations that come along with it) ? 
  • What is the best way to manage our feelings while tending to our ongoing responsibilities and commitments? 
  • How may we turn this bitter time into a time of healing?  and the beginning of something good and new?

In this blog post, we will explore ways to cope with grief during the holidays, including finding comfort, honoring our loved ones, and supporting others who are also grieving. Let us remember that this season is about love, hope, and joy, and that we can find solace in the gift of God's love.


1. Finding Comfort and Encouragement:

During times of grief, it's important to seek comfort and encouragement. Turn to Bible verses that offer solace, such as Psalm 34:18, which reminds us that God is close to the brokenhearted. Share these verses with others who are grieving, reminding them of God's love and presence during this difficult time. Additionally, find comfort in personal prayer, meditation, or engaging in activities that bring you peace and comfort.  For some, activities can help get one through this emotional season.  Instead of internalizing too much, consider what you may do for others.  


2. Honoring Loved Ones:

One way to cope with grief during the holidays is by finding creative ways to remember and honor our loved ones. Consider setting up a special memorial space in your home, adorned with photos, candles, or meaningful objects that remind you of them. Light a candle in their memory during holiday gatherings or create a special ornament to hang on the tree. You can also honor their memory by continuing their traditions or engaging in activities they enjoyed during the holiday season.

For our family, along with the traditional turkey and ham for holiday meals, we include cooking meatballs and spaghetti sauce using Gino's mom and grandmother's recipes.  The family time in the kitchen preparing the meal, the aroma of the sauce simmering over the stove, and our loud conversations bring so much joy and remembrance of family members who are no longer with us here.  We're comforted with the thought of them smiling at our activities that are in honor of them and knowing that they are being remembered.

With our smartphones, surely you have photos that bring back treasured memories and happy moments.  When was the last time you did something with them, other than looked at them and went on to look at the newest ones?

Here's an idea, one that I enjoy putting together and am always super pleased with the reactions I get when I deliver them:  Create a music video using your photo selection.

Here's an example of a video I produced for a friend's celebration of life for her husband:

If you'd like to explore ideas for memorable activities or creating a memorable event with your family, 
Connect with us.


3. Spreading Comfort to Others:

While tending to our own grief, it's essential to remember that others may also be grieving during this season. Reach out to friends or family members who have experienced loss and offer your support. Simple gestures like sending a heartfelt card, sharing a comforting Bible verse, or offering to listen can make a significant difference. Remember, lending a compassionate ear and acknowledging their pain can bring comfort and healing.


4. Embracing the True Meaning of the Season:

Amidst the grief, it's important to remember the true reason for the season - God's gift of love and hope to the world: 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) 

Embrace this message and find joy in celebrating the birth of Jesus. Attend church services, participate in acts of kindness, and engage in activities that reflect the spirit of love, hope, and joy. By focusing on the true meaning of Christmas, we can find solace and strength during times of grief.



Coping with grief during the holidays can be challenging, but by finding comfort in God's love, honoring our loved ones, and supporting others who are grieving, we can navigate this season with grace and strength.

Remember, it's not about us, but about the gift of love, hope, and joy that God has given to the world.  May this season be a time of healing, remembrance, and celebration of the lives and legacies of our loved ones.

For ideas and help in creating memorable activities that honor your loved one, this is one of our specialties.  Connect with us.

May you find comfort and hope throughout this holiday season.


Additional resources for coping with grief during the holidays:


Excerpt from the Focus on the Family blog, "Handling the Holidays After Loss" by Nancy Guthrie. 
Click the title to read the full blog.

Holidays raise hard questions for grieving families.

How do you get a Christmas tree without Dad, when he always picked out the best one? Can a child find a gift for Dad without Mom there to help? How does a wife get through New Year’s Eve with no one to kiss at the stroke of midnight?

There are no simple answers, no easy ways to get through these important, memory-laden days. But there are a few things that can help bring back some joy amid the sadness.

Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13

Excerpt from the Focus on the Family blog, "Coping with Christmas After the Loss of a Child", by Rhonda Robinson.   Click the title to read the full blog.  

Five Ways to Cope With Grief at Christmas

  1. Consider switching out an event with something that honors the memory of your child
  2. Give a secret gift to one of your child’s friends
  3. Donate to a local charity in his or her name
  4. Buy a special candle and light it
  5. Spend a quiet day at home

Surviving your first Christmas is major. You are free to do what feels comfortable to you.

After all, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Christmas, especially when you are just trying to cope.

Remember, routines and traditions are in place to serve us–we do not serve them. It is all right if you decline invitations.

Throughout history, death and bereavement were given the honor and respect it deserves. Women wore black, sometimes for years. They were not expected to attend parties, social gatherings, nor host them. Sadly, in our pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps culture, we’ve lost this tradition.

You might find well-meaning friends and family members want to pull you out of the house to help cheer you up. What most don’t understand, is the time of mourning–even through the holidays–is part of your healing.

You don’t have to accept invitations or go to the office party.

The weight of grief is draining. If you are more tired, want to go to bed earlier, or fall asleep unexpectedly, this is normal. That’s why it’s important not to expect your body to handle the added stress of extra socializing.

It’s okay to avoid crowds and celebrations.


To connect with your personality strengths and gain a deeper understanding of what and how you bring them into your relationships, you may like to consider having a discovery session with me (Sandy Goe).  
Connect with us.