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Christmas, a time of joy and celebration, is also a time when the absence of a loved one can be felt most intensely. Navigating the holiday season for those who have experienced the loss of someone dear can be bittersweet.

The holiday season is synonymous with joy, warmth, and gathering loved ones. But for those who have experienced the profound loss of someone dear, Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions. It leaves a void that no amount of tinsel and lights can fill.

Nick, who once travelled over 900km to be with us during this particular season, is no longer physically present. However, through heartfelt rituals and intentional remembrance, we’ve found solace in celebrating his memory. Here, we share five ways to honour a lost loved one, celebrate their memory and keep their spirit alive during the festive season, along with insights on navigating the complex emotions that may arise.

5 WAYS To Remember

Hang Their Stocking or Holiday Decorations.

As you embark on the festive journey, include your departed loved one by hanging their stocking or incorporating holiday decorations that hold special significance. This tangible acknowledgment of their absence can be a cathartic step in recognizing the situation’s reality while keeping their memory alive within the holiday traditions.

Hang their stocking alongside the others or place a unique ornament bearing their name in a prominent spot. This simple act can be a comforting reminder that they are not forgotten.

Choose a Special Ornament for Your Tree

The Christmas tree, adorned with twinkling lights and cherished ornaments, becomes a focal point for family gatherings. Create a lasting tribute by selecting or crafting an ornament that symbolizes your loved one’s personality, hobbies, or interests. Consider incorporating a photo of them into a handmade decoration, like we did with Nick. Every year, as you hang this special ornament on the tree, it becomes a cherished moment of connection, allowing their presence to be felt amidst the holiday cheer. This is our way of ensuring he has a visible presence, even in his physical absence.

Make Their Favourite Holiday Recipes

Food uniquely brings people together even across the boundaries of life and death and evokes memories and emotions. Keep the spirit of your loved one alive by preparing and sharing their favourite holiday recipes. Gather family and friends to cook and enjoy the dishes they loved, sharing stories and memories that celebrate the joy they brought to your lives.   Create a sensory experience that brings you closer to the joy they once shared. Invite others to join in, turning cooking into a communal celebration of their life.

Donate to Their Favourite Non-for-Profit

Continue the spirit of giving in honour of your lost loved one by donating to a cause they were passionate about. Whether it’s a local charity, a cause close to their heart, or a not-for-profit organization they supported, contributing in their name positively impacts their memory.

Donating to their favourite not-for-profit is a powerful way to honour their legacy and continue the impact they had on the world. Giving can provide a sense of purpose and connection, mitigating the sorrow with a positive contribution.

Continue Their Favourite Holiday Traditions.

If your loved one had specific holiday traditions they cherished, consider keeping those traditions alive. Whether watching a favourite holiday movie, carolling, or engaging in a particular festive activity, carrying on these traditions can create a sense of continuity and connection to the past.  These rituals can bridge the past and the present while fostering a sense of continuity.

Dealing with Emotions:

The holiday season can intensify emotions, making acknowledging and navigating the feelings that arise crucial. Allow yourself the space to grieve, and don’t shy away from seeking support from friends, family, or a counsellor. Share stories about your loved one, reminisce about happy times, and embrace the mixed emotions accompanying these conversations. By honouring the pain and embracing the joy of memories, you create a more holistic and healing approach to celebrating Christmas without a loved one.

While the pain of losing a loved one never truly fades, finding ways to celebrate their memory during Christmas can provide solace and even moments of joy. Hanging a stocking, adorning the tree with a unique ornament, cooking their favourite dishes, supporting their chosen causes, and continuing beloved traditions are potent ways to remember and honour the ones we’ve lost. In these acts of remembrance, we discover that love transcends time and space, and our departed loved ones can still be present in our hearts, especially during the magic of the holiday season.

Celebrating Christmas after the loss of a loved one is an emotional journey. Even time does not erase the hurt and loss we feel, but it’s a time that can be filled with love, remembrance, and a deep sense of connection. By incorporating these meaningful gestures and addressing your emotions with compassion, you can create a holiday season that pays homage to the particular person you’ve lost while finding solace in the enduring love and memories they left behind.

If you are struggling at this time,  it’s OK to reach out and speak to someone, or the many organisations that are available to help you work through what you are feeling.


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