Bring Healing to Your Grief With Christmas Memories
Thursday, November 18th, 2010



Christmas and grieving don’t fit together. Christmas is supposed to be joyful, lively, cheery, warm, and filled with family and friends. Grief, on the other hand, is a painful, difficult and often lonely journey that can shake you to your core.


The reality is that when you have lost a loved one, grieving becomes an inseparable part of your Christmas celebration and remembrances. For the first year, the death of your loved one will affect your usual family traditions and celebration in many significant ways. Grief is an extended journey, and as you face a second Christmas, then a third, and later ones, too, you realize that the holiday has been changed forever by your loved one’s death. During what used to be among the happiest times of the year, you’re feeling a persistent ache in your heart.




The comforting and wonderful fact is that within Christmas itself lies a powerful way for you to move through your grief. Your memories of Christmases past can soothe your hurt, make the spirit of your loved one present and help you integrate your loss into your life. Here are some suggestions for using your Christmas memories to heal your grief:


•     Accept the memories as they come; your first impulse may be to avoid memories altogether. Thoughts of your loved one as part of past holiday festivities may seem nearly unbearable at first.

•     Memories point us forward as well as back. Through memory, you evoke the joy you once knew, and remembering helps you heal and travel a healthy grief journey.

•     Plan a remembrance ceremony or find a special way of honoring your loved one.

•     Share favorite holiday stories or memories with other family members.

•     Look at photos or videos from past holidays, do some reminiscing.

•     Serve that person’s favorite food or holiday dish.

•     Offer a toast; say a prayer or blessing at the start of a family meal.

•     Hang a stocking for your loved one; pin a picture on the outside and let family include notes of remembrance to be put in the stocking.

•     Hang a special ornament.

•     Light a candle at home or in church.

•     Adopt a needy family or donate to a favorite charity in your loved one’s memory.


Let your remembrances give you hope that someday you will move through your grieving and know joy once more. Be comforted by the Christmas message of life and grace, and know that your loved one’s spirit endures. Let Christmas be a gift for your grief.


Some content used from “How Christmas Memories Bring Healing to Your Grief” by Karen Katafiasz

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