Getting through the holidays

    Grief and the holidays


    The holiday season can be particularly difficult for people who are grieving. As the whole world seems wrapped up with joy and frivolity, the bereaved person can feel out of place. 

    Snowline's Bereavement Team has gathered ideas to help bereaved individuals make the holidays a bit more manageable. Many of the these suggestions are based on experiences of other bereaved persons. Download Checklist >

    • Understand and communicate to those around you that this year is different as a result of your loss. You will exhaust yourself if you try to pretend nothing has changed.
    • Decide how much of your normal holiday routine you feel up to doing this year. It is okay to alter you traditions. Review the attached checklist for ideas on specific tasks.
    • Consider having a family meeting to discuss your wishes and plans as well as theirs. Remember that if others are grieving they will have ways in which they want to handle things too. Try to respect one another's ideas and be gentle with each other. Let children and teens find a way to participate.
    • Decide how you would like to honor your loved one's life during the holidays. Create a special place with the person's picture, memorable objects, tree branches, candles, or other special touches. Light a candle in this place or wherever the family is gathered as a symbol of your love and memories.
    • Some people find volunteer work satisfying; others make donations or buy gifts for other in their loved one's name. These kinds of giving can be very satisfying and healing.
    • Allow yourself time to think about and to acknowledge your feelings. It is important to pace yourself during the holidays—finding a balance between time alone and time with others. Decide which social engagements you want to attend then savor the time that you choose to be alone with your thoughts and memories.
    • Plan something to look forward to after the new year begins. This may help lessen the post-holiday letdown and will be a way to focus on the future.
    • Remember that some people prefer to do something very different, like traveling during the holidays, while others prefer to preserve tradition. Do whatever you think will work for you.