Today’s tip: It is totally okay to remember and honor your treasured loved one.
After losing a loved one, so many questions come to mind…
- “How am I going to make it through this holiday season without my loved one?”
- “Is it okay to remember my loved one or talk about them during the holidays?”
- “How do I go about remembering and honoring my loved one throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas?“
There’s nothing more painful or challenging about the holidays than to lose a treasured loved one, no longer having them with you (or experience devastating loss), and yet try to salvage the holiday season by creating a meaningful Christmas.
The memories from Christmases past were some of the best memories a griever has experienced in life, but now the realization of a loved one not having the ability to enjoy the holidays is so painful to deal with.
It can be a balancing act for a griever to authentically grieve and remember their deceased treasured loved one(s), while also creating meaningful memories with their remaining loved ones—it’s a balance all grievers will need to decide and create for themselves and their family.
Grief is such a personal experience. Each griever should feel free to grieve in a way that is comfortable to them. It takes time to create and navigate a new life…and this includes holidays, too.
Be kind to yourself and those closest to you, and do what you (and your family) need to do to get through the holidays. You may feel like doing a little, a lot, or not much at all.
If you feel like remembering and honoring your treasured loved ones, then absolutely do! You loved them so much while they were with you…and your love is still great for them today! Never apologize, or feel bad, for remembering or honoring those you love…deceased or living!
Ask God to guide and direct you throughout your grief, to comfort you, and to give you fresh ideas of how to create a meaningful holiday season as you create your new balance.
Here are 10 ideas for remembering & honoring your cherished loved one this holiday season:
- Think of your loved one’s favorite holiday tradition and then do that special tradition in their honor. You may even choose to invite your loved one’s closest family members and friends to do this special tradition with you.
- Light a memory candle in honor of your loved one. You can share with others what your special candle signifies, or you can tuck the special meaning privately in your heart.
- Place a treasured photo in a special picture frame and place it out for all to see.
- Do an activity (if you feel ready and comfortable) that you and your loved one specifically enjoyed doing together. My sister and I loved baking together, so throughout the years, I have hosted a “cookie party” and baked in her memory. I pass out the treats to family, good friends, and those who I know need encouragement.
- If certain Christmas songs remind you of your loved one, make a playlist of those songs and listen to them when you miss your loved one most. The first few years after my sister died, it was very painful to hear certain songs – especially Feliz Navidad which was her favorite. Now when it comes on, I take it as a loving reminder of how important my sister was to me…I think of it as my sister’s way of saying, “hello” from Heaven and a way of God allowing my sister to be a special part of my holidays.
- Share and exchange past special holiday memories of your loved one with understanding family members and close friends. Be sure to share funny stories, too!
- Make a scrapbook, including important mementos, special stories, and treasured photos of your loved one. Write an annual Christmas note to your loved one and tuck it somewhere safe inside the scrapbook. Anytime you miss them, take out the scrapbook and look at it.
- Donate a special gift, participate in Angel Tree, or volunteer your time or make a donation to your loved one’s favorite charity, in your loved one’s name and honor. If you do Angel Tree, try to find an angel that has the same birthday as your loved one.
- Watch old home videos or enjoy special photos of your loved one. These truly can eventually be a source of great comfort.
- Light the Christmas tree, turn out the lights, play some soft Christmas music, get some hot chocolate, and have a special time with God, pouring your heart out to Him. Talk to God about your treasured loved one, your remaining loved ones, your hurts, concerns, and cares, and everything else that is on your heart and mind.
Holidays can be a very challenging and sad time after the death of a loved one (or while going through loss or life challenges). I hope these 10 ideas are a source of comfort, help, and encouragement to you this holiday season.
Praying all who are hurting will find genuine compassion, support, love, and encouragement this holiday season!
Gratitude and blessings,
©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
2. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
3. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
4. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
5. Experiencing The Holidays With Jesus: Christmas (available Nov 29, 2018)
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