The holidays can be hard after a loss, but they also allow you to create new traditions that honor your loved one while helping you move forward as a family.

  1. Lower your expectations of the holidays.
    The holidays will look different without your loved one. It’s okay to change how you celebrate (such as adding a new tradition to honor your loved one). You can, however, keep meaningful traditions like baking cookies or displaying favorite decorations.
  2. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
    Also consider making a memorial ornament, saying a special prayer or playing special music. Plan ahead and communicate with the people you will spend the holidays with in advance to make sure everyone is in agreement about traditions and plans.
  3. Acknowledge your loss and discuss your loved one around the table.
    Share your memories and what lessons you learned from your loved one. This can create a setting for meaningful conversations. It may also help your child learn things about their loved one that they never knew. In addition, it can encourage your child to share their feelings among a supportive group.
  4. Make some quiet time for yourself, as a parent.
    The holidays can be hectic, so make quiet time for yourself. Ask others to help with cooking, shopping or decorating. Time to yourself will provide you with energy to devote to your child.
  5. Enjoy yourself, and encourage your child to enjoy themselves.
    The grief journey will be tough, but there will also be love and joy. Encourage your child that it’s okay to “just be a kid,” especially during the holidays. It’s okay for both of you to be happy – this doesn’t diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn’t there.