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Helping grieving families at Christmas

If you are grieving this Christmas…

Christmas can be such a difficult time of year for those who are grieving. Bereaved families tell us that they struggle with the anticipation and excitement of the lead up to Christmas, because they don’t feel ‘festive’ and many tell us that they just want it “over and done with”.

If you are recognising these thoughts and feelings, then know that you’re not alone. The endless ‘to-do’ list can wait, try to take the pressure off yourself and ask for help. Sometimes there are so many demands on our time it can feel too much.

Here are some tips on how to cope at this time of year if you and your children are bereaved:

Keep things simple

Try and keep things simple this Christmas, and don’t feel bad about saying ‘no’. We’re all pressured by advertisers into buying lots of things, and there is a temptation to want to buy lots of presents for your child to ‘make them happy’. Try to stay within your financial limits. Your children just want to spend time with you, cook, read or draw together, go for a family walk, ride bikes or watch a film together.

Meeting up with friends

If you do make arrangements to meet up with friends, perhaps let them know that you may change your mind on the day. This helps you to take things at your own pace, and to take time for yourself should things feel too overwhelming.

Look after yourself

Look for the things that nourish you, perhaps have a bath, listen to your favourite music or go for a walk along the beach.

Remembering those who have died

Talk to your family about how they would like to remember the person that’s died. Doing something special can be an important part of Christmas day and a great comfort for some families. You may wish to continue a tradition, or start a new one. What matters most is that, as far as possible, you are able to do whatever feels right for you and your family, and, if you decide on Christmas day that you don’t want to do the thing you have planned, then that’s ok too. Here are some ideas you might like to try:

  • Light a candle
  • Listen to their favourite song, or eat their favourite food
  • Visit a significant place
  • Go on their favourite walk
  • Put an item on the Christmas tree in their memory. For example: You can make a bauble by decorating a polystyrene ball and gluing colourful napkins to it, then you can pin ribbons or a photo to it.

Talk to someone close to you

Share what’s on your mind with family or friends. Talking to someone close to you can really help to ease feelings of loneliness, and if you and your family need extra help then please contact us here at Families in Grief. We are here for you and your children.

Written by Emma Marston: General Manager, Families in Grief

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