We all know Christmas can be a tough time when you’re grieving. And even if the death of a loved one was a while back, somehow the sparkling lights and festive music can make these days bitter-sweet – or something just to ‘get through’.
If this describes how you and your family are feeling, do take a look here at our one page leaflet for some helpful tips for how to manage grief at this time of year.
Need some support?
The FiG office will be closed until 2nd January 2024. If you do need to speak with someone over the festive season, the following organisations do provide helplines:
Child Bereavement UK helpline: https://www.childbereavementuk.org/about-our-helpline
Grief Encounter helpline: https://www.griefencounter.org.uk/…/support…/helpline/
Winston’s Wish https://www.winstonswish.org/helpline/
(Please note: the opening hours of these helplines vary)
Take a look too below...
Make and talk activities
Here are a couple of ways to help your family to acknowledge grief and tough feelings over Christmas, share memories of those we have lost, and make some beautiful ornaments at the same time. Both work well for younger children, who may just be working on identifying feelings, all the way through to teens who may enjoy creating a meaningful visual memory as part of your Christmas decorations.
The first is creating some beautiful window art as explained by the team at Winston’s Wish.
The second is to create these beautiful personalised baubles (courtesy of What’s your grief?). Why not give them a go?
WHAT YOU NEED
- Ribbons (at least six colours)
- Clear ornaments (the type you can open – preferably plastic)
- Strips of paper, whatever colors you like, cut thin. If you are doing this with children who would rather draw than write, cut the paper in squares instead of strips.
- Beads, stars, snowflakes, or whatever other small shiny objects you can find!
- Markers, pens or coloured pencils.
- Cut all the ribbon up into six-inch segments
- Talk with your children about all the different emotions they feel when they are thinking about the person who’s died and make a list. Some common emotions with younger ones may be sad, lonely, happy, scared, angry, love etc. For older children, there may be more emotions, like yearning, guilt, regret, hope, anger etc.
- Assign each emotion to a different colour ribbon and lay them all out on a table.
- Lay out your shiny objects, whatever they may be, and label them ‘memories’.
- Lay out your strips of paper with markers, pens or coloured pencils.
GO FOR IT
Give each child an ornament. Explain that each ribbon is a different emotion and they should fill the ornament with the different emotions they feel when they think about the person who’s died. This is a great time to talk with younger children about feelings and help them understand that they may be feeling a wide range of different feelings, and that is okay.
Explain next that the beads represent memories. Encourage children to think about different holiday memories they have of the person they have lost. For each memory have them drop a bead into the ornament. This is a great opportunity to share memories together, but if they don’t want to share that is OK too – don’t push too hard. You could also use this as a way for you to share a memory with your child, then add a bead for each story you share with them.
Finally, allow children to write or draw anything they like on the strip of paper. This could be a message to the person who died, a memory, or whatever else they wish. When finished, add the paper to the ornament and close it up. Tie a ribbon to the top and you are all done!