The holiday season gives us a chance to gather with friends and family for merriment and good cheer. While those gatherings are a reminder of life’s blessings, they can also be a painful reminder of dear friends and family members who are no longer with us.
For those grieving the loss of a loved one – especially a recent loss – this time of year can be tough. Reminders of holidays past are sure to come flooding back, and they may not feel up to family parties and holiday dinners.
Rather than mourn what’s lost, this holiday season can be the perfect time to celebrate a cherished life. It’s a time to remember those funny stories, special moments and treasured traditions. Here are 5 thoughtful ways to turn the holidays into a sweet tribute to your loved one.
1. Make a tribute ornament with your loved one’s name that you can hang on the Christmas tree.
When you pull out the decorations each December, you can pause to think about special times and hang the ornament on the tree with a smile.
2. Start a new tradition that honors something your family member loved.
Maybe it’s volunteering with a charity they supported. Or instead of exchanging gifts, make a donation to a nonprofit or cause they loved.
3. Gather to share funny stories and holiday memories.
You might even want to play an old home movie or pull out an old photo album. It’s easy to get caught up in the sadness, and sharing heartfelt memories can be a way shift the focus to happier times.
4. Incorporate those time-honored traditions.
If your grandmother had a snow globe collection, put some of her favorite pieces in your living room. Or if your mother had a special Christmas cookie recipe, let the children and grandchildren learn to make them. Special decorations, recipes and even Christmas carols are excellent ways to not only remember a loved one, but also to pass on family traditions to the next generation.
5. Create a small memorial where family members can say a prayer or simply reflect on their own memories.
This could be as simple as a small photo and a candle on the mantelpiece.
The most important thing to remember during this season is that everyone grieves in a different way. Be respectful of everyone and don’t force someone to participate in the family storytelling session if they don’t feel like sharing. While it’s good to come together and grieve as a family, others may need privacy and space to process their feelings – especially if this is the first holiday season since a loved one has passed.
Lastly, remember it’s still OK to enjoy the holiday season. Your spouse, parent, sibling or child would want you to celebrate the season with laughter and joy. In fact, that may be the very best way to honor their memory.
Stuhr Funeral Home , a trusted name in funeral service for more than 150 years, understands that times of grieving are difficult – even more so during the holidays. Together, they’re dedicated to providing the best and most professional care for their clients during their time of grieving and healing.
For more information, visit JHenryStuhr.com or call (843) 723-2524.