Creating New Holiday Traditions After Losing A Loved One

The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration, but for those grieving after losing a loved one, this time of year can be extra tough. And while it can be tempting to assume nothing will change, that simply isn’t true.

“The holiday season, with all of its focus on family and traditions, can make grief more acute as it reminds us of what and who is missing,” says Brian Calhoun, Funeral Director at Stuhr Funeral Home. “Pretending the holidays can go on exactly the same when someone is missing just isn’t realistic.”

That’s why, if you’ve recently lost someone, it’s worth considering starting some new traditions to bring some joy back into the season.

“Creating new holiday traditions is not about erasing someone. It’s an opportunity to remember the deceased, create new memories in their honor and continue their legacy,” explains Calhoun.

Not sure where to start? Here are some new holiday tradition ideas to inspire your family’s seasonal festivities.

1. Add a memorial ornament to the tree

Ornaments are like little time capsules, evoking memories of the years, events and people they represent each time when hanging them on the tree. A memorial ornament, then, can be a great way to remember your loved one each holiday season. You can create an ornament out of a favorite photo, have a custom one made on Etsy or purchase one that symbolizes something about them.

2. Play their favorite holiday tune 

Another big part of celebrating the holidays is music. If you’re musically inclined or your loved one enjoyed singing, you might consider caroling around the neighborhood in their memory or having a family holiday sing-a-long. Or, you can simply add their favorite carols to a holiday playlist to remind you of holidays past.

3. Give back in their name

Since it is the season of giving, help spread some cheer by donating to your late loved one’s favorite charity or cause as part of your annual gift-giving.

4. Share memories of the deceased

Keep the memory of your loved one alive by purposefully finding ways to share stories of them during the holidays. Maybe that looks like asking your family to write down their favorite memories on slips of paper and then sharing them over dinner.

“You could also tell your children your favorite holiday story of Grandma or Grandpa as a holiday bedtime story,” suggests Calhoun.

5. Fix their favorite dish

One central theme of most holidays is food. So, what better way to remember someone who has passed than permanently adding their favorite dish to the holiday menu? Or, if your late loved one was especially handy in the kitchen, turn one of their recipes into a holiday staple that you bake or cook every year.

Stuhr Funeral Home, a trusted name in funeral service for more than 150 years, cares for families of those whose lives have ended. Stuhr Funeral Home is committed to providing quality arrangements to honor loved ones and family traditions. For more information about funeral services available, visit or call (843) 723-2524.