Coping with grief at Christmas image

We are sharing advice and guidance on how you and your loved ones can cope with the loss of someone special this Christmas period.

Christmas can be a difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. Whether the death was recent or many years ago, the lead up to Christmas and the day itself can be tough.  This is especially so when others are looking forward to the celebration.

Being around others who understand and can be empathetic can make a big difference to how you cope. Taking the time to do something nurturing for yourself is okay and it’s alright for you to enjoy yourself too.

Be kind to yourself

  • This is a time to be really kind to yourself. Any feelings associated with your bereavement are a natural part of the grieving process and are individual to you. Sometimes the first Christmas without your loved one is the most difficult. Sometimes it’s years later. There’s no right way to feel grief. Everyone is different
  • The most important thing is to accept all these feelings. Allow the emotions that come up to be expressed rather than pushing them away
  • Christmas time can come with a lot of pressure, so be realistic about what seems manageable. People that love you will want you to feel as comfortable as you can without putting on a ‘brave face’ for Christmas. Give yourself permission to take yourself away for a quiet moment if required
  • If you are on your own at Christmas, you may have feelings of loneliness and isolation. Reach out to organisations. We can help in many different ways listed below

Christmas Traditions

  • There may be Christmas traditions you used to do every year with your loved one. This year, you may want to miss the tradition altogether. Or you could invite a family member or friend along to share the tradition and pay tribute to your loved one
  • It may help to talk about fond memories of Christmas traditions you shared
  • There may be new traditions you’d like to start this year. This could be something you do with family, friends or by yourself
  • You may still want to set a place at your Christmas dinner table for your loved one, or raise a glass in remembrance of them
  • Find ways to connect with your loved one’s memory in ways that feel special to you.

Things you can do near or on Christmas Day

  • Visit a favourite place of theirs or visit their resting place. Take something to commemorate the day such as a photo, their preferred drink or a special object
  • Compile a photo album, either physically or digitally, for you and others to look at
  • Pay tribute to your loved one by dedicating a light on our virtual tree. This can be shared and seen by others as well as shared on your social media throughout December

Reach out

You can reach out to family and friends but please remember we are always here to help you. 

We can offer you:

  • Our Counselling and Emotional Support Service
  • Or if you don't feel like you need counselling, we have a weekly drop-in cafe for those who've been bereaved, a  bereavement peer support group, and a Befriending Service