Celebrating Christmas without a loved one can be extremely difficult, especially when that friend or family member has passed away. Some people who are grieving find it hard to have fun at all. But rather than forgoing the holidays altogether, why not focus on finding ways to remember your loved one at Christmas?
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First off, let me tell you that unfortunately I speak from experience in this area. I have lost several loved ones in my life, but the one that has been the hardest was losing my mom. She passed away on December 12, 2000 at the age of 51. Christmas hasn’t been the same for me since. (You can read a little more about my story here).
But we go on, sometimes not because we want to, but because we have to…and after awhile, we wind up wanting to go on. Trust me. Since my mom has passed, I’ve had two more children, and have continued on and learned how to love life again. I still miss her everyday, but I know she’s looking down on us and that we have a guardian angel for life.
So know that as I share these ideas, I also share the pain that you’re feeling if you’ve lost a loved one. ♥
Here are a few ways to remember someone you love at Christmas
Light a Candle
One of the most common ways of remembering someone during the holidays, is the act of lighting a candle on Christmas Eve. A candle for some can represent the light of the person they lost, meaning that their flame continues to burn and their spirit lives on. Lighting a remembrance candle and saying a simple prayer, whether at home or wherever you may be, is a great way to pay tribute to your loved one.
Plant a Tree
Why not plant a tree in memory of the person you’ve lost? A pine tree is the most obvious choice, because of the season, but any other type of tree is suitable as well. This is an excellent way to remember someone, while helping Mother Nature to boot. By turning it into a yearly tradition, more trees will grow and more people will enjoy them.
It’s also a great way to give the gift of remembrance to another person who has lost a loved one. Giving them a card or certificate saying that a tree will be planted in their loved one’s memory is a super special gift.
If your loved one had a favorite charity or interest, consider making a donation in his or her name. It doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary in nature, you can donate your time or personal belongings as well. In the spirit of Christmas you can purchase several small gifts to donate to a charity such as Toys for Tots or your local women’s shelter.
If the idea of donating to charity really appeals to you, think about doing it all through the year. It’s a fantastic way to help others and keep the spirit of your loved one alive indefinitely. These don’t need to be large donations, by any means. When you give to charity, even the smallest gift is appreciated.
Go Out to Dinner
If your family usually eats Christmas dinner at home, maybe it’s time for a change of scenery. Make it special by making reservations at your loved one’s favorite restaurant. Go one step further and ask everyone to order one of that person’s favorite foods. Chances are the dinnertime conversation will revolve around fond memories of your loved one, in no time at all.
If you don’t want to leave the house for Christmas dinner, you can do this any day during Christmas week. And if going out for dinner isn’t in your plans, you can stay home and make your loved one’s favorite meal, and still enjoy sharing stories of remembrance around the dinner table.
Continue a Family Tradition
For my family, that means baking my mom’s special Christmas Cookies. My kids love to make these every year, and look forward to helping with the entire process, from making the mix and cutting them out to frosting and decorating. Even though my youngest two daughters never got to meet their grandma, they know that we use her cookie recipe and that we used to make cookies with her every year at Christmas. Sometimes I will throw on the video tape of our family baking from years ago and we’ll all sit and watch for awhile.
Your tradition might be driving around looking at Christmas lights, playing a special game, or singing Christmas carols. Whatever it is, take joy in remembering the special time you spent doing this activity with your loved one.
These are just a few ways to remember a loved one at Christmas. You don’t have to partake in all of them, do what feels right to you. But doing something will help to bring back memories of those you love and miss the most, and just might help you heal a little in the process.
One of the most crucial things to remember, any time of the year, is that everyone grieves differently. Your journey might be totally different than someone else’s, and that’s okay.
If this is the first Christmas without your loved one, I’m so sorry. And I’m not gonna lie, it will be difficult…probably the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And the people around you who aren’t going through this may not understand your grief. Take it one day at a time and to try not to be hard on yourself or others. Concentrate on the wonderful memories of your loved one.
They say time heals all wounds…I don’t agree. But what time does do is it gives you the ability to get used to the pain and learn to live with it. You can eventually love life again, trust me. It won’t be easy and you’ll shed a lot of tears, but it will happen.
Will you be remembering a loved one this Christmas? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments, I read every single one.