Ways to remember at Christmas
Christmas is a special time of year, spent celebrating with family and friends, but can often be difficult if grieving the loss of a loved one.
No matter when a loved one dies, their loss is often felt more during the festive season because they are no longer here to be part of your family’s Christmas traditions.
But Christmas can also be a good time to remember and honour your loved one, with many people creating new Christmas traditions that bring them comfort and strengthen the bonds with their family and friends.
Here are our favourite ways to remember a loved one at Christmas:
Memorial Christmas tree decoration
Buy or make a special memory bauble for your Christmas tree – it could have your loved one’s name or photo or just have special significance to you and your family. As well as tree decorations, you could also buy a ribbon in your loved one’s favourite colour and tie it around the trunk of your Christmas tree.
Across our network of funeral homes, we have Christmas memorial trees. Everyone is welcome to visit their local Co-op funeral home and write a message of remembrance on a tag to place on our tree. If you can’t get to a funeral home, just give us a call and we will write one on your behalf.
Watch a favourite Christmas film
If your loved one had a favourite Christmas film then gather the family (and friends) to watch it together each year. This time together is also a great opportunity to talk and reminisce.
Attend a carol service
Carol services are a famous Christmas tradition and a great opportunity for you to meet and spend time with people from your local community. They also provide the opportunity to sing. Singing has proven scientific physical and mental health benefits including alleviating stress and boosting your immune system which could be a much needed antidote if you’re dealing with feelings of grief.
Your local funeral home or place of worship may hold a memorial service in December. Memorial services can be very comforting as you have the time to reflect and light a candle in your loved one’s memory.
Some services will also read out a list of names to the congregation, so it’s worth getting in touch with the organisers if you would like them to read out your loved one’s name. Our funeral homes host and support memorial services nationwide. Contact your local funeral home to find out if there is a memorial service or other event taking place near you.
Set a place at the dinner table
When you sit down for Christmas Dinner, set a place at the table for your loved one. If you are sharing the meal with family or friends, you could choose to have a moment of silence, raise a toast, or even take turns to share memories.
Visit a special place
Visit your loved ones resting place or a place that was special to them. You could arrange to take a walk with your family or friends and talk to each other about your favourite memories of your loved one.
Make a donation in memory
If your loved one had a charity that was special to them, make an annual donation in their name or do a fundraising activity in tribute to them.
Create a wreath
Make a memory wreath for your front door or fireplace. You could decorate it with small photos, ornaments, and anything that reminds you of your loved one.
Christmas can be a special time to remember. It’s normal for those around you to feel uncertain about whether or not to talk about some that has died, but if it’s important to you, let your loved ones know you want to talk about them.
If you are feeling overwhelmed about the approaching season and would like some advice, please read our blog post by grief expert Julia Samuels.