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.
We may have to do things a little differently this Christmas, but with a few changes here and there, we can carry on our traditions to remember loved ones.
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. Because of current restrictions we can’t invite people to our funeral homes, but if you would like a tag on one of our trees, please phone your local funeral home and they 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. This year arrange a specific day and time where family and friends can watch the film in their own homes. So even though you can’t be together in person, you’ll still all be thinking about your loved one. After the film (or during it!) you could have a video call with your family to talk and reminisce.
Carol services are a famous Christmas tradition that many people look forward to at this time of year, especially for those who love 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.
We might not be able to attend carol services this year, but we can still sing carols. Get together with friends and family over video calling platforms and sing your favourite carols in your own home. There may also be carol services that you can stream online or watch on YouTube.
Your 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.
Traditional memorial services may not be able to take place this year due to social distancing regulations, and so we invite you to watch our special virtual memorial service. The service is available to watch online throughout December – watch here.
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.