Ways to remember at Christmas

Christmas is a special time of year, spent celebrating with family and friends, but it can often be difficult if you're 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're 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.

Visit one of our funeral homes and place a tag on one of our memorial trees and write a message of remembrance for a loved one this Christmas.

Tag on tree

Watch a favourite Christmas film

If your loved one had a favourite Christmas film then gather the family (and friends) to watch it together. If you're not able to get together with family this year, arrange a specific day and time where you all watch the film at the same time. After the film (or during it!) you could have a video call with your family to talk and reminisce.

Carol singing

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.

Memorial services

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.

Memorial service Oldham

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.

Place at dinner table

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 Wreath

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, read more about coping with the loss of a loved one on special occasions.

Christmas poems in memory of a loved one

You may want to say some words about your loved one and missing them at Christmas, perhaps as you sit down for your family meal or when you're raising a glass to toast absent friends and family. Poetry can be a good way to express your feelings and give those around you a chance to quietly reflect on theirs.

Although it’s sad to reminisce,
On Christmases we knew,
This year I shall celebrate,
In memory of you.
I will put aside my sorrow,
With every unshed tear,
And concentrate on all the love,
We shared when you were here.
Our time together taught me,
What Christmas time is for,
And that’s what I’ll remember,
Until we meet once more.

When snowflakes dance on winter winds
And coloured lights shine Christmas cheer,
When children's laughter fills the air
And family gathers from far and near,
I try to celebrate with them
And not let my hurting show,
But the empty spaces within my heart,
At this season, seems to grow
'Till oftentimes it fills the days
And many night times too.

With aching thoughts and memories
Of Christmases I spent with you.
Yes, memories do hurt, it's true
But I have this feeling too.

I'm so glad I hold these memories,
For with them I hold part of you.
So for now I'll wipe away the tears
And join with loved ones dear
To celebrate this Christmas time,
For I know that, in my heart, you're here.

I’ve had my first Christmas in Heaven
A Glorious, wonderful day.
I stood with the saints of the ages,
who found Christ the Truth and the Way.

I sang with the Heavenly Choir:
Just think: I who longed so to sing!
And oh, what celestial music
we brought to our Saviour and King!

We sang the glad songs of redemption,
How Jesus to Bethlehem came,
And how they called His name Jesus,
That all might be saved through His name.

We sang once again with the angels,
The song that they sang that blest morn,
When shepherds first heard the glad story
That Jesus, the Saviour, was born.

Oh, how I wish you had been there:
No Christmas on earth could compare
With all the rapture and glory
We witnessed in Heaven so fair.

You know how I always loved Christmas;
It seemed such a wonderful day,
With all of my loved ones around me
The children so happy and gay.

Yes, now I can see why I loved it:
And oh, what a joy it will be
When you and my loved ones are with me:
To share in the glories I see.

So dear ones on earth, here’s my greeting:
Look up till the day dawn appears,
And oh, what a Christmas awaits us,
Beyond all our parting and tears.

Every day without you
Since you had to go,
Is like summer without sunshine
And Christmas without snow.
I wish that I could talk to you
There’s so much I would say,

Life has changed so very much
Since you went away.
I miss the bond between us
And I miss your kind support.
You’re in my mind and in my heart
And every Christmas thought.

I’ll always feel you close to me
And though you’re far from sight.
I’ll search for you among the stars
That shine on Christmas night.

Santa, do you know where heaven is?
Maybe your reindeer know the way.
For I have a special present
I need delivered on Christmas day.

For Christmas is a time for sharing
With those we hold so dear.
Please take this gift, with all my love
For an angel who's no longer here.

It's wrapped up in all our memories
We once shared from the past.
The ribbons and bows are all our dreams.
Inside there's a broken heart.

It's such a special parcel.
Please Santa, don't delay.
I would love it to be in heaven
In time for Christmas day.