The holidays can produce a resurfacing of intense melancholy. For many, the void of the loved one that made the holidays special is so penetrating, they simply attempt to cope and survive the season. While the loving and joyful memories still exist, they are immediately chased by the reality that the person missed is no longer here to celebrate this most wonderful time of year.
However, instead of deflecting these thoughts and becoming distraught with sorrowful emotions, might I suggest facing them—in a special way that will allow you to gain peace, thoughtful and meaningful reflection, and restorative healing—this year, I urge you to try a different approach to the holiday experience.
Let the spirit of your loved one enhance your holiday experience in a life-elevating way that is sure to change your perspective and provide you with joy! Follow some of these suggestions for a joyful season while genuinely honoring those you dearly miss.
- Display items around your home that bring your lost loved one to the forefront of the holiday. Let their memory live on in your home while keeping the essence of them unforgettably close. Put out stockings, decorations, photos, and even some of their possessions that you now have and decorate with treasures which remind you of them!
- Create a special way to honor cherished memories. I suggest going to a craft or hobby store and buy clear plastic ornaments that you can decorate and fill. Write on construction paper with bold colored markers, special moments, memories, or thoughts of gratitude that are momentous with your departed. Place your cherished writings into the plastic ornaments and hang them on your tree! Make it a family memorializing activity! Alternatively, you can decorate a special holiday stocking, jar or basket, and fill it with the many special sentiments you created. This is a beautiful way to honor your loved one, while allowing you to experience the joy of all of the wonderful memories and special feelings you hold dear! You can do this all year, too—not just the holidays!
- Bake special recipes that honor your loved one. If there are family recipes your loved one created or even some you enjoyed baking together—keep the tradition alive and enjoy those memories through continuing their legacy. Teach other family members and talk about your departed while you share and maintain this wonderful tradition. This is therapeutic for you and a beautiful way to incorporate your love for them into your holidays, keeping them special, while easing your bereavement.
- Honor your departed in your season’s greetings! In your holiday greeting card, create a photo collage and include your loved one in the pictures. If you don’t send photo cards, you can insert a special holiday recipe of the departed and make it a special tribute to them. You can write a sentimental mention, such as, “My beautiful mom, whom we truly miss, baked _____ every Christmas as part of our family tradition! Our family loved this recipe and we hope you will enjoy making this as much as she did!” Your friends will love this and find it heartwarming as well as enjoying the opportunity to bake this special dish for their family.
- Bring the holidays to their resting place. Go to the grave site or place where your loved one was laid to rest and leave a special holiday memento, ornament, card, poinsettia or wreath. This will promote healing and allow you to reflect on this time of year and honor them. It is a meaningful way to pay tribute and restore comfort into your life.
- Share your feelings of loss and their life with friends! Through letters to friends or social media, you can honor your loved one. Be honest…say how much you are missing them and post or share a picture. Your friends will appreciate that you are sharing this with them and be reminded of your departed loved one. This will give them the chance to support you while cherishing the special memories along with you.
- Make it a family experience of joyful reflection! If you have a family gathering or holiday dinner, have a special prayer or even moment of reflection for your departed loved one. Have everyone make a toast to them at dinner or share a special memory. Keep it upbeat and special. This is a way to share the loss, enhances the holiday experience, and promote healing. Acknowledging the loss together with loved ones can restore hope and foster familial elevation, making the holidays more special and meaningful.
Honor your loved ones this holiday season and you’ll be genuinely surprised how your journey this year will be infused and enriched with the many wonderful benefits of keeping their beautiful memory alive! Happiest of holidays to each of you and I wish you joyful reflection of those you love and miss…may you honor them with flair, finesse and FUNctionality, and find soothing peace and comfort in doing so.