Commemorating a Loved One at Christmastime
- Get a special candle and set up a memorial table with pictures and anything else that was special to your loved one. Light the candle on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, whenever your family celebrates.
- Serve that special dish your loved one enjoyed so much. My dad’s favorite dessert was Cherry Delight, so this year we’ll be having that in his honor.
- Depending on how long ago you lost your loved one and if the family is comfortable with it, share favorite Christmas memories of your loved one. I still remember how my paternal grandmother, Grammy, used to come to our house on Christmas morning, knock, open the door and say “come in.”
- Keep traditions that were important to your loved one and your family, but also start new traditions. Sometimes doing things a little differently helps us get through these tough times - and especially the first year without someone.
- Say a special prayer for all family members and dear friends lost over the years. If you’re dealing with a new loss, say a prayer especially for him or her.
- Wrap a very small, lightweight package and tie it to balloons filled with helium.* You can even fill it with personal messages from family members addressed to your loved one. Take the package outside and have a special ceremony before setting it free. Think of your loved one in heaven rejoicing with our Lord.
*If you prefer not to release balloons into the environment, take your personal messages and burn them during your ceremony and watch the smoke rise toward heaven and to your loved one.
- If your family and your loved one had a favorite movie you liked to watch during the holiday season, watch it. If it’s a comedy or has humor, think about the parts where your loved one laughed. Regardless of the genre, think about your loved one’s favorite scenes and envision him or her there watching it alongside you.
- If you took family trips during the holidays, share favorite stories and memories from those trips. Or just find a quiet moment to reflect on those memories yourself.
- If you and your family draw comfort from them, go through family photo albums and relive those special memories.
- Get an ornament to honor your loved one and place it on your Christmas tree. This can be an ornament with a place for a picture, or simply an ornament of something your loved one enjoyed. It can even be an ornament that you already have and that was special to him or her.
These are just a few ideas to help you honor and commemorate those you've lost during the holiday season, and especially at Christmas. Find something that uniquely speaks to you about your loved one. Remember him or her with other family members and friends, or in silence in your own way - whatever works for you.
Peace in Christ,
© Melissa Knoblett-Aman
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