The sadness that tugs at our hearts after losing someone close to us can be especially profound around the holidays. Perhaps if you could wish away the holiday season you would. Or maybe your loved one has been gone for some time, and while you still miss them to the moon and back, you are ready to once again embrace the warmth and joy this time of year can bring.
Wherever you are in your grief journey, finding little ways of expressing your deep felt love for the one you are very much missing can be healing and uplifting. Here are seven heartfelt ideas for honoring your missed loved one this holiday season:
Create a Memory Chain
You may recall making these colorful paper garlands as a child. Here the idea is generally the same, only that on each link you will write one memory of your loved one. Milestone moments and recollections of fun and silly times are the types of things you’ll want to add to your chain. As the days pass by, your memory chain will grow with warm reminders of the love the two of you shared.
Light a Candle Every Day
From now through New Year’s Day, light a candle in memory of your loved one. Each time you light or blow out the flame, send a heartfelt message of love, expressing how much they are missed and how much they mean to you.
Hang a Stocking
The simple act of hanging a stocking in your loved one’s name can be a meaningful way to honor them. You may choose to fill the stocking with carefully selected photographs, loving handwritten messages or memories, and other trinkets that remind you of them.
Release a Paper Lantern
A paper lantern glowing in the night sky is often a symbol of hope and is a beautiful sight to see. Whether one chooses to release a lantern privately or in the companionship of close friends and family, the act of sending a beacon of love and light upwards to your loved one can be a moving experience.
Decorate a Tree—Inside or Out
Maybe your loved one was a birdwatcher. Attracting birds to your yard by hanging bird feeders or placing birdseed ornaments on a tree viewable from a window you frequently look out of, may be a fitting tribute. As the birds visit the tree or feeders, you may find solace in the quiet observance. It may bring you happiness knowing your loved one would have experienced this same joy and peace.
A miniature Christmas tree decorated with ornaments reflecting your loved one’s personality can also be a meaningful way to remember them by. For one who was a farmer, you could decorate a tree with tractors, farm animals, windmills, etc. For someone who had a sweet tooth for all confections, a candy-themed tree might be fitting. Hobbies, favorite colors, sports teams, or animals are some additional ideas.
Find Companionship in a Friend Who Has Also Lost a Loved One
It can be healing and uplifting to share your grief with someone who can relate. If you feel you may be ready for something like this, you may wish to consider getting together not only to share your feelings, but also to exchange happy memories of your loved ones.
Start a New Tradition or Hobby in Their Name
A new tradition could entail cooking a loved one’s favorite meal and then inviting neighbors, friends, or family over to partake. Or it could look like trying out new restaurants each month based on a loved one’s favorite cuisine. If he or she had a soft spot for animals, you might consider volunteering at an animal shelter. Maybe he or she always wanted to learn how to play the guitar—maybe you might consider taking lessons yourself.
This Holiday Season and Going Forward
However you choose to remember your loved one this holiday season, and those to follow, may it bring you comfort, peace, and healing.