10 Ways to Remember a Departed Loved One during Christmas.

Hi guys! I wanted to dedicate a post to those who may be missing someone over this Christmas period. Christmas is a lovely time of the year, but it can also be a very hard time, especially if a loved one has passed on. Christmas can be a reminder of this loved ones missed presence. So, today I wanted to give some tips to help remember a loved one during this Christmas period. Avoidance and denial are popular coping tactics, however I am suggesting a different approach. Instead, try keeping your loved one’s memory alive by continuing to make them a part of your Christmas season. Below I have given 10 tips to help you honour and remember your deceased loved one and find some peace during the Christmas holiday season.

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1: Photos

Display a photo of your loved one where it can be seen, and light a candle or a small electric lamp beside it every night between now and Christmas.

2: Create a Christmas stocking full of memories

Hang up a Christmas stocking anywhere in your home. Whenever you are feeling down or thinking about your loved one, write down a happy memory you have of them, while placing that written memory into the stocking. This is a technique the whole family can use. On Christmas Eve or Christmas day, when everyone is gathered, you can take those memories out of the stocking and share them out loud with each other. Sharing old happy/funny memories can help you feel like your loved one is still with you around Christmas and their memory will be remembered.

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3: Donate

Donate to a cause in your loved ones name. Try and choose a charity your loved one would have supported. For example, churches, homeless shelters, nursing homes, Marymount hospice, Pieta House, ARC Cancer Support House and many more great cause.

4: Release balloons in your loved ones memory.

Gather the whole family together and give each person a helium-filled balloon and release it outside. Before releasing your balloons, say a prayer for your loved one. You can also write a note to your loved one and attach it onto your balloon, or write your message on the balloon. This is a lovely way to remember those who have passed away and it also gathers the whole family together.

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5: Buy or make a memorial ornament.

This is a lovely idea for this time of the year, you can make a personalised ornament with your loved ones photo to hang on the tree. These can be done online on sites such as, www.snapfish.ie or www.vistaprint.ie. Or, check out Pinterest for ideas on how to make them yourself.

6: Volunteer your time to others in need.

Grief around Christmas can be extremely lonely and isolating, try volunteering around this time to keep yourself busy and active. You might choose a cause your loved one worked with or supported.

7: Give a personalised present 

Give a framed photo of your loved one to people who also miss them. This is a very personal present that would be cherished for a long time.

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8: Use your loved ones recipes around this time of the year

Use your loved one’s old recipe(s) to make Christmas buns or a Christmas dinner. This is a lovely way to keep their memory alive around Christmas!

9: Take the trip you have been planning or dreaming about.

Think of what would make your loved one happy, watching you go on a trip or plan something you always wanted to do. You can even do it in their memory or do it for them!

10: Take care of yourself.

Go and talk to someone, either a friend or a counsellor, there are so many support services available for people dealing with a loss during the holidays. Remember that your loved one would have wanted you to have the support you need.

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I hope you find some of these tips helpful. Please remember to talk to someone if you are struggling. This can be a hard time of the year and remember that you are not alone!

Niamh-Psychotherapist xx

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