Drawing by Lara, aged 10

Click here for our Helpline opening times over Christmas

When you are grieving, occasions such as Christmas, with their big build-up in the shops and in the media, can feel like a painful reminder of your loss and how much you are missing the person who has died.  

Whilst there is no right or wrong way to manage a special occasion when you are grieving, what matters is that you are able to do what feels right for you and your family at this difficult time.

Christmas can be very difficult when someone you love is missing. So it's nice to talk about all the good things that you remember.

- Mary Berry, Patron of Child Bereavement UK

Be gentle on yourself

Many families we support tell us that the build-up to Christmas can often feel worse than the day itself. It may feel important to 'be there' for other family members, but make time for yourself too if you need it. Recognise that special occasions can be difficult when you are bereaved and try not to put yourself under undue stress or pressure.

Do what feels right for you

There’s no wrong or right way to mark a special occasion like Christmas. Don’t feel you need to stick to a plan or conform to what other people expect of you or what they are doing. 

Make new traditions

Some families we support tell us that they get comfort from creating their own new family traditions at Christmas, for example by doing something special together, taking part in fun activities, doing something creative, or just taking time out to remember the person who has died.

Remember the person who has died

Families tell us that doing something in memory of their special person, can be a good way to mark an occasion. For example you could cook their favourite meal, bake their favourite cake, look at photos, go for a walk or visit a place that they loved or that reminds you of them, where possible.

Include any children

If there are children in the family, make sure to include them in any decision making and plans. Children find comfort in normal routines and sharing special times with others.

Give yourself permission to do things you enjoy

Don’t feel guilty about feeling positive sometimes and enjoying a special occasion - it doesn't mean you are grieving any less or that your connection with the person is any less important.

For confidential support, information, guidance, and information about the support we offer, call our Helpline 0800 02 888 40


For more information, visit: Managing Christmas and other special occasions