Drawing by a member of our group for bereaved young people

Helpline - 0800 02 888 40  

>>Click here for our Christmas Helpline opening times

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.  

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holiday season can be a difficult time when you're bereaved. With the impact of Covid-19, Christmas 2020 is likely to be different for all of us -  and this year, it will be particularly difficult for bereaved families.

With social distancing restrictions in place, those who are grieving are less able to benefit from the support and company of family, friends, and their community. 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


More information:

Managing Christmas and other special occasions

Tips for managing special occasions

  • Let others know how they can support you

    Talk to your family or friends about how you’re feeling about Christmas and how they can support you. You might say: “I am going to find the day hard, and it would help me if you could…”
  • 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.

Tips from bereaved young people

It is important to speak to someone you trust about how you feel.

- Brook, who was 13 when her father died


For more tips from young people download #LostforWords, a free e-book made up of advice and insights from children bereaved from infancy to teenage years, including some young people supported by Child Bereavement UK.

Lost for Words by Benjamin Brooks-Dutton

If you are a young person and would like to connect with others who may be in a similar situation, there are online message boards and forums for bereaved young people. Sometimes just reading about others’ experiences can help you to realise that you are not alone.

For confidential support, information, guidance, and information about the support we offer, call our Helpline. 

Helpline - 0800 02 888 40

>>Click here for our Christmas helpline opening times