How to Cope with Grief at Christmas

It’s fast approaching that time of year where everyone is making plans and getting excited about Christmas. I was one of those people too and I couldn’t believe it when someone exclaimed that they didn’t like Christmas. I couldn’t understand how someone couldn’t like the most festive day of the year. What’s not to like about food, presents and the chance to spend time with family?

Those who don’t like Christmas all have their own reasons and now I know how they feel. Christmas will never be quite the same again because my mum is no longer with us. I still like the act of spending the whole day wandering round the shops, picking out the perfect presents for my family, and feeling excited about seeing their faces when they open them.

It’s strange though that for the second year now, I won’t be buying my mum a present. She used to be quite difficult to buy for and never wanted for much but there’s always the feeling that your mum deserves the world for all the things she does for her children.

Mum’s are the family member who make the plans and organise Christmas. They buy all the food, all the presents and make that day special. That’s not to say that other family members don’t contribute but Christmas will never be quite the same without them.

This Christmas is going to be slightly quieter than the last and although last year, we still had a good time, I knew we were all thinking of her. So for anyone else out there who will be spending Christmas without a loved one, here’s a few tips on how to get through the festive season.

Keep yourself busy     

Time spent alone means time spent grieving and thinking about how that person should be here. It can be hard to motivate yourself to do something when you’re not feeling as excited as everyone around you but make plans, even if they’re not typically festive.

If you’re feeling alone on Christmas Day, don’t miss the chance to join Sarah Milican’s #joinin chat. Hundreds of other Twitter users take part to connect and find company if they’re feeling alone over the festive period. What a great idea.

Appreciate what you’ve got

Be grateful for the people you do get to share Christmas with. There will always be someone who is worse off than you and who probably isn’t celebrating Christmas at all. Remind yourself of all the good things about the festive period such as Christmas markets, the music and the fact that most people are happier around this time.

Keep it vague

If like me, you don’t really like talking about what happened, keep it vague. Most conversations over November and December at work will centre around Christmas and what your plans are. There’s no need to go into detail if you think it will make you upset. However, if you do manage to tell your colleagues then you won’t have to face questions over and over again about family. Once they know, conversation will be turned to other things.

Do something non – festive

Christmas doesn’t have to be about the typical festivities that you associated with the person you lost. If it’s too painful to think about them when Christmas shopping as you used to do this together, maybe think about making some handmade gifts or shopping online. Find alternatives so you can avoid those triggers of grief. Obviously this may not completely eliminate feeling low during this time but it’s worth a try. Give yourself things to look forward to such as ice skating or a day in London.

Talk to someone

Try to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Have a little cry if it helps. Reminisce on some good memories you’ve had with the person you lost. Talking always helps, especially if it’s to someone who has been through something similar to you. They’ll probably be feeling exactly the same as you.

Enjoy the festive period but remember not everyone enjoys Christmas so be kind when you next mention the big day. I’m always here for a chat 🙂


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