Dealing with grief at Christmas


Whether it’s your first Christmas after the loss of loved one, or it’s been many years since you’ve experienced the loss, the holiday season is often a stark reminder that our loved ones are no longer here. 

It is often the unexpected moments that hit the hardest; a song on the radio, a commercial on TV, these are unanticipated reminders of what was once a particularly happy time for you.

“I have learned that grief is the flip side of the coin of love.
The size of the grief is the size of our love for the one we have lost.”


No two people will experience grief the same and you may find that at Christmas time, you’re dealing with your grief and loss in unexpected ways.

Here are some tips that may help get you through the holiday season:

  • Remember your loved one in a special way - Keeping your loved one’s memory close to you at Christmas can help you feel comforted that they are not forgotten. Placing a special ornament on the tree, playing their favourite Christmas carol, or making their favourite dish on the day are all wonderful ways to honour them.
  • It’s okay to miss some or all of Christmas - The first year without your loved one can be especially difficult and for years after it still may be just as hard. You might not have the energy or desire to want to celebrate Christmas. Let your family and friends know that this is a particularly hard time of year for you and what your intentions are so they know how to respond and don’t push you (even if they’re doing so with the best intentions) to do anything you don’t feel up to doing.
  • Express your feelings - Often it helps when you’re dealing with grief and loss to be able to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Call a trusted person in your life who you know will simply listen. If you’d prefer to speak to a professional, The Queensland Government offers a list of Bereavement Support Services which you can find here.

For those that have a family member or friend going through the stages of grief, remember that dealing with loss doesn’t always get easier, so don’t expect them to be fine if this isn’t their first year without their loved one. Here are ways for you to help them get through this difficult time of year:

  • Start a new Christmas tradition - When a person is grieving it can be hard for them to focus on the future. If they’re feeling up to it, suggest a new tradition for you to share with them. This isn’t to try to take their mind off their loved one, but will help to give them something to look forward to each year.
  • Acknowledge their loved one - Write a heartfelt card or make a donation in the loved one’s memory. Acknowledging those we have lost, helps to keep them near to us and your friend or family member may need that at Christmas.

At George Hartnett Metropolitan Funerals we understand that coping with grief can be a daunting, difficult time in anyone's life. Feelings of loss and sadness may never go away, but with time the grief will lighten. If you’d would like further information on grief either for yourself or a loved one, please visit My Grief Assist.