The holiday season comes with family gatherings, special times and many happy memories. However, when a loved one is lost during the holidays, joy is sometimes replaced by grief and sadness. Overcoming these feelings takes time and patience. While a loved one is never forgotten, as the years pass by, remembering them with a smile gets easier. Until that time comes, there are some steps you can take to honor that special person and change the pain to a smile if even for a little while.

Talk About Your Loved One

Do not be afraid to talk about your loved one. This person was a special part of your life for years, and they deserve to remain a part of the conversation. Share stories, talk about past traditions or simply talk about how much you love them. Laugh about the good things you remember about them. This type of conversation is very healing and likely to be appreciated by many in the room.

Memories Through Food

If your loved one always made a special dish during the holidays, continue to make it as part of your family’s celebration. Enjoy it in their honor as if they were still sitting at the table enjoying it with you. While it might not taste, look or smell exactly the same, it will help them to remain alive through the memory. It can also serve as a special tradition for your holidays moving forward.

Spend Some Time Gathering

Even if the loss makes you want to spend time alone, make sure to gather with friends and family. It is okay to spend a little time alone. However,  too much alone time during a festive period of the year will only leave you feeling lonely and possibly even depressed. Let your friends and family know it is okay to talk about your loved one, but the celebration does not have to simply act as a time for remembering. Give yourself permission to move forward too, and learn how to celebrate new things without their presence.


Just like celebrating with other people, remember that it is still okay to decorate like you normally would. This is sometimes difficult especially in the first year after a loss, but try to get some decorations up. The lights, ornaments and images of the season will help to improve your mood and give you permission to feel the holiday cheer.

Give Yourself Permission to Feel Sad

Finally, remember that it is okay to cry and spend some time alone. This adjustment is difficult, especially if it is your first holiday without a loved one. You are allowed to notice that one of the most special people in your life is no longer with you. Even “hating” the holidays is okay for a short period of time. While you do not want to get lost in these feelings of sadness, let your friends and family know if you are not feeling in a festive mood. Ask for their support. If your loved one was in hospice care before passing, consider reaching out to your grief counselor  too. They are there to help you get through this and move forward to a better tomorrow.

Salus Homecare Orange County understands how difficult it is to lose a loved one anytime, but especially during the holiday season. When this happens, we encourage our clients to take care of themselves while remembering the joy this season brings and enjoying time with friends and family. If you need support to get through this time, we are always here to help. Give us a call with questions or to schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation.