Christmas is a time of family, love and sharing special moments - and it’s precisely at this time of year when we tend to really feel the loss of our loved ones. Whether it’s that empty spot at the table or a family tradition that just doesn’t feel right anymore, our lady funeral directors know that the holiday season often brings to the surface many bittersweet memories of those we’ve had to say goodbye to.
Whether you’ve recently experienced the death of a friend or family member, or have been coping with a loss for several years, finding a way to remember a loved one at Christmas is a powerful way to process your grief. It certainly doesn’t take away your loss, but it does help to honour them in a positive way. Here are five of our favourite ways you can remember them over the holidays.
5 ways to remember a loved one at Christmas
1. Create a new charitable Christmas tradition in their name
Get the whole family involved in creating a new Christmas tradition to commemorate those who have passed. If your loved one had a favourite cause or charity they were passionate about, why not commit to spending the afternoon on Christmas Eve volunteering to help others in their memory? The act of giving to others can be a remarkable healer for our own pain. What better way to remember your loved ones who have passed than undertaking a charitable act in their name?
2. Plant a tree in their honour
Trees are a beautiful symbol of life and the cyclical passing of time. If your loved one had a particular type of flower or tree that they loved, planting one in your garden is a lovely way to remember a loved one at Christmas time. Otherwise, we’d recommend picking one of the beautiful native trees that will flower during the holiday season, such as a Jacaranda tree, Christmas bells, or even a traditional Western Australian Christmas Tree. Every year when you see those blooms coming to life, you’ll enjoy the loving memory of your family member.
3. Make a remembrance wreath or ornaments for your tree
Making decorations for your home and Christmas tree is w great way to remember a loved one at Christmas. This is a fantastic way to involve the younger members of your family and help them to remember the person who has passed away. The whole family can work together to choose the flowers, branches and decorations to make a memorial wreath for your departed loved one. Or, spend an afternoon at the craft table making ornaments for your Christmas tree that signify the memory of those no longer with us. You can use laminated photos, words of memory, or simply their favourite colour - whatever makes the ornament unique to your loved one.
4. Celebrate their rituals
Rather than avoiding the rituals which bring back memories of the departed, make a point of celebrating them. Did your mum always have a nip of brandy after Christmas lunch? Make a special point of gathering the family and toasting to her memory over brandy. Did Dad always make a fuss of slicing and serving the Christmas ham? Make this part of your meal a special time to acknowledge and remember him. Was there a particular hymn or carol your friend loved? Play it and sing along to honour their memory. By choosing to celebrate these special moments, we feel closer and more connected to the memory of our loved ones that have passed.
5. A time for storytelling
There is comfort in sharing our favourite memories with those around us. Why not dedicate a certain time on Christmas day when everyone gets together to tell their favourite stories about the person who has passed? There will no doubt be laughter mixed with tears, but in the sharing of these feelings and moments you will feel a closeness with those around you, and a positive celebration of those who have departed. It’s such a nice way to remember those who have passed at Christmas, helping you feel closer to them as you all enjoy sharing the memory of them in your hearts.
We know that the holiday season can be a particularly difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. If you have your own special ways that you celebrate and remember a loved one during the festive season, we’d love to hear from you. It’s always nice to share the rituals that help your family through, and hopefully help others through a difficult time of year too.