• Judith Zucker, LCSW

Celebrating the Holiday while Grieving a Loss

Whether or not you are currently grieving, the holidays can be a difficult time of year. The thought of missing that special person at your family gathering creates an emotional challenge that evokes pain mixed with nostalgia.

During the holiday season, we are barraged with images of happiness, love, and togetherness. If you are grieving the loss of someone you love, the holiday season presents an opportunity to honor and celebrate the life of your loved one.


Try to maintain your holiday traditions. You can continue your holiday traditions by incorporating your loved ones into your dinners and conversations, etc. It is a good time to share photos and stories of the person you miss. Those photos and stories make for wonderful family memories and often bring laughter; maybe some tears too. The dinners and festivities are a great time to teach children and grandchildren more about where they are from and why each family member is meaningful.

Help your children create a holiday decoration in honor of their loved ones. Whether that is an ornament, a menorah, a turkey that sits on your Thanksgiving table… it will bring joy to all the hearts at your gathering to be reminded that your loved one is still present. Giving gifts to family members of framed photos or old heirlooms is also a great way to honor the past.


It is important to remember to take care of yourself. Remember to eat foods that make you feel good, continue habits that make your days easier, and of course, continue to have healthy conversations with your family and friends.


There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Your family members may handle things differently than you and that is okay. Be available and supportive to each other.