For many of us grieving a loss, holidays and meaningful dates can be difficult to cope with. Grief has no time limit, and whether your loved one passed recently or many years ago, it is completely normal to feel their loss more keenly on certain days of the year. To navigate those difficult days, it can be helpful to take part in an activity to celebrate that special person’s life, and to honour your own emotions. Here are some ideas:
Create a Christmas ornament or holiday decoration
Most of us spend the Christmas holiday season with our closest friends and family. Naturally, this means that loss is felt more deeply at this time of year. If you celebrate Christmas, one activity to do either on your own or with your family is to create a Christmas tree ornament or star. Your decorated ornament could then be dedicated to your loved one (this is a great activity to do with kids). Whether you paint their name on an existing ornament, or get creative and craft them from scratch, the memorial ornament can stay on your tree for many years to come. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, this activity can be adapted for a different holiday decoration or keepsake for your home – whichever feels right for your family.
Make a floral arrangement
Making a floral arrangement is a creative, therapeutic, and practical activity. If your usual tradition includes taking flowers to a gravestone or memorial site, picking the flowers personally and then delivering them makes it even more special. This is a lovely activity for any meaningful date, such as birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and everything in between.
Bake a cake or delicious treat
A loved one’s birthday is a hard day when they are no longer with us. Baking a cake for them is a sweet tradition to uphold. This can be relaxing, very nostalgic, and is a particularly good activity to get kids involved with. What was your loved one’s favourite cake or dessert? Did they have a special recipe? Bake something in their honour, and then invite some friends and family around to enjoy it together and share stories and memories.
Write a memory journal
For some of us, doing some baking or taking a class will be much too intensive on these tough days – and that is more than okay. A more introspective, quieter activity is starting a memory journal. Write down some of your favourite memories with the person, some of your favourite anecdotes about them, or some important facts about their life that you would want others to remember. Eventually, this will become a beautiful keepsake for you to read over in years to come and to pass on to future generations. You could write in this at any time, but this could be a thoughtful activity on a death anniversary that feels more difficult to ‘celebrate’ like some of the other holidays mentioned.
Holidays and special dates can be difficult, but hopefully these activities can help you to navigate these days. If you need extra support during this time, we have curated a list of grief support resources on our website and our team can also help to get you in contact with any grief professionals – please don’t hesitate to reach out.