Grieving a Loved One During the Holidays

November 11, 2021 | Share:

Losing a loved one is always difficult, but especially so during the holiday season - a time that is centered around traditions and togetherness. You find yourself alone with thoughts and memories interspersed with moments of grief. Everyone has their own way of dealing with loss, but you can prepare yourself for some of the emotions that accompany grief.

Living with Grief During the Holidays

Trust That Grief Will Lessen

Holiday festivities are intended to bring joy, but they may result in reminders of your loss. Although grieving is full of heartache, it’s all part of the healing process. It can be helpful to prepare yourself to move through the holidays without your loved one and acknowledge that grief is present.

Set Boundaries

Contrary to the first statement, you’re not obligated to participate in every holiday outing, especially if it causes you pain. Some may not consider your situation and ask you to participate in their plans. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘No thanks, I’m not up to it.’ Consider what you can manage. Take baby steps and do something you enjoy (i.e., decorating or baking cookies) that might help lessen the heartache. You don’t have to make all of the decisions by yourself. Talk to your family or friends and ask for their help setting boundaries or establishing new holiday traditions. You can come up with a plan that works for all of you.

Do Something Kind for Someone Else

Although you’re grieving, it’s okay to give back. Whether you’re donating to families in need, or volunteering at a nursing home, you can make a difference in someone’s life. Helping others can help to lift your spirits.

Reach Out for Help

Grief is expected with loss, especially during the holidays. Many times, you want to be left alone with your thoughts and that’s normal. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone if you find yourself struggling. Remember that there are local resources and support groups available to you.

Living with grief is a difficult and very individual experience. The Journey Program at Hospice of Central PA (HCP) works to educate the community about loss and to provide support for individuals and families, so that they may maintain good health throughout the grieving process. HCP’s bereavement programs are open to everyone in the community. There is no need to have a connection to hospice care, or to HCP, to participate.

For more information visit us at or call (717) 732-1000.