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How to Celebrate the First Holiday after losing a loved one

Holidays following the loss of a loved one can be incredibly difficult. They can remind you of their absence and call to attention the time that you had shared with them. While it is perfectly okay to skip the celebrations following that loss, you may find yourself ready to try to celebrate again. This can feel like a daunting task, but by keeping some tips and ideas in mind as you enter that celebration, it can make all of it a little easier. OneWorld Memorials is here to help you through that first celebration with things to keep in mind.

Consider Your Holiday Traditions

One of the first things you'll want to consider before entering into the holiday season is the traditions that you hold. Do you visit relatives, or do you have others visit you? Do you hold parties or keep things small? Are there any particular small traditions that you've engaged in throughout the years? The smallest traditions often come as unexpected shocks after a loss, as they've become so commonplace that we forget about them until we're faced with the event itself. There are many ways to prepare for this - but to start, it is a good idea to try to remember and keep in mind any traditions you may hold.

For many, simply continuing with those traditions or making sure to continue to follow them can be most helpful. This can help the loss feel less unnatural, as it does not interrupt or interfere with the traditions you've held for years. There may be some traditions you'll want to forgo, but if you feel most comfortable continuing a majority of your traditions, then it is worth attempting to do so.

For others, those traditions may bring feelings of hurt and sadness. Particularly on the first holiday following your loss, you may want to forgo tradition completely. Another option is to change your traditions and invent new ones - you're entering into a new phase of your life, and as a result, may want to find ways to honor the person you've lost and your own perseverance.

Be Kind to Yourself

Whether you choose to continue with your traditions or not, it is important to remember that you are dealing with a significant life event and should take any time you need. It is normal to feel sad, and you shouldn't try to prevent yourself from feeling those emotions. Likewise, you shouldn't feel guilt over feeling happy or experiencing joy at your holiday celebrations. These feelings do not mean that you're forgetting your lost loved one, and it is important to remember that even after a loss we as individuals are still capable of a wide range of emotions.

Remember That You Are Not Alone

If the weight of your loss comes crashing down, prior to the holidays, during the planning or even during the event itself, it is vital to remember that you are not alone. Your loved ones will understand your feelings and reactions and will do what they can to support you through your loss. Remember to communicate with others, to not try to hold all of the emotions in and to be kind to yourself. Growth is a process - and we all have different ways of experiencing loss.