As the holidays approach, you might find yourself just wishing you could avoid them completely and wake up once they were all over. The anticipation of the holidays can be nearly as stressful as the actual day itself. After the death of a loved one, your holidays will never be the same. Some families have found that creating new traditions which incorporate their loved one has helped them find joy once again in the holiday season. Below are some ideas that you could include this year:
Food: Did your loved one have a favorite meal or dish? Making (or buying) a favorite side dish or dessert can be one way to include your loved one in your holiday meals. Or you could go to their favorite restaurant as a family.
Candle lighting: Candles are often used during the holidays. This year, try lighting a candle in memory of your loved one. You can say a special blessing or poem if you want. Or you and your family can try this Candle Lighting Ritual for the Holidays and together you can remember your loved one.
A special place: Was there a street in your neighborhood where your loved one always liked the outside decorations? Is there a park your loved one liked to spend time in? Go to these locations as a family as part of your holiday time together. Being together in places you associate with your loved one can give you an opportunity to reminisce and share memories. Or, set aside time to visit the cemetery where your family member is buried.
Decorations: Buy an ornament that signifies your loved one and hang it prominently on your tree. Light your loved one’s menorah this year. Display pictures of your loved one from past holidays. Hang your loved one’s stocking but instead of filling it with gifts, fill it with pieces of paper filled out by different people with special memories or messages.
It is possible to still find joy during the holiday season and also mourn and miss your loved one. Even though your family member is not with you physically, there are still many ways to ensure that their memory is included in your holiday experience. What new traditions have you started since your loved one died? Your tradition may be just what another family is looking for, so please consider sharing!