Remembering loved ones during the holidays: how to honor and celebrate those who passed

The MIND 24-7 Team | December 23, 2023

The holiday season is a special time filled with warmth and cherished moments with friends and family. For those who have lost someone close to them, the holidays can also bring a mix of emotions, from nostalgia to grief. While it may feel challenging to remember loved ones during the holidays, there are meaningful and festive ways to celebrate the memories of those who have passed away. Let’s explore the healing power of rituals, memorials, and traditions and discuss where to go for holiday grief support.

Make a photo album

A photo album is a treasure chest of memories. Put together a photo album featuring the loved one from different times in their life. You can include snapshots from family gatherings, vacations, or daily life. Share the photo album with others who will appreciate the memories. Find joy in reminiscing and sharing stories while looking at the photos.

Create a memory book

Like a photo album, a memory book lets you capture the essence of your loved one. Create a special place to write memories, stories, quotes, or anything that reminds you of them. Invite others to share and contribute. Add mementos like ticket stubs or other small sentimental items. The memory book can become a beautiful keepsake filled with memories of good times.

Watch old home videos

Home videos are like time machines that can take us back to moments we never want to forget. While it may be emotional to walk down memory lane, consider spending an evening watching old tapes or digital files. It may be comforting to hear their laughter, see their smiles, and relive the moments that made them so special to you. You may even find some opportunities to laugh at dated clothes or funny jokes. Remember, laughter is good medicine for the soul.

Set a place for them at the dinner table

Even though your loved one is not physically present, you can still think of them in your holiday traditions. A nice way to do this is to set a place for them at the dinner table. You can place a framed photo, a small candle, or any special item that represents them. If it’s too painful to see an empty seat, consider inviting someone to fill it in honor of them. This could be a dear friend of theirs or a family who gets the special privilege of carrying on their legacy in the festivities.

Make their favorite recipes

Food connects us to each other and the past. To keep the memories alive, prepare your loved one’s favorite dishes. Share these dishes with family to savor the flavors and celebrate good times past, present, and future.

Enjoy their favorite tradition

Holiday traditions can feel really different when someone has passed away. To celebrate their life, consider carrying on traditions in their honor. Whether watching their favorite holiday movie or listening to their favorite holiday music, find ways to incorporate their favorite tradition into your celebrations to feel more connected.

Make a donation in their honor

Giving back in your loved one’s name can be a meaningful way to celebrate their memory. If you have the financial means, donate in their honor to their favorite charity or organization. You can also volunteer your time in their honor. Consider working at a soup kitchen or helping out someone in need.

Light a candle for them

Lighting a candle is a special way people worldwide remember those who have passed away. For many, a lit candle symbolizes the spirit of the person who passed away and shows that their memory will live on and shine bright. Choose a candle that reminds you of them and safely leave it burning when you miss them the most.

Take care of yourself

Feelings of grief and the busyness of the season can make it hard to slow down and take care of yourself. Honor your late loved ones by taking care of yourself, as they would have wanted the best for you. Eat healthy meals, get some exercise, spend time with loved ones, and get good sleep. Give yourself time and space to process the loss and remember your loved one.

Seek MIND 24-7 for holiday grief support

The holidays can be a challenging time for those who are grieving, but you are not alone. For those in the Phoenix area, MIND 24-7 provides 24/7 walk-in, crisis, and ongoing support for children and adults, even during the holidays. Whether you need an empathetic listener or emergency help, our doors are always open. To get same-day holiday grief support , visit one of our convenient locations or text/call 1-844-MIND247.