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How to Navigate the Holiday Season

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

From November through January, we are surrounded by family, festive lights, gifts, cheerful music, traditions, and laughter. And yet, if you are grieving, the holiday #season is frequently the toughest time to navigate. How can you celebrate and be joyful when your heart misses someone you care about? Traditions may change. A song may trigger a memory. When the table is set, it is glaringly apparent that someone is missing. The holiday season magnifies the loss. It is a time focussed on togetherness and yet, for a grieving person, a time when they often feel alone.

#Strategies for coping during the holidays are unique, just as the person who died. Remember, all feelings are OK. It is OK to cancel the holiday. Or to make adjustments to new traditions, or modify your traditions. Perhaps you light a candle in their honor, serve their favorite dish, have a gift, such as a game or a puzzle, under the tree from the person for the family to work on together. Maybe take a walk and talk about the person. Do what feels best for you and your family.

Some suggestions of Do's and Don'ts when grieving during the holiday season:

  • Do set boundaries that feel best for you.

  • Don't do something that does not feel good for you at this time.

  • Do allow extra time for rest. Grief is #exhausting and adding the #holidays into the mix compounds the exhaustion.

  • Don't feel obligated to attend every event.

  • Do address, your feelings remembering all feelings are OK.

  • Don't push down the tears or anger. One belief is that we have tear ducts so we do not explode.

  • Do accept help. At some point, we all need a little help and you are also providing the opportunity for someone to help their friend.

There is no wrong or right way to navigate the death of someone close to you, and the holiday season adds an additional layer to grieving. Trust your gut, and be gentle with yourself remembering that #grief is the price of love.



Kristine Kuhnert is the director at Ele's Place. Reach her at (517) 482-1315 or

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