Creating New Holiday Traditions After Loss
While many people will associate the upcoming holiday session with warm feelings and joy, there are many others that will come into this season with mixed emotions after having experienced a loss of a loved one.
One way to help cope with this loss is to create new traditions. New traditions are a wonderful way to really reflect on your loved one and continue their legacy. Below are 10 ideas for new holiday traditions to consider after a death:
- Favorite Dish or Desert - Make your loved ones favorite dish and name it after them. My father loved Banana Cream Pudding, and it was one of the only things he would eat the last days before his passing. I now make this every holiday and affectionately call it "Dad's Pudding".
- Tell Stories - Much like the traditions of Dia de los Muertos. It can be very comforting to share stories with others about the ones we've lost. It also helps keep those happy memories alive.
- Remembrance Décor - Buy or make a new piece of décor or an ornament that reminds you of your loved one. You could also make a small remembrance tree and place photos, personal affects, letters and other items on the tree in remembrance of your loved one.
- Set a Plate for Them - Add a plate to your table, to symbolize your loved one's presence. You could even pour them their favorite drink or make a plate for them the way they would have liked it.
- Moment of Silence - Take a moment of silence at your holiday gathering to remember the loved ones lost.
- Light a Candle - Buy a candle in remembrance of your loved one. It could be a pretty one you know they would have loved, a specific smell they liked, or a smell that reminds you of them. Light the candle anytime you want to include or remember them.
- Music - Play music during your holiday celebrations that remind you of your loved one. My dad loved to play Alabama's - Thistle Hair the Christmas Bear for my brother and I during Christmas time. After his passing, I've made it a point to add this song to my holiday playlist.
- Visit a Place They Liked to Visit - Did your loved one have a specific place they liked to go during the holidays, or a place they use to take you? Visit this place and take a moment to reconnect with your loved one while there.
- Favorite Tradition - If your loved one had a tradition that they loved to do, every year. Keep the tradition going. My aunt was a ballet dancer and dance teacher, participation in the local Nutcracker performance was a must, every year. As a child it was torturous, but I now look forward to watching the Nutcracker every December, and reflect on the memories of her and her impact on my childhood.
- Memory Box - Set up a memory box at the next holiday gathering. Decorate it with photos or images of the loved one. Set aside pens and paper for everyone to anonymously write down memories or things they want to share about their loved ones. Later take a moment to read the notes out loud or place in a remembrance book.
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