Health News You Can Use

15 Tips for Coping with Holiday Grief

The holiday season can be a joyful time, but for many it can also be an occasion for sadness. This is especially true for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one. At Mercy, we recognize the holidays can be complicated  and filled with a variety of emotions and want to provide support, encouragement and compassion to those who may be struggling. 

Grief is personal and there is no one way or right way to deal with it,  but we found some helpful tips from “What’s Your Grief,” a website maintained by Baltimore-area mental health professionals, for coping with grief during the holidays. Here’s a sampling of their 64 ideas. For the complete we encourage you to visit

  1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different, and they will be tough.
  2. Decide which traditions you want to keep or change.
  3. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
  4. Remember that the way others will want to spend the holiday may not match how you want to spend the holiday.
  5. Put out a ‘memory stocking’, ‘memory box’, or another special place where you and others can write down memories you treasure. Pick a time to read them together.
  6. Light a candle in your home in memory of the person you’ve lost.
  7. Include one of your loved one’s favorite dishes in your holiday meal.

8.. Be honest. Tell people what you DO want to do for the holidays and what you DON’T want to do.

  1. Make a donation to a charity that was important to your loved one in their name.
  2. If you are feeling really ambitious, adopt a family in memory of your loved one. This can often be done through a church, salvation army, or goodwill.
  3. See a counselor. Maybe you’ve been putting it off. The holidays are especially tough, so this may be the time to talk to someone.
  4. Pick a few special items that belonged to your loved one and gift them to friends or family who will appreciate them.
  5. Make a memorial ornament, wreath, or other decoration in honor of your loved one.
  6. If you have been having a hard time parting with your loved one’s clothing, use the holidays as an opportunity to donate some items to a homeless shelter or other charity.
  7. Send a holiday card to friends of your loved one who you may regret having lost touch with.