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Remembering Your Loved Ones at the Holidays

December 1, 2019

Whether you have recently lost someone, or it has been many years since your loved one has passed, you may be anxious about facing the holidays without your beloved family member, friend or pet. Regardless of when the loss occurred, you may feel the absence of a loved one most acutely during the holiday season because of the holiday memories, traditions, and rituals that involved that person or pet.

Photo credit : Spyros Arsenis /

Remembering your loved one can help bring you some peace and comfort during the holiday season. Here are some ideas you can use to remember and honor someone you miss during the holidays:

Light a Memorial Candle

Here at Keohane, we offer an annual Candlelight Memorial Service at the holidays for our families to remember and celebrate loved ones that they have lost over the past year. The non-denominational service comforts families as they come together to light a candle in memory of a loved one.

You can create your own memorial candle lighting ceremony, either on your own or by inviting a close circle of family and friends to participate. You can say a blessing or prayer either before or after lighting the candle while invoking the name of your loved one. You and other participants can share memories or special moments they shared with your loved one during the holidays or any time of the year.

Create a Holiday Photo Display

Take framed photos and photo albums and display them in a spot where your holiday visitors are sure to see them. People enjoy flipping through photo albums and seeing images of loved ones over the years. Soon, your visitors will be reminiscing and telling stories about your loved one. You can even put a bowl and slips of paper by the person’s photo for loved ones to write down why they are grateful to have had that person in their lives.

If you have digital photos or loose photos, you can create a photo album online at sites such as Shutterfly and Snapfish. Loose photos or vintage photos will need to be scanned and converted to digital files before uploading to the website. Online photo companies often run huge discounts just before the holidays, so you can get a good deal when creating your memorial photo album.

Give Gifts in Memory of Your Loved One

There are many ways to make gift giving a way to honor and remember the special person that you are missing at this time of year. For someone who has everything, you can make a donation to a cause that was important to your loved one. By donating to charity as a way of giving a gift, you’re not only honoring your loved one, but making the world a better place, too.

If you’re out shopping and see a gift that you know your loved one would have enjoyed, buy it and donate it to charity or give it to someone else who would like it, too.

If you are holding onto some things that belonged to your loved one, use the holidays as a time to give away some items that could use a new home. Wrap up the items and write a note to the recipient about the significance of the item to your loved one and why you think they will appreciate having such a treasure. The sentimental value of the gift will be deeply appreciated.

You can also make gifts from that person’s clothing such as quilts, pillows or stuffed animals. A stuffed bear made from grandpa’s shirt gives a grandchild a way of holding onto the love.

Take Care of Yourself

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you may not be able to accomplish as much as you have in the past, so consider what you can comfortably handle. There are many expectations at this time of year, from sending out holiday cards, to buying gifts, and being merry at parties and family gatherings.

While remembering and honoring your loved one, make sure to protect yourself as best as you can by finding ways to put some distance between yourself and all the commotion. You can support yourself during the holidays by getting enough sleep; eating right; drinking moderately; exercising; helping others; and keeping your rooms well-lit to counteract the lack of sunshine during this time of year.


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