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How to Process Grief During the Christmas Season


grieving woman sitting on couch

As Christmas draws near, you may find yourself wrestling with a sense of loss. If you're feeling overshadowed by grief during this typically joyous time, know that you are not alone. This post aims to gently guide you through finding moments of peace and joy amidst the challenges of the grieving process.

Understanding the Grief Process During Christmas

Grief during holidays can feel particularly intense. It’s hard not to connect with special memories of past Christmases and yearn for what once was.

If you find yourself in this place of sorrow:

  • Be gentle with yourself. Do what you need to do to honor where you are now. Let go of the expectations to be happy or excited about the holidays. You may even be looking forward to them being done and over with. And that’s ok.

  • Remember, it's normal to experience moments of happiness even in the midst of grief. This isn't a betrayal of your loved one; they would want you to keep living and making the most of your life..

  • Recognize that grief and joy can coexist. It’s not one or the other. Often it’s both.

Much sorrow in processing grief is focused upon what has been lost. Here is my personal list of things I continue to mourn after losing both of my parents in 2021: celebrating birthdays and our favorite holiday—Christmas together, sharing struggles, remembering stories of the past, creating new memories, finding comfort in life’s difficult moments, phone calls on ordinary days, shopping for a new outfit, discussing the latest episode of Dancing With The Stars or The Voice, meeting for lunch, daily check-ins, worshiping side by side in church, pork chop gravy, shared sorrow at the illness or loss of a friend or loved one, text messages, being prayed for, voice mails about a frustration with technology, them caring about what I care about, and a million other trivial but sacred moments of connection and imperfect love.

The depth of loss on some days can be absolutely profound and feel heart- wrenching.

But remember…

You got to love and be loved by these wonderfully imperfect humans. While they no longer are companions on your earthly journey, you carry their legacy of love in your heart. It brings much comfort and helps ease the pain of loneliness.

Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, whether it’s joyful, deeply saddened or somewhere in between, it’s ok. Don’t deny your reality. Embrace it. Be kind and give yourself grace to be where you are. For when you do, you will experience greater peace and healing.

Also, remember that you’re still here. You’re not alone. There’s more work to be done. There are people to love, serve, learn from, and grow with. God is still good.

Five Steps to Uncover Joy as You Process Grief This Christmas

After experiencing a loss, you might feel like joy will never come, especially around Christmas. However, there are things you can do to take steps towards joy this Christmas season:

  • Let Go of Minor Stresses: Release the small worries and focus on what truly matters.

  • Create Memorable Moments: Embrace the opportunity to make special memories with those around you.

  • Honor Traditions, Old and New: Keep treasured traditions alive and consider starting new ones that honor your loved one.

  • Capture Joyful Moments: Take photos of laughter, love, and all the moments that bring you contentment.

  • Give Thanks: Pause to be thankful for the gift of Jesus, whose life offers us hope, love, and eternal peace.

Conclusion: Embracing the Present

As you navigate this Christmas season, each step you take is a stride towards healing. Remember to embrace the love and memories that surround you. These are your beacons of light in your journey of grief and healing. For more guidance on coping with grief, please click here to schedule a complimentary call with me.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Richelle Hoekstra-Anderson is an Abundant Life and Business Coach. Her coaching utilizes a variety of tools to help you gain clarity on how you are designed for significance. When you come to understand and appreciate your unique design, you create the mindset to help you meet current challenges and live an abundant life. Ultimately, you gain new insight and learn the skills needed to create a confident life of peace, balance, and joy.

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