30 Nov  

7 Ways to Create New Holiday Traditions After Losing a Loved One

Holiday traditions are created with love and meaning that connects your family. After losing a loved one that tradition can change or end completely. Starting new family traditions or updating old ones is an important part of the grieving process.

Here are 7 ways to transform old traditions or begin ones:

  1. Start with small rituals

The first holiday season after losing a loved one is hard so start with small changes to rituals. Perhaps you spend time with someone connected to that loved one by initiating a weekly visit over coffee with them. Processing your grief together while bonding can help your healing process. Tradition connects family together and creates a sense of security and comfort, so starting small is a first step in finding a new comfort.

  1. Create a Family Wish List

Invite your family to create a wish list of activities you could do together. You could pick one activity each year and do that event together during the holiday to commemorate your loved one. Letting go of old traditions is hard, but as you start to put in place new ones, you’ll discover how to celebrate with your family still here while honoring a loved one who has passed on.

  1.  Food!

Food is always a great way to add to tradition and bring family together. Choose a favorite dish or dessert of your loved one to make and serve it during the holidays. You could also ask family members to request special dishes connected to your loved one and serve an entire menu of their favorite meal and drink.

  1.  Candle remembrance ceremony

Choose one night during the holiday to gather your family to share in remembering your loved one. Have a lit candle at the service where each person takes turns holding the candle and shares a special memory from past holidays or in general. This is a great way to keep the memory of your loved one alive through story.

  1.  Do charitable work

Choose a charity together as a family where you can give back to your community in your loved one’s name. Perhaps you serve food at a shelter, donate to food pantries or collect coats to donate to the needy.

  1. Visit a place where you feel connected to your loved one

Visit a place each holiday that had special meaning for you and your loved one. It can be a lake, restaurant or even the theater. Create a group event with your family for everyone to attend and share memories of being in this place with your loved one.

  1. Memory box

Have a special place in your home where you place a box, slips of paper and pens for family and holiday visitors to write down favorite memories with your loved one all season long. Pull these memories out and share them at a designated holiday dinner where everyone can enjoy them.


The loss of a family member during the holidays can be a challenge to get through but it’s important to understand that this is a change you must go through that also offers you chances to create new family traditions to celebrate.

If you’re having a difficult time coping with your loss this season, here are tips for coping with grief during the holidays. We also offer support group resources that can help you manage during this time. The holidays are a challenging time if you’re grieving, but you are not alone. Finding helpful community resources and creating new family traditions can make it easier.


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