Grief During the Holidays

The holiday season can be an especially difficult time to grieve the loss of a loved one. Your sense of loss can be magnified during family gatherings, holiday traditions and meaningful events. The need for support is the greatest during the holidays. Focus on good memories and take comfort with family and friends. There are a number of ways you can deal with grief during the holiday season to get through this difficult time.

  • Talk about your emotions with loved ones. Share stories and favorite memories.
  • Be honest about how you’d like to spend your time this holiday season, and don’t do more than you want. If dinner with family or friends doesn’t feel right, develop an alternative option during these tough times.
  • Familiar traditions may be comforting, but it is important to acknowledge that the holidays will not be the same after a loss. Some find comfort in new experiences, a change in location for family celebrations or a new menu.
  • Holiday activities can also cause stress. New activities can also bring about a sense of ease, and scaling back holiday plans may be beneficial as well.
  • Limit holiday parties to small gatherings with those closest to you, and don’t hesitate to scale back your usual holiday activities. Less decorations, greeting cards or events will give you a break from the added stress at this time of year.
  • Gift-giving can be challenging as you grieve the loss of a loved one. Consider alternate options to coping with grief. According to the AARP, in times of loss we often want to do something that will make a difference.
  • Consider shopping online, or making a donation in a loved one’s name to a charity or cause that he or she cherished. Volunteer and give your time and talent to that charity.

There is no right or wrong way to handle the holiday season after a loss. Find unique ways to honor your loved one and incorporate their memory into the holidays.


Heritage Ministries, the parent company of Rolling Fields, was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations in the states of Washington, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. The Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, and lessons. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit