5 Tips for your first Christmas without a loved one 

Woman looks sadly out of a window with a Christmas tree in the background

From the lead-up to Christmas day to the New Year celebrations, feeling festive when you’ve lost a loved one can be difficult. Whether their passing is recent or in the last few years, the loss will be felt by your family year after year. We’ve compiled some tips for making sure you’re looking after yourself during the festive period. 

Don’t feel pressured to decorate 

Getting your decorations up can unleash a wave of memories and emotions. If you don’t feel up to decorating as you had done previously, you don’t have to.  

Communicate about Christmas Cards 

Receiving or giving, Christmas cards are a festive tradition that can present complex emotional challenges. But, there is no expectation for you to send out cards if you don’t want to. You can also communicate to others that you do not wish to receive cards this year. Perhaps they could make a charitable donation in your name rather than sending you one? 

Don’t feel pressured to socialise 

Getting together with lots of people can be daunting, especially during this time of year. If you don’t you will have as much energy as usual for socialising, it may be worth talking to others in advance and explaining how you feel. This can help you manage expectations and ensure you don’t burn yourself out.  Whether you’re up for celebrating or not, it may be worth chatting to the hosts to gauge who else is invited so you can understand the social battery you’ll expend during the gathering. Remember, your friends and family understand exactly how you feel, but will want to ensure you are feeling comfortable and happy. 

Adapt your traditions 

The concept of not being able to fulfil established traditions can be a particularly tough part of the festive period. However, this doesn’t mean they need to stop altogether. You can communicate with your family and friends about adopting them if you want to. You can even make new traditions. 

Look after yourself 

The most important person here is you. Remember that. Everyone around you will only want to make sure that you’re supported and comforted, they understand that this period will be particularly difficult for you. Communicating your boundaries for the season can really help to ensure that you’re comfortable. 


If you need any support during this period, please reach out to a bereavement service.

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Bereavement Advice

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