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The winter holiday season can bring expected and unexpected thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This can be especially true for those who have experienced a loss and are grieving. In this blog post, we share tips and tools that may help you to manage and cope with your grief during the holiday season.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

Grief can bring many emotions that can arise at various times, sometimes unexpectedly. You may feel differently about the holiday season now. Continue to give yourself permission and space you need to acknowledge your emotions and grieve. Understand that your experience, like everyone’s, is unique.

Consider Your Own Needs

After acknowledging your feelings, it is important to consider what you may need during the holiday season. This season and its emphasis on joy and giving can result in difficult expectations and pressure on those grieving. You may find yourself with different or new needs during the holidays. This is okay; embrace what you need to keep yourself safe and well.

Set Realistic Expectations with Friends and Families

It can also be important to communicate these needs to your close friends and family members, as well as others in your community. People have a specific role or tasks they complete during the holidays. For some, it may be more difficult to complete their holiday tasks, and for others, they may find comfort in the familiarity of their role. It is okay to set realistic expectations about the holidays with your friends and family, and to decline invitations or modify your usual holiday plans. Focus on what is manageable for you during this time.

Consider Creating New Traditions

Traditions can be a significant part of holiday celebrations, but they are often entwined with the memories of loved ones. If it is hard or painful to continue some traditions, you can consider creating new ones that honor the memory of your loved one and provide you with comfort.

Reach out For Support

Grieving during the holidays may be an isolating experience. Many local community groups offer programming for those bereaved and grieving during the holidays. These can provide opportunities for connection with others that may have similar lived experiences with loss and grief. As well, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family or other support groups. If needed, you can also reach out to professional support such as a trauma-informed counselor, therapist, or helpline.


How to Deal With Grief During the Holidays | Psychology Today Canada

Grief and the holidays – Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region (

15 Tips for Holiday Peace of Mind and Coping with Holiday Grief this Festive Season – CMHA British Columbia


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