christmas grief photo blog 1

A family tradition, familiar food or holiday scent may trigger feelings of loss or memories of your loved one, bringing added grief and a desire to escape until the holiday season is over.

But experts advise it’s better to accept—not avoid—these emotions, as a way of healing. Skip a party if you’re not up to it, but don’t isolate yourself completely, since being with family and friends—who are likely grieving too—can create an opportunity to reminisce and share stories about your loved one, and lighten your heavy heart. Psychologists say one of the most effective ways to handle holiday grief is to create new rituals, which incorporate the memory of a loved one into the holidays themselves.

Keep their memory alive by lighting a memorial candle, hanging a special ornament, or cooking their favourite meal. Set a spot for them at the table, and toast their memory. Or start a whole new tradition. Grieving families can lift their spirits by donating gifts or funds to people (or pets) in need, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Remember, the holiday season is only temporary.

Grieving this Christmas? Know someone who is? Niagara Life Centre Counselling can help. Inspiring positive life change since 1985, the centre is located at 65 Lakeshore Road, St. Catharines. Call 905-933-1580, or email

For more information, and for help with handling your grief, visit

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