The empty chair this Christmas


It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the expectations of Christmas when you have lost a loved one, so give yourself permission to step back and keep things simple.

Hold off on making big decisions and take things as they come.

Be kind to yourself and to others around you.  It’s okay to change your mind.  It’s okay to say no.

If you need some help, take up some of those offers of help.  It’s also okay to say yes.

On Christmas day remember your loved one.

  • Play their favourite music
  • Visit the cemetery or crematorium and lay flowers
  • Share memories of them with others
  • Plant a rose bush or plant that flowers in their favourite colour
  • Burn a candle in memory of them on the mantle on Christmas Day
  • Display pictures of your loved one
  • Bake one of their favourite foods to have in memory of them
  • Make a memorial decoration for the Christmas tree


Not all memories may be good, but be intentional and focus on the happy ones.  The difficult memories can be dealt with another time in the future.

Everyone grieves in different ways and what comforts some may not comfort others.

Some people like to talk, while others like to keep busy doing things.

Some may want company, some may want their space.

Let the kids know that it is okay to have fun on Christmas day, and that the day may be a mixture of happy and sad feelings.

Expect tears and cry if you want to: tears are a healing balm.

When we are tender the noise and busyness on Christmas day can be overpowering, so step away for a while if need be: go for a walk, take a nap or find a quite space.

Nothing can every replace the presence of our loved ones who have died, but honouring their memory can soften the hardness of the reality that they are gone.