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Because family life matters

Hopes and fears at Christmas

It may seem impossible to have a meaningful Christmas, but although it may not be what we had wanted, here are a few ideas to make the holiday meaningful.

WYS Hopes and fears at Christmas“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” – so go the words of the popular Christmas song. For many of us, though, Christmas may not be so wonderful this year. We remember the joys of Christmases past, and wonder how we can get through this season when the rest of the world seems to be rejoicing. However hard we try to enter into the celebration of Christmas, a sudden recollection of our loss can easily bring us down to earth with a bump.


The song goes on to talk of people telling you to “be of good cheer”. And if that happens to you, perhaps more than ever it feels that others just don’t understand. Maybe you feel like hiding away and hoping that Christmas will be over soon. It can indeed be one of the most painful reminders of what we have lost.

However, there’s a Christmas carol that talks about “the hopes and fears of all the years” – and whether you have a faith or not, Christmas is a time for acknowledging that although we all have our “fears”, the best way forward is to hold on to hope and believe that the future can be good even though the present doesn’t feel very much like that right now.

Some ideas you may find helpful

So is it possible to make this holiday season meaningful, even though it may not be the Christmas you had hoped for? Here are a few ideas that you might find helpful:

  • Find creative ways of remembering your partner e.g. light a memorial candle at the dinner table.
  • Take time to share special memories or stories of your partner with family or friends who care. Focus on happy memories, not regrets.
  • Celebrate your partner’s life, as well as acknowledging their death. Don’t allow looking back at the past to spoil what you have in the present. Enjoy what you have, as well as grieving what you have lost.
  • Do the things that are important and special to you. Leave the words “ought” and “should” out of your vocabulary.
  • If you have children, try to make Christmas special for them by creating some happy memories, despite the sadness you are feeling.
  • Take time to think about what Christmas really means to you.
  • Believe there are reasons to go on, even though you may not see what they are just now. Believe in people, in life, love, laughter and hope. Have faith in the values and convictions by which you live. Believe in yourself, that your determination will get you through, and believe that no matter how difficult your circumstances, life can still be meaningful. Above all, believe in a brighter tomorrow and in possibilities beyond your bravest dreams.
  • Accept that you are grieving now, but you will come through it. Despite your great loss, you are not beyond repair. It may not feel like it right now, but there is hope for a future beyond the grief you feel today.

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