15 Important Tips for Coping with Grief During the Holidays

Coping with grief at any stage is hard, right? What can be even more challenging is dealing with grief during the holidays. In this post, we’ll offer tips and suggestions, for those grieving through the holidays.

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a mother and daughter sitting in the floor by a fireplace touching foreheads with a Christmas tree in the background featured image for How to Find Hope for the Holidays after the Loss of a Parent?

With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is quickly approaching. Normally I look forward to the holidays, but this year is different. If you read last week’s post, Best Books About Grief For Surviving The Holidays you’ll understand.

Coping with grief is hard and many families around the globe spent Thanksgiving with their loved ones. But some, myself included, are left learning to cope with the holidays and overwhelming grief left behind.

That said, coping with grief during the holidays when you’re missing your loved ones is extremely painful, right? You reminisce all the family traditions you did together and then have to find ways to simply manage the grief and loss in your own way.


a woman wearing a light pink shirt with her head down crying with text Coping with Grief During the Holidays

Coping with Grief During the Holidays

I did research and went digging to find ways of coping with grief this year in order to keep my sanity. I found Lisa Appelo’s website and believe this was Holy Spirit-led. My heart needed to read what she stated in a post about coping with grief during the holidays.

In fresh grief, you may need to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas much differently and, as grief softens, find that you can go back to some old traditions or keep the new ones.

Source: Lisa Appelo

How can you get over coping with grief at Christmas?

In all honesty, coping with grief and feelings of depression is a much bigger challenge during the holidays. Why? The answer is a simple one sweet friend. The holiday seasons are centered around family and our loved ones. This reminds you all the more of those who aren’t with you.

In all honesty, my answer is you get over the grief for Christmas by leaning on God’s strength, not your own. Grieving through the holidays will be normal, especially if you’ve lost your loved ones close together like my family has this year.

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What to say to a grieving family during the holidays?

More often than not, finding the right words and actions to express your sympathy when someone loses a loved one is challenging. Here are some helpful tips to offer support to those grieving through the holidays.

Encourage them to Express Their Feelings

Allowing grieving friends to express how they feel can help them tremendously. Be willing to lend a friendly ear without offering advice or interrupting. Encourage them to share memories and talk about their loved ones.

Show Affection

What do you tend to do when you see someone who’s sad? Offer words of encouragement, first and foremost. If you’re anything like me, I’m a hugger and comforter. If possible, pat them on the back or hold their hand.

Grief Recovery Assessment Sheets

Have tons of Patience

It’s normal for those grieving to experience various stages of grief and emotions. Experiencing loss takes time to heal, so be patient and let others grieve in their own way.


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Volunteer your time

Offering assistance with day-to-day tasks can be very helpful. Suggest doing errands or cooking a meal and taking it to them. These two alone will go a long way to help reduce their stress while giving them time to heal.

Suggest a support group

Sometimes when a friend is grieving it may be helpful to suggest joining a support group or seeking professional help in order to fully heal. Help them find a Christian Counselor and Grief Mentor available who can help guide them with their grief and loss preferably. SunShyne is awesome and I highly recommend her courses to help bring clarity for you.

What did I learn about grief during the holidays?

I’ve avoided discussing the numerous deaths in my family since August. It’s still too fresh and raw for me. When asked, I give the generic response, “I’m Ok, or I’m hanging in there.”

The reality, however, myself included, you have to remember that life must go on. One day soon, if you’re a born-again follower of Jesus Christ, you will be reunited with your loved ones in Heaven.

Remind yourself that grieving through the holidays is a normal process, so do not beat yourself up. That said, you need to do things that will take your mind off of coping with grief and loss to ease the pain and sorrow.

How to Help Your Friends grief their loved ones during the Holidays?

Support their holiday decisions

Show your loved ones support if they make the choice to not join in on the annual festivities you’re used to doing each year. Try not to be discouraged and understand their choice has nothing to do with you.

don’t Push them to accept invitations

Understand it’s ok to extend an invite but don’t pressure them to attend. Just be understanding if they choose to decline.

Show Understanding if they change their mind

When someone is grieving their emotions are all over the place. They may agree to accept your invitation at first, however, that being said, they may change their last minute. Be supportive if they change their mind,

Mail them a Handwritten card

Many holiday cards that are common nowadays are specially made family portraits. For a family who’s mourning the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to see the smiling faces without feeling the loss of the person who’s no longer with them.

So, with this said, I believe a handwritten card would be beneficial and more sensitive in helping others who are coping with grief during the holidays.

be a good Listener

When you’re suffering due to grief and loss it’s a fair assumption you may feel like venting. If this is the case with your friend or loved one, lend a friendly ear and simply listen and support them.  

My disclaimer:

Do NOT tell them they should just move on, or “get over it already”…Just be there for them when needed!

Shower them with GOD’S LOVE because when you love someone…Love Does This.

Grief Resources from Lisa Appelo

31 Days Braving the Broken

Beginning Again

Hope In Grief

Hope in Grief Team

tips for coping with grief during the holidays

  1. Acknowledge the holidays will be different.
  2. Decide which traditions you want to keep.
  3. Decide which traditions you want to change.
  4. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
  5. Be honest and transparent. Tell people what you want to DO and DON’T want to do for the holidays.
  6. It’s OK to skip holiday events if you are NOT up to attending.
  7. Don’t feel guilty about skipping events if you’re NOT up to attend!
  8. Get photo albums out and spend quality time looking at holiday photos.
  9. Remember it’s ok to cry. During the holidays everywhere you go is festive and may trigger a memory that may open floodgates of tears.
  10. Don’t feel guilty if you skip putting up a tree and decorating your house!
  11. Volunteer at a local event in your loved one’s memory.
  12. Allow someone else to host and cook the dinner for the holidays this year.
  13. If someone wants to HELP you…Allow them to do so.
  14. Start s journal of the memories you had with your loved one.
  15. Consider group counseling

Grief Recovery Assessment Sheets

Quotes on coping with grief during the holidays

Are your family and friends forcing you to “be happy and cheerful” over the holidays? Use some of the following quotes to share your feelings about your grief and loss. 

“There are no quick fixes to grief. No easy answers. Every expression of grief that wants to be felt and honored and given its space must be allowed… in order to heal.”

Tom Zuba

 “And lastly, remember that it is okay to cry.”

Richard Kauffman

“There is no right or wrong way to handle the holidays. You are in complete control of your plans as to what you will do during this time of the year.”

Richard Kauffman

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

Vicki Harrison

“Now is the time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

John 16:22

 “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than 10,000 tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”

Washington Irving

“Giving your presence might be the best Christmas gift you could give someone this year.”

Ken Fite

“It’s possible to go on, no matter how impossible it seems, and that in time, the grief… lessens. It may not go away completely, but after a while, it’s not so overwhelming.”

Nicholas Spark

“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.”

José N. Harris

“If you hold back on the emotions – if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them – you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your heard even, you experience them fully and completely.”

Mitch Albom

“Grieving doesn’t make you imperfect. It makes you human.”

arah Dessen

“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”

rthur Schopenhauer

“It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to. It takes strength to talk about our feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when we need it.”

Fred Rogers

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

Vicki Harrison

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Your Turn

Have I given you plenty of helpful ideas, tips, suggestions, and resources if you’re grieving through the holidays this year? Trust me, I’m pointing a BIG OLE FINGER at myself also.

Note: All information on this site is for educational purposes only. Resounding His Love does not provide medical advice. Please consult a physician if you suspect medical problems or need professional advice.

One final thing I want you to cling to tightly NOT just during the holidays but every single day of the year. Lay your burdens down at the foot of the Cross. The Battle belongs to Him

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