Between the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and the spontaneous fits of tears sparked by grief triggers everywhere, it can be easy to avoid planning for things like memorializing loved ones.
We have tons of ideas about planning for the holiday and for creating and adapting traditions. Today we want to give you just a few quick and easy ideas for remembering those no longer with us this holiday. Don't worry, these are all things that can be done on short notice and with minimal planning.
If you want a more comprehensive list of ideas for memorializing loved ones that involve a bit more planning, you can check out this post. As always, we welcome your additional thoughts in the comments!
It can be hard to know what to do with a loved one's stocking after they have died. Do you hang it? Do you not hang it? One option is to hang the stocking to provide a place where people can share thoughts and memories.
The set up is simple - wherever you hang your loved one's stocking, put out some paper and a pen. Invite people to write their favorite holiday memory and place it in the stocking.
Decide as a family how you will share these memories. Will you spend some time after the holiday meal reading them together as a family or suggest that people read them on their own?
Eleanor's family came up with the idea of putting out an album with photos of past holidays with a loved one who has died, with space for people to write their memories and reflections. This can sit out for people to look at photos, read, and write at their leisure.
This idea offers a lot of flexibility for all different types of grievers. People may simply look at the photos or take the time to share or they can ignore the album altogether if that makes them more comfortable getting through the day!
Make a Dish They Made or Loved
Whether it was their famous holiday cookies or the green bean casserole that was their favorite part of the holiday meal, food can be a great way to keep memories and connections alive.
It is important with this one, especially if you are recreating their recipe, to cut yourself some slack. It may not come out exactly the way theirs did, especially the first time around. If you're like me, you may plan to make your grandmother's holiday cookies and then totally flake and not do it at all (don't worry, I wrote about that here).
Don't hold back if their favorite food isn't a holiday staple -- if they loved fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, there is no reason that can't become part of your holiday tradition! Read about our grief recipe project here.
Make Grief Memory Ornaments
Making ornaments can seem like a big project, but there are plenty of easy options. If you are feeling like you haven't incorporated your loved one into the holiday but don't want to incorporate something collaborative, a simple photo ornament or photo at/near the holiday table can be a nice way to make your loved one's memory feel more part of the day.
If you do want to involve others, buying some simple, clear ornaments with strips of paper or paper ribbon and pens can offer a way for people to write thoughts, reflections, or memories. Leave out the strips of paper/paper ribbon (different colors works well) and pens. Invite people to write their feelings, memories, words to their loved one, or anything else they choose on the ribbons. They can then place the ribbons in the ornaments, seal it up, and hang them on a tree or elsewhere in the house.
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