Holidays: The Good, The Sad, and The Ugly Sweaters

Holidays: The Good, The Sad, and The Ugly Sweaters Rachel Donnelly November 29, 2023
Holidays: The Good, The Sad, and The Ugly Sweaters
woman experiencing grief during the holidays

The holiday season is filled with joy, laughter, and sometimes, a touch of sadness, especially for those of us mourning a loved one. Whether this is your first holiday season without them or your fifteenth, the challenge of balancing festive cheer with a sense of loss can be daunting.

I recently had the opportunity to join a webinar, hosted by the wonderful team at Artifcts, focused on “Grief + Stuff + the Holidays.” For those who haven’t discovered Artifcts yet, it’s a unique platform where memories and physical objects meet digitally, offering a way to preserve the stories behind our cherished belongings.

Alongside Garrick Colwell from Kitchen Table Conversations, we delved into strategies for coping with grief during the holidays. Here are some insights we shared, which we hope will add to your toolkit for navigating this season:

1. Plan A and Plan B for the Holidays:

Plan A might feature your traditional, picture-perfect festivities, but always have a Plan B. This could be a low-key day of self-care, maybe with your favorite takeout. Remember, it’s perfectly fine to opt for a quieter holiday if the usual celebrations feel overwhelming.

2. Evolve Your Traditions:

Traditions anchor our holiday experiences, yet they can also change. After losing our parents, my sister and I started a new tradition: “Crab Legs for Christmas.” It was our way of hitting the reset button, creating something meaningful for us in their absence.

3. Letting Go Without Guilt:

If certain items or traditions no longer bring joy, consider letting them go. You might create an Artifct to capture their story and significance, allowing you to hold onto the memories, not the physical object. It’s a way of saying farewell, whether with a heavy heart or a sense of relief.

4. Embrace Memories and Conversations:

The holidays can be a time machine of sorts. Old photos and family recipes can transport us back, evoking precious memories. These moments are opportunities for deep, meaningful conversations about our shared past and the legacies we carry forward.

Closing Thoughts:

If your holiday season feels a bit more “Nightmare Before Christmas” than “Miracle on 34th Street,” know that you’re not alone. Our aim is to help you find peace and purpose during this time.

Wherever you are in your journey of grief, remember it’s okay to honor your feelings and prioritize self-care.