10 Rituals That Can Get You Through the Holidays

After losing a loved one during the year, facing the holidays can be tough. But there are small rituals that can help you remember them and give yourself a meaningful, active way to grieve alone or with family and friends.

These 10 ideas are just a small fraction of what is out there on the Internet. Or perhaps, you’ll find your own traditions and rituals. But these ideas are a great place to start.

  1. Write a letter to your loved one that expresses your feelings, and looks back on memories of the holiday spent together. Consider reading with others or burning in a fireplace as an additional ritual.
  2. Cook their favorite meal. My siblings and I make fry bread tacos or spinach fettuccine alfredo and drink diet/caffeine-free cola to remember my mom.
  3. Watch a movie that reminds you of them.
  4. Create a shrine or altar.
  5. Incorporate their clothing into a quilt.
  6. Create and give memorial gifts to family members/friends of the loved one.
  7. Listen to or sing songs that they loved.
  8. Participate in a family tradition, or activity that they loved.
  9. Volunteer. “Whether it’s serving food at a local homeless shelter or making holiday cards with cancer patients at the hospital, spend time with the people your loved one cared about. Volunteering also brings a sense of appreciation for what you have, and it can help lift your spirits when you know you are enriching the lives of others.”
  10. Light a candle in honor of your loved one or hold a candle ceremony. At a ceremony, you can sing a song together, share memories or observe a moment of silence.

If you are trying to support someone else who is grieving during the holidays, you can find some great advice on grief expert Megan Devine’s website, And if you are looking for more tips for your own mental wellness through the season, here’s another great resource from Experience Life and more help from Modern Loss.

However you choose to get through the holidays, we hope you find some peace as you move through the season. As Megan Devine says, “There is no right way or wrong way to do the holiday season. It’s important to reach out and connect. Whether you’re grieving or trying to support someone who is. One last thing for helpers: It’s OK to feel awkward! You don’t need to be perfect, just present.”

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