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How to remember lost loved ones this Christmas

Christmas is a time for coming together and celebrating with family. But for those who have lost a loved one, the festive season can be a difficult time.

Remembering loved ones at Christmas

Remembering those we have lost at Christmas

Whether you lost a loved one many years ago or are experiencing your first Christmas without a cherished family member, this time of year is always tough.

While you may not want to celebrate in the traditional sense, there are ways to commemorate the death of a loved one and celebrate their life this Christmas.

So, if you’re looking for ways to remember a lost loved one over the festive period but are struggling for ideas, here are 10 different ways you can build happy memories at this time of year, to help you through a difficult time.

And remember, if you’re struggling with grief and need some support, reach out to someone for help. The Samaritans are always on hand (even on Christmas Day), as well as grief charities like Cruse and Winston’s Wish, which supports bereaved children.

1. Plant a celebration tree

Planting a celebration tree in memory

Remember them forever by planting a celebration tree in their memory and visiting it on special occasions. You can plant a tree in your garden or at special forests and arboretums around the country. Search online for your nearest location.

2. A special Christmas tree decoration

Memory Christmas tree decorations

You can make a special Christmas tree decoration from an item that used to belong to your loved one, or simply buy one that reminds you of them. Then hang it on the tree in pride of place so they can watch over the celebrations.

3. Alternative Elf on the Shelf

Alternative Elf on the shelf

If you have children that may be struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one this Christmas, send in the elves (or similar) to leave little notes and gifts around saying they were sent by the loved one so the children know your loved one is close by.

4. A keepsake made of your loved one’s clothes

Keepsake blankets

It can be hard to throw away a loved one’s belongings once they’re gone. So having a keepsake like a blanket, pillow or teddy bear made up of some of your loved one’s favourite clothes, is a great way to keep those sentimental items, while giving them a new lease of life. You can then snuggle up under the blanket or give the pillow or teddy bear a cuddle at bedtime. They make great gifts, too.

5. Buy a star

Buying a star to remember a lost loved one

You can name a star in the sky to commemorate your loved one, so they’re always watching over you, and you can see them shining down. Buy a Star will enter the name on the official Stellar Registry and send you confirmation, along with a Star Name Deed and location map, so you always know where to look in the sky.

6. Build a Bear

Build a bear memory

Creating a Build a Bear is an ideal gift for a child who has lost a loved one. If you’ve got a voice recording of your loved one, you can include that within the bear, so your child can hear their loved one’s voice whenever they like.

7. Photo blanket or photobook

Memory photobooks

Photos are a great way to remember lost loved ones. Creating a photo blanket or book means your favourite photos of your loved one are all in one place so you can look at them whenever you like. They also make great gifts for Christmas.

8. Set a place for them at the dinner table

Dinner table setting

Christmas is usually a time for celebrating. But when you’ve lost a loved one, there can be a feeling of guilt that you shouldn’t be carrying on without them. By setting a place for them at the dinner table, you can ensure they’re still included in the festivities, even though they’re not with you in person. Decorate the chair with their favourite things, put a photo of them on the table and raise a toast.

9. Keep up the Christmas traditions

Remembering loved ones

Everyone has their favourite things to do at Christmas, and they can often become traditions. Keep up the traditions that you did with your lost loved one – play their favourite game, listen to their favourite Christmas song, watch their favourite Christmas film, and remember the great Christmases you had together.

10. Reminisce

Reminisce about loved ones

You don’t have to do anything special to remember your lost loved one as you’re never going to forget them. It can be comforting just to share your memories of that person with others who knew and loved them. So, get together and take it in turns to share your funny stories and memorable moments of your lost loved one.


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