The holiday season is a joyous time. Filled with laughter, love, good food, and good friends. But for those who’ve lost a loved one, the joy can be overshadowed by the absence of a husband, wife, spouse, or sibling. Of course, our loved ones wouldn’t want us to miss out on the happiness of the season.
So how can we honor those we’ve lost while still enjoying the time we have with those around us?
Donate in their honor. What was your late loved one passionate about? Keep their spirit alive by keeping their dreams alive. My late Father-in-Law was a member of several local civic clubs, my late uncle was a big supporter of the March of Dimes. A donation in their name helps us honor their memory.
Not sure what charity they preferred? Bring a basket of food to a local family who is struggling.
Make a recipe of theirs. Sharing food – preparation and eating – is a wonderful bonding experience. So of course making a lost relative’s signature dish is a way of having them be with you. Put your own spin on it, or make it just like grandma. Either way, your guests and your loved ones, will be touched.
Prayer Pumpkin. All you need is a pumpkin and a sharpie. Ask your guests to write a short prayer for those who can’t be with you on the pumpkin and place it in the center of the table.
Pass the torch. Loss can be especially tough during moments that were traditionally led by those that have passed. It can be hard to picture holidays without Pop Pop saying grace, Aunt Debbie posing everyone for a group picture, or Cousin Terry carving the turkey. Before the gathering, ask another family member to take over each job in their loved one’s honor, not in their place.
Share stories. Sharing stories of our loved ones helps us keep them close to our hearts, and it helps the youngest family members know their elders even though they may not have any memory of them. Whip out the photo albums, watch some home movies, and remember the good times.
I’d love to know how you honor lost loved ones during the holidays. Share in the comments.