Have your elf a merry little crimbo

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'Merry Christmas' red and green fluorescent sign in front of a brick wall

Is anyone else sat in complete disbelief that it is once again Christmas? I cannot believe that it is *that* time of year, so soon after I’ve recovered from last Christmas! I’m sure some of you are feeling the same, and for many people, this is a time of the year filled with dread.

At Let’s Talk About Loss, we know only too well how challenging Christmas can be. It’s a time spent with family and friends, but when there is someone significant missing in your life, it is a period tinged with loss and sadness. We have some tips for any of you struggling this festive period, from people who have been there and experienced it all before.

Remember them, on your own terms

Just because someone is not around in person at Christmas, doesn’t mean they are gone completely. Lizzie offers great advice for remembering the lost loved one:

“Remember some of their traditions and quirks, as it will help remind you of them throughout the day. Schedule some time in the day to think about this so they can still be part of your day. My mum always said robins were people we missed coming to see us. She had them on her Christmas cards and around her house. I know it’s silly, but now I still decorate my house with them at Christmas, and her friends always expect a robin Christmas card from me! And obviously you smile when you see one on a December walk!” – Lizzie

You can, and you will, get through this

Don’t be alone

We know, it’s easier said than done, but it’s all too easy to think you’re alone when there are lots of people around you who care for you. Don’t forget there are friends and family who are there for you, and will chat to you when you need some time. Beth knows exactly what it feels like when you feel like you’re all on your own:

“Christmas is such an intense time of year – whether you love it or hate it, you cannot get away from it. For those who are grieving, it can be hard to find joy when your thoughts are consumed by the people you have lost. This will be my third Christmas without my mum and although it is getting less strange to not have mum around, it is still one of the worst times of the year as I am forced to remember past Christmas memories, and not able to make any new ones with her.

My advice – to anyone grieving, and to myself – is to have the Christmas you want, whatever that looks like. Prioritise yourself and your mental health, and remember that you are not alone. If you’re lonely, check out Sarah Millican’s awesome Christmas Twitter chat using the hashtag #joinin, and reach out to friends and family, and tell them if you’re struggling. You can, and you will, get through this.” – Beth

Enjoy Christmas exactly how you want to

Make new traditions

Another important tip is to try your best to make new traditions, if you’re not able to keep to the old traditions. Oli knows what it is like to spend Christmas without someone important, and how one of the best things to do is try and make new traditions and new memories:

“As I’m writing this I’ve just finished putting my decorations up, with my Christmas-crazy girlfriend, and will be off to get the tree in the next few days. Continuing to celebrate like this really helps me remember my sister Faye and her love for Christmas.

On the day itself, it’s very hard still, my parents and I don’t do an awful lot, but try to go for a long walk to clear our heads. I hope my sister is proud of me for wanting to still celebrate Christmas and I have no doubt she has her tree decorated already up there!” – Oli 

Try and ignore the hype

Isn’t Christmas just the worst, now that it has been hijacked by brands and advertisers. It begins as early as September and you cannot move for the countdowns, the presents, the money to be spent on anything and everything. Our best advice, from all of us here at Let’s Talk About Loss, is to try and avoid the hype, and enjoy Christmas exactly how you want to. It’s your Christmas, and whatever it looks like, it can be a lovely, calm day.

Merry Christmas everyone – we’re here if you need us x