Tree branch with ornament

If you’ve recently experienced the loss of a friend or family member, the holiday season can be especially difficult. Grief can overshadow the tidings of comfort and joy that usually surround the holidays. 

Missing loved ones during the holidays is natural, and how you cope may vary year to year and change as time goes by. Whether this is your first, second or even tenth holiday without your loved one, there are several ways you can manage your grief while still celebrating the season.

Brady and Levesque Funeral Home in St. Albans wants to be there to help. Owner Jeff Levesque says he can be more than a funeral director. He can be a trusted friend. 

“Because of this, we are just a phone call away if you need to share your feelings with someone, or just have someone to listen and ask for guidance. We always have time to visit,” Levesque said. 

Here are 5 more tips for managing grief during the holidays:

1. Prioritize yourself

There’s no rule that dictates how you need to spend the holidays, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking care of your needs. It’s okay to stay home alone with your memories if attending the annual party is too painful.

On the other hand, if the company of others is just what you need to alleviate feelings of loneliness during the holidays, allow yourself to attend and actually enjoy yourself. You deserve it.

2. Play it by ear

Don’t create additional stress for yourself by committing to or declining an invitation too far in advance. Instead, be honest with others about your feelings. Explain that the holidays can be difficult for you and that you hope the host or hostess will understand if you make your decision the day of the party.

3. Change the tradition

If the traditional family get-together will be too hard or too different without your loved one this year, change the location, time or type of celebration. A change may lessen the pain of old memories, and encourage the start of new ones. 

For example, if your home has traditionally been the hub of holiday activity, consider changing the venue. With the loss of a loved one, you may prefer to enjoy the party as a guest rather than as a host.

4. Include your lost loved one in celebrations

When the absence of a loved one feels so obvious, don’t ignore it. Instead, embrace it and find a new way to keep your loved one involved in your family’s holiday celebration. Before the presents are opened, perhaps go around in a circle and share a memory of the friend or family member. 

5. Donate a gift in their honor

If it’s too hard to exclude your loved one from your shopping list this holiday, don’t. You might buy a gift for a recently lost loved one and then give it to someone in need.

This is paid content. Brady and Levesque is part of the Messenger’s Preferred Business Program. Learn more at


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