Christmas can be a difficult time for children and young people who have experienced the death of someone close. It is helpful to acknowledge what has happened, and how it may change the holiday period for the whole family.

Prepare for Christmas

Understand that Christmas is now going to be different from usual.  Holiday time is difficult for the bereaved.  Take time to think about what is best for you and how you would like to spend it.  It’s okay to want to do something different on Christmas Day like volunteering, or even going away somewhere you haven’t been before. It’s also ok to spend the day doing the same as you would, and dedicating activities to the person who has died.

Open up discussion

Remember it’s good to talk and try to share with your whole family how Christmas is making you feel. Everyone copes with their grief differently, and talking together will help everyone understand each other.

Christmas is a time for remembering loved ones

Christmas is usually a time for family, it can help to share memories of those who have died and bring them into the celebrations.  You may want to look at photos, letters and memory boxes.  You can share treasured moments and happy memories. Connect with like-minded people and help each other find a way through the challenging times and festivities.

Visiting those who have died

You might want to form new traditions over the holiday period, and one which may be helpful is visiting a special place that meant something to you and the person that has died or visiting where they are buried. You might want to plant something or leave a special note or card so that you can come back year on year.

It’s OK to have fun

Please remember it’s still ok to enjoy Christmas.  Don’t try to over compensate.  Prepare for the painful moments that catch you unaware but know that you will get through it.

Maintain Routine

Look after yourself. Keeping your routine, or not, can make a huge difference to how you cope day to day. Seeing friends can help you keep to a routine if you are used to being at school or college every day. Try to keep sleeping and eating at the same times every day which might help you gain control of the days off.

Take Time Out

Be sure to take time for yourself, and time out to reset, remembering that everybody grieves differently.  Look after yourself and ask for help if you need it.  Talk to those around you so they can not only empathise but understand how it is for you.  Every year may be different going forward. It will take time.

Reach Out for Help

Know you are never alone. There is always help accessible, and Grief Encounter are here to listen when you feel ready or in need of someone to talk to. Our national, free and confidential helpline, grieftalk 0808 802 0111  is open weekdays 9am – 9pm for listening support and guidance.

If you’re feeling the need to speak to someone while our Grieftalk helpline is closed, you can contact the Samaritans for free on 116 123, or email them at For bereavement support you can contact Cruse on 08088081677