Your first Christmas without Mom is probably the most painful holiday you'll experience, compounded by your family depending on you for support. Tips for getting through your first Christmas after your mom has died can help you during this difficult time.
How to Manage Your First Christmas Without Mom
If your family dynamics are like many people's, Mom was the nucleus that held your family together. She coordinated all the family gatherings, especially Christmas. Deciding who will take the reins can be difficult, especially when everyone is grieving.
Divide the Christmas Celebration Duties
If you have siblings, you can dole out the responsibilities for your family Christmas celebration among yourselves so no one person is the nucleus. This tactic means you will lean on each other for support to not just get through the holiday, but in an effort to celebrate Christmas the way Mom always did. If it's just you and your immediate family, get them involved and assign them specific roles for the family celebration.
Provide Continuity to the Family Unit
If you approach Christmas as a way to pay tribute to your mom, you'll find it a rewarding process. You may also find comfort in preserving the traditions your Mom set down as a way to still feel close to her.
Remembering Mom on Your First Christmas Without Her
Appreciation for the many things Mom brought to your family Christmas celebration can comfort everyone in your family. Granted, you'll miss Mom at Christmas, but continuing with your family Christmas traditions provides continuity for everyone, especially the children in the family. Maintaining that structure and expectation of traditions is vital, so they can learn how to cope with life and gain an understanding of death being a natural part of life.
- Spend time with your family recalling past Christmases with Mom.
- Tell funny stories about her.
- Prepare some of Mom's favorite Christmas recipes for the family to enjoy.
- Share family photos of past Christmases with Mom.
- Organize photos of Mom and create a family photo album together.
- Create a Christmas memorial scrapbook and let each family member create a tribute page.
- Sing her favorite Christmas carols.
- Watch home videos of past Christmases with Mom.
- Make Christmas ornaments with your children in remembrance of Grandma.
Surviving the First Christmas Without Mom
You may be under pressure to be the support person for your children, spouse, siblings, and other family members during the Christmas holiday. A few tips on ways to cope during your first Christmas without your Mom can help you find peace during this holiday.
Take Personal Time Each Day During Christmas Holiday
It's easy to let expectation overwhelm you during Christmas. You need to make time just for you each day during the holidays. Even if the only way to get it is to get in your car and just drive around town, you need that personal time to grieve, cope with your loss, and regroup. You can then return home to meet the demands and provide the support your family needs.
Keep a Journal
Many people find journaling is an excellent coping mechanism for grief. You can carve out time each day to write down how you feel, what the day's events were, and any emotions and thoughts you have about your Mom. While you might start a grief journal during Christmas, you may find it a valuable tool that allows you to track and see the progress you are making in coping with the loss of your parent.
Talk With Others Who Have Lost Their Mom
You may discover that talking with someone who has lost their mom is a wonderful coping mechanism. To know you aren't the only one experiencing the loss of your mom and to find someone who understands, having gone through the same loss, can give you comfort and support.
Find Comfort in Your Faith
Christmas is a religious holiday. You can find solace and ways to cope with the first Christmas without Mom through your faith.
- Read Bible verses each day with your family.
- Attend daily church services if available or other services during the week.
- Get involved and participate in church Christmas activities.
- Make a donation in memory of your mom to the Church or her favorite charity.
- Light a candle in remembrance of Mom and say a prayer.
Reach out to Others
One of the best ways to cope with personal emotional pain is through the action of helping others. When you shift the focus from yourself to others, you reap great personal rewards you never expected.
- Volunteer at a food bank or help prepare/serve Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter.
- Participate in a Toys for Tots or Salvation Army's Fill the Truck Drive.
- Organize a family caroling visit to a local nursing home.
Recognize the Difference Between Guilt and Grief
You might think you have a firm grip on the difference between guilt and grief, but it could surprise you to learn that it's actually guilt you're feeling instead of grief. This is especially true if you were your mom's caregiver. You may feel responsible for her passing since you were the one caring for her.
No More Guilt
It's normal to feel as though you should be able to heal or cure those in your care, especially your mom. Mentally, you understand that was impossible, but emotionally, you feel responsible. Once you recognize the difference between guilt and grief, you can free yourself of some of the emotional burden you're carrying and find coping with the Christmas holiday a little easier.
Braving the First Christmas After Your Mom's Death
Facing your first Christmas without Mom is sad and painful. However, you can lessen the empty feeling of loss when you find ways to honor her memory.