04 Dec Grief Pain – Why You Need A Holiday Plan

This Holiday Season…

The Importance of Having a Plan



Planning can be difficult when we are grieving because a normal grief response is to resist making decisions or planning anything in advance.  However, without a plan, the risk of being completely miserable and feeling depressed during this season is usually 100-percent guaranteed.   The creative work of planning helps everyone involved to re-focus and transform raw painful grief energy into positive Healing Forward energy.  Planning also inspires Healing Forward thinking.


Yes You Need A Back-Up Plan


A backup plan is also important because a back-up plan gives you another option just in case you change your mind about the first plan.  Additionally, sometimes when the day arrives you might decide that you don’t want to do anything.  This is okay too—unless children are involved.  Consider how each change will impact each child.   Sometimes, in the best interest of the children, we must stick to the original plan no matter what we feel like doing or not doing.  If you have children, if possible, involve them in the planning.


Why We Drive Each Other Nuts!

What you do the first year may be different than what you decide to do the following year(s).  Establishing new traditions that work for your family usually takes a few times of trying out different ideas.  Making a change does not mean that you are forgetting your loved one or that you are forever forgetting family traditions.  What everyone is doing is navigating unwanted change and healing.  Keep in mind too that we all grieve differently.  Grieving differently is one of the reasons why family members drive each other nuts on holidays.



  • Change where you have the meal.
  • Go out to eat—or eat in.
  • Change the time the meal is served.
  • Change the seating arrangement at the table.
  • Have a barbecue instead of your typical holiday meal.
  • Serve a buffet dinner rather than the usual sit-down dinner.
  • Change the location. Take a trip/vacation.
  • Travel and visit friends or family.


Ways to honor your loved one:

  • Make a financial donation to your church or special charity.
  • Watch videos and share pictures. Tell the stories behind the videos and pictures.
  • Doing something in memory of your loved one that he or she liked to do. Invite others to join you.
  • Give a special item or keepsake that belonged to your loved one to another grieving family member or friend who loves and misses your loved one.
  • Light a candle and share memories. Sharing good memories supports healing.


We Are Never “Over It” 

Oftentimes after the first year, the people in your life expect you to be “over it.” We are never “over it.” But, the experience that most of us have had is that we do eventually enjoy special days and holidays again.  These days will become sweet for you again, just in a new and different way.


Is it time to buy our book? 


Yep!  Grieving Forward: Death Happened, Now What?  A Practical Guide for Healing & Understanding the Grief Process