Whether you have lost a loved one recently or in the distant past, certain days or times of the year may renew your grief. If the person passed away during the Christmas season, that time of year may be especially difficult for you, but you may also feel a desire to memorialize the person in a special way. To honor the memory of a departed loved one at Christmastime, mingle the joy and beauty of the season with a gesture that can also bring you comfort.
Make tree ornaments by cutting out photographs of your loved one and laminating them. Many office supply stores offer laminating services. Get fancy by using handmade papers, adding lace backings, or adding other embellishments, or simply use the photos themselves. Allow room at the top of each ornament to punch a hole and pull a brightly colored ribbon through the hole. These also make lovely memory cards to share with other family members or friends.
Gather images, trinkets, mementos, a small angel and a special candle and create your own mini-altar or shrine to your loved one. Your shrine can be simple or extravagant, and can be part of a new holiday tradition. Do this for one person who has passed or include several people. Decorate your shrine with holly, ivy and stars. If you have children, let them help you and tell them that you're doing it in honor of Uncle Nicky, Grandma Claire, etc.
Rite of Remembrance
Join others in community remembrance ceremonies or establish your own ceremony to do alone or with your family and/or friends. You can use items from your memorial shrine or simply give everyone a slender tapered candle, tied with a ribbon. Sit together silently in a small circle, pray or meditate for a few minutes, then share stories and memories of your loved one. Light your candle then light each other's, going around the circle. Recall the light of your departed's unique soul.
You can make an enduring gesture by planting a special tree in the name of your loved one. Choose a plant and a nice pot and keep it indoors until you can plant it outside, then offer a prayer or blessing and gratitude for the times you share. Alternatively, you can adopt a whale, wild horse, or other animal on behalf of the deceased. Choose an animal that the person loved. If you imagine your loved one being part of the heavens, you can immortalize the person by having a star named after him or her.
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