Coping with Grief at Christmas

1 December 2022

By Ali Haines & Rebecca Noble

Christmas can be a difficult time when someone close to you has died. With potential reminders everywhere it can be tough, especially when people around you are celebrating. 

We share some quick and easy ways to connect with your supporters this Christmas using their MuchLoved tribute pages, as well some simple suggestions to help them through the festive season.

Connecting with your bereaved supporters this Christmas

Christmas for many is a time for joy and family, but for someone bereaved, it can be an incredibly painful time. Connecting with your supporters using your MuchLoved tribute fund can be a great way to let them know you're thinking of them, and to help build longer-term relationships.

Light a virtual candle on a tribute page

Red church candle surrounded by small green wreatth and red and gold ribbon

It's quick and easy to light a virtual candle on a supporter's tribute page. We have a variety of candles that last for different lengths of time, from our Christmas candle that lasts one month, candles that last for one day, and even a candle that lasts for 100 years.

You can schedule candles to be lit in advance, so you can save time and arrange all your candles at once, and then get in touch with the families as a follow-up communication.

Add a virtual gift

Along with virtual candles, we also offer a range of Christmas-themed virtual gifts; beautiful images that can be added to a tribute page, at no additional cost of course.

Like candles these can be scheduled in advance to appear on a tribute page, to save you time. You can add a personal message to the family to let them know you're thinking of them.

You could even choose to have a bespoke charity-branded virtual gift - speak to your account manager if you'd like to know more.

You could also contact your tribute fund holders to let them know that virtual gifts and candles are available for them to add to their tribute pages this Christmas. They may not be aware, and you can encourage engagement and interaction both with their pages and with your charity.

Virtual gifts available this Christmas

You could view the reports in your Partner Area to see which tribute funds have received donations over the festive period, and connect with those supporters who are actively donating in memory of their loved ones at this time of year, to engage with them and offer further support. Alternatively, you could also choose to add gifts to tribute pages that haven't had much activity, to see if this can re-engage your supporters and give you a conversation starter to get in touch.

Whatever you choose to do, your supporters will appreciate the fact that you're thinking of them at a difficult time of year.

For Your Supporters: Coping this Christmas

  1. Celebrate their life

As a family, your supporters may like to decide together what they want to do to remember their loved one. They may wish to start some new traditions, or incorporate them into the traditions they already have, as a special way to remember them.

This could be visiting a special place, lighting a candle, or buying a new decoration for the tree.  They might like to visit the grave or the place where the ashes were scattered and place a Christmas card there, or ask friends and family to write special messages on star-shaped cards and hang these up with ribbons. 

They could remember their loved one by cooking their favourite meal, or listening to their favourite music, and of course, they can add a beautiful virtual gift to their MuchLoved tribute page, like a card or a teddy, or even light a virtual candle on their page. 

  1. Be Kind to Themselves

As we approach Christmas, it's important your supporters give themselves permission to look forward to the season if they want to.  Equally, they should also allow themselves not to be ok if that’s how they feel. If they want to cover their house in decorations, that’s fine. If they don’t want a hint of glitter or tinsel and want to ignore the season entirely whenever possible, that’s fine too. It's all about what works for them.

It’s important to allow time for themselves, whether that’s having a hot bath, a cup of tea with a friend, a walk, or reading a favourite book. It is perfectly ok to want to have some time to just be alone with their thoughts and emotions. This is not the time to put themselves last to please other people.

Christmas is a time for kindness, so the main thing that they should try and remember is to be kind to themselves, whatever that entails. Being honest with family and friends is crucial, explaining what they feel comfortable with at this time of year.

All of this being said, if your supporters do feel like celebrating, even in part, and laughing and smiling too, that’s also fine. It’s okay to feel happy when you’re bereaved.

  1. Find some structure

If they can, your supporters could try and stick to some sort of routine over the festive season. It’s all too easy without our normal patterns to guide us to forget to look after ourselves. Whether it’s walking their dog at the same time each day, calling a relative each evening or reading another chapter of a book, some sort of structure and sense of routine can be helpful. 

  1. Allow themselves to grieve

They shouldn't feel that they have to hide their grief over the festive season and pretend that everything is okay. Reaching out to someone and talking about the person they've lost can be helpful, be that family or friends who can share memories of that person, or connecting with a counsellor, like the experts at GriefChat. Sharing their feelings may help them cope, and make the season a little more bearable. 

  1. Give to others

At a time when nothing feels normal, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, sometimes giving to others can be incredibly cathartic. For example, your charity could ask for a charitable donation in honour of your loved one, in a Light up a Life campaign, or set up one of our Dedication Pages as a simple and accessible way for your supporters to honour their loved ones and support your work.

You could also suggest that your supporters involve themselves in volunteer work over the festive season, to help fill their time if they need, or to do something different. They could volunteer to serve festive meals on Christmas Day, or deliver food parcels to families in need. Helping others can offer a break from their normal activities, and help them focus their attention on something positive over Christmas. 


The Power of In-Memory Giving
Coping with Grief at Christmas
Winter Update: What's New at MuchLoved
Festive Fundraising
Here to Help
Maximising In-Memory Income: Promotion
Maximising In-Memory Income: Stewardship
Making the most of your online in-memory content
Dedication Pages are for life, not just for Christmas
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Dedication Pages: Flexible Fundraisers
View more
© The MuchLoved Charitable Trust 2020, all rights reserved. The MuchLoved Charitable Trust is a UK Registered Charity No. 1118590.
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