If your supporters want to cover their house in decorations and go full-on Christmas, 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. 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, and explaining what they feel comfortable with at this time of year.
They may not feel like they want to celebrate on the day at all; sometimes taking themselves out of the situation is the best thing they can do. That said, participating and laughing and smiling are also fine - it’s okay to feel happy when you’re bereaved.
Try and stick to some sort of routine over the festive season, if possible. 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.
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.
Your supporters may want to start some new traditions to remember their loved ones, or incorporate the person that has died into the traditions they already have, as a special way to remember them.
They might want to continue to hang their stocking in their honour, or create a ‘memory box’ to put out, with special items that remind them of that person. 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.
Your supporters might decide to have a Christmas wreath at home, or even a small tree with special decorations that celebrate the life of the person they've lost. Some people still lay a place at the table to remember their loved ones, or they could cook their favourite festive meal in their honour, or light a candle in their memory.
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.
Connecting with your bereaved supporters at 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.
You could light a candle on the tribute pages of all of your tribute fund holders, as a very soft touch connection, or add a virtual gift to their pages. You could even choose to have a bespoke charity branded virtual gift - speak to your account manager if you'd like to know more.
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.
Whatever you choose to do, your supporters will appreciate the fact that you're thinking of them at a difficult time of year.