I know I am a little late at starting these, but better late than not at all. This was sent to me by the Sacramento-South Placer County Chapter – Bereaved Parents of the USA.  This is all good advice in approaches I have used/use several times over the years.

12 Days of Christmas for Bereaved Parents

 Day 1 – December 14

Right from the get go, give yourself permission to do, or not do, what you feel/don’t feel comfortable with this Christmas season. If you feel up to decorating your house… pour yourself a glass of eggnog and do what you can. If you can only manage to hang a wreath on the door, then allow yourself the freedom of leaving the boxes of decorations in the attic. They’ll be there for you next year, or the year after, or whenever you feel more like enjoying the festivities of the season.

Take the pressure off of yourself by asking for help. If you have other children, and you just don’t think you can put up the outside lights on the house, bake cookies or spend time at the mall, ask a friend or relative to step in for you and do some holiday activities with the other kids that will allow them to enjoy the holidays through a child’s eyes. This is not the time to try to be “super mom or dad.”

Day 2 – December 15

Whether it’s your first Christmas season or your 20th, think of a way to brighten someone else’s holidays by doing for them what you cannot do for your own child. This could be anything from selecting a child from an underprivileged home, or an elderly person who needs a neighbor to stop by on Christmas Day with a hot meal. Lifting someone else’s spirits will definitely lift yours.

Day 3 – December 16

Enjoy the holidays by starting new traditions that incorporate memories of your child. You may want to make or purchase a new ornament for the Christmas tree that reminds you of their personality or something they enjoyed. You can create a scrapbook of past holidays you enjoyed with your child. How about framing one of your favorite photos of your child and displaying it in your home? Visit a place they enjoyed and have a toast in their honor. Bringing good memories to mind will eventually replace the sadness caused by not having your child with you physically. Eventually you’ll find yourself thinking about the good times you had with them more often that dwelling on the fact that they are no longer here.

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  • Andrew

    Although I know it’s different for everyone and I would never judge or mean to offend, I don’t really agree with the following unless it is completely impossible for you.

    “ask a friend or relative to step in for you and do some holiday activities with the other kids that will allow them to enjoy the holidays through a child’s eyes. This is not the time to try to be “super mom or dad.””

    To my way of thinking my kids also lost a sibling and need me, not a friend, to make christmas as wonderful as possible for them. I think this is the worst time to pull away or stop trying to be super dad. I also found having my kids relying on me to make Christmas OK helped me to get in and try, and in trying I made it a little more ok for myself and my wife, and every year since a little more ok as well. We also planted a pine tree with Katherine and our family decorate it together for her every year as well as having special decorations for her that are on our family tree and the tree that is just hers. While christmas will never be the same, I could not bear the thought of an undecorated house. For me it would make it just that much worse and I see that as a dangerouse and slippery slope.

    All of that being said there is no shame if it’s just not possible for you. There are limits to what can be endured and everyone is different in what they can deal with and what they can’t. I am completely incapable of going to funerals now, even of close friends, and know that I let people down when they need me becasue of this, but I just can’t do it. I know there must be people who are like this with christmas.