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Coping with the Holidays, unfocused lights with a red tea light and a single flame.

Coping with the Holidays

Coping with the Christmas Holidays
... When someone you love is gone

Christmas is an especially challenging holiday to cope with and the Family Ministry Office offers a special workshop during Advent each year to help you cope with the season. 

Register now for our program on Sunday, December 3rd from 1:30-3:00 p.m. All are welcome and there is no cost. Materials will be provided at the session. Register online or contact the Family Ministry Office at 905-528-7988 ext. 2249. You can join in person or by zoom. If joining by zoom please call the office to let us know so we can send the link before the event.

When it does not feel like "Peace on Earth"
Know that you are not alone
Learn and share strategies for Coping at Christmas
Know that your loss is not forgotten

For further support on any grief you are dealing with, please contact the Family Ministry Office.

Tips for Dealing with Holidays:

Coping with the many holidays we celebrate as family and as a society can be a challenge when someone we love is missing. These events can bring back warm and happy memories, but also bring deep emotional pain because the person is missing. It is important to understand that these various emotions will be part of your experience during holidays and allow them to come and go throughout the day. Neither one has to dominate the day, just be open to your own feelings and needs.

Some holidays/anniversaries are more demanding than others (such as Christmas), so take some time to discern what it is you need and want on these days, especially on the first occasion after a death.

  • Allow each family member to experience their emotions as it impacts them;
    don’t decide how others should feel.
  • Be careful to observe whether you are feeling:
    too pressured (change the demands), more depressed than normal (speak to someone about your feelings), impacted by alcohol (too much is never good and can add to feelings of sadness) and/or overly tired (you may need to step back and slow down more than usual).
  • Self-care is vital at this time -
    get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, don’t try to do too much and reduce or eliminate alcohol use.
  • Decide if you can mark the presence of your loved one in some special way
    that will bring them symbolically closer: light a candle, hang a special ornament on the tree at Christmas for example.
  • Remember as you plan for the upcoming occasion
    that the anticipation of the event can be worse than the actual day.
  • If this holiday/anniversary is the first without your loved one,
    decide whether you want to keep your traditions as they were, or create new ones. And remember that whatever you do this year can be changed for next if you desire, or it doesn’t feel right.
  • The holidays are a challenge, but you are not alone.
A chalkboard with the words Helpful Tips written out on it.

From Pope Francis:

“There is no grief in the Church that is borne in solitude, there are no tears shed in oblivion, because everyone breathes and participates in one common grace.

Prayer is always born again: each time we join our hands and open our hearts to God, we find ourselves in the company of anonymous saints and recognized saints who pray with us and who intercede for us as older brothers and sisters who have preceded us on this same human adventure.

The saints are here, not far from us; and their representations in churches evoke that ‘cloud of witnesses’ that always surrounds us. They are witnesses that we do not adore, but whom we venerate and who in thousands of different ways bring us to Jesus Christ, the only Lord and Mediator between God and humanity.

There is a mysterious solidarity in Christ between those who have already passed to the other life and we pilgrims in this one: from heaven, our beloved deceased continue to take care of us. They pray for us, and we pray for them and we pray with them.”


Teresa Hartnett


905-528-7988 Ext. 2250
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Sarah Lintott

Office Administrator

905-528-7988 Ext. 2249
Send Email