Can I Just Skip the Holidays This Year?

alone branches bridge bright

Well? Do you feel like skipping the holidays this year? Do you even have the option to skip the holidays or do you have obligations that have to be fulfilled? For the past 3 years I have offered this holiday grief program. I remember trying to think of a title that would capture how I felt throughout my grief journey. Although it’s a long title, “Can I Just Skip the Holidays This Year?,” seemed to encompass how many people feel at this time of the year. The holiday season can be challenging anyway even if you aren’t grieving! There are so many expectations, plans to make, details to remember….If you are grieving then you know that everyday can be tough to get through but the holiday season can magnify our loss. What once was meaningful and magical about the holidays may now seem painful and empty without your loved one.

So what do you do about it? There’s a lot of advice out there-go on a vacation and experience Christmas somewhere else, make new memories by starting new traditions, disengage from the festivities so that you don’t have to be around other people, don’t decorate or put up a Christmas tree. None of these are right or wrong, it’s truly all about what is best for you. Sometimes blending some of these ideas will work better for you and sometimes what worked this year isn’t what helps next year. You have the right to make that choice, to switch things up or to keep the same traditions that you’ve practiced for years. The first year without our son Brogan was very difficult as our older son wanted to stick with the tradition of choosing and cutting down our Christmas tree as we had always done. My husband and I could not even think about that (we were definitely in the “let’s skip Christmas mode”) but we didn’t want to let our son down so we compromised with an artificial tree. Hanging ornaments that were Brogan’s and had special meaning was really tough so we bought some new ornaments and decorated the tree with a mixture of old and new. By the second year we were able to add some of Brogan’s special ornaments and we started a new tradition of picking out an ornament in his memory. If you have other family members to consider it is important to talk about what works for everyone.

Please feel free to share what has worked for you. If you would like more information on how to survive this holiday season, registration is open for my holiday grief program on Friday, December 13th at 6:00 pm. Just go to the Register tab on my website. If you have any questions or need more information, I can be reached at 240-298-2442 or

Published by melindaruppertlcpc

I am a licensed clinical professional counselor in Maryland specializing in grief and loss.

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