Our previous two tips included having a plan for the holidays and possibly including a new tradition this year. Unfortunately, making plans without the loved ones we're missing often means there is some guilt involved. We either feel guilty for celebrating in the first place, or we feel guilt around the fact that we're not able to celebrate the way our family and friends may want us to - and sometimes all of the above. 
Grief is unique to every individual and every relationship. If you’ve given some thought to the way you would like to celebrate this year – whether it’s with the bare minimum of decorations and presents, new traditions or with the same traditions as every year, there’s no need to feel guilt about your choices. 
grief, bereavement
Sometimes we expect grief to look or feel a certain way. We anticipate that we will spend the holiday in darkness and feel depressed. When the day arrives, we may have the energy to listen to happy music, decorate, laugh and exchange presents instead. We may also feel different things all day long, as grief can change from minute to minute! 
Bereavement at Christmas
You may decide to cancel all of your obligations and “skip” Christmas and New Years this year. You have the right to follow your heart and do what feels right to you. If you're feeling guilty, it may help you to share those feelings with someone close who will not try to judge or criticize. Sometimes we may just need to acknowledge the fact that the guilt is there, for example "I'm feeling bad that we're not doing presents this year. But this is the best I can do for now. Maybe next year we can try again with presents." Or "I feel guilty about having a happy Christmas when John isn't here to celebrate with us. I'm going to remember him by lighting this candle and speaking about him with the others." 
There's no "right" way to celebrate when you're grieving. We can only do our best and take the time to acknowledge painful feelings if and when they should arise. 
Coping with bereavement at holidays, Christmas
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