Kris Carr

Emotional Health

7 Remembrance Rituals to Soothe Your Holiday Blues (Video Post)

Hiya Gorgeous!

The holidays are here and every glittering, golden sign tells us exactly how we should feel: PEACE! JOY! JOLLY!

We even include a call for gladness in our greetings:

    • Merry Christmas
    • Happy Holidays
    • Feliz Navidad 😉

Now hear me on this, friend. My heart’s deepest wish is that this season does indeed find you filled with comfort and joy. But what about those who don’t feel all that holly-jolly? 

    • Perhaps it’s your first holiday without your spouse and your heart is breaking.
    • Maybe your Mom loved Christmas and, even after all these years, your eyes mist up as you make her famous cookie recipe. 
    • Or perhaps there’s an empty pet bed that feels especially cold next to your bright, beautiful tree.

The holidays are beautiful because of the love and connectedness they center. But they can be heart-wrenching for that same reason for those who’ve weathered a loss. The absence just seems amplified by all the memories in the room. 

If that’s you today, dear one, I’m sending you a mountain of love. And to help soothe your holiday blues, I’d like to share a remembrance ritual that we’ve used in my family to honor my Dad since his passing. (Shoutout to my sweet friend, Janette, who joined me on this live session and held up the card that inspired me to share this ritual with all of you.) 

Take a look at the video and, below it, I’ll share a few more memorial ideas you can use to keep your loved ones near, too.

My Remembrance Ritual

Read the transcript here…

Kris: So when my dad passed, one of the things that we did for his celebration of life, that Jeanette shared, was that we made cards. We made these beautiful, inspirational cards. It’s a little inspirational card deck with sayings of his. And I think that this is such a wonderful thing that we can do to memorialize people in our lives that we’ve lost. And these are pictures that he took. So my family, we have this ritual called a, “Pick of the Day,” and we each send around a picture of the day. It could be some great picture, it could be some funny picture, you know, it could be a picture of our vitamins. You know, like “Pick of the Day: I actually took my vitamins!” So these were some of his picks of the day: this beautiful heron that’s at my—my parents live on a lake. This beautiful sunrise. And so, this saying on this card says, “Happy sunshine morning.”.

So these are things that he would text us. Or one of his sayings was, for this card right here is, “Hold fast, dig deep.” These were his mantras as he was going through chemo. And then the one I’m going to remind you of, this is a little cannon and this is the, “Knock it off.” So this is the one I pull and remind myself of when I’m being a jerk to myself. I say, Knock it off.

So these are just. Beautiful things that we can do to keep the memories of our loved ones alive. We could do that through ritual, we can do that through little cards, we can do that in many, many ways.

And so, Jeanette, thank you for sharing the card and for coming on and for giving me my first grief book. Because if you didn’t give me that book, I wouldn’t have written this one.

Jeanette: I am not deserving of that. Thank you, Kris.

Kris: And thank you, everybody. And thank you for letting me share that personal moment as well. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, night, wherever you are. As always, I am rooting for you. I am in your corner. You can’t get me out of it. Even if you try, I’m in your corner for life. And I love you. Thanks, everybody.

7 Remembrance Rituals to Honor Your Loved Ones During the Holidays

1.  Make a card deck.

As I mentioned in the video, you can make a little card deck with photos of them or their favorite sayings. Draw from it daily (or whenever you want to connect).

2. Set a place for them at the table.

So many special moments happen around the table. It can be a beautiful place to remember those you love all year. We set a specific place for my Dad with his picture at all of our celebratory meals. We even pour him a glass of wine. When we first did this, it would make me cry. (And that’s okay. All of our emotions are welcome, angel.) But now, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than welcoming him to the table with us.

3.  Watch their favorite movie.

Cozy up on the couch with that film you’d watch together every year—or even take some time to watch your old videos of them. If words or music were more your thing, you could also write them a letter or listen to their favorite song.

4.  Cook their favorite recipe.

(Or the one they were famous for making!) Let the smells and flavors bring back memories of the good times you spent together.

5. Wear something that belonged to them.

A piece of jewelry. A favorite shirt. Or that one apron they loved. Quite literally wrap yourself up in a piece of your person.

6.  Release a lantern or light a candle.

One of my friends even keeps a remembrance corner in her house. It’s a sacred space with pictures of all the people and pets they’ve loved. She keeps a candle burning in their memory, especially during the holidays.

7.  Add a memorial ornament to your tree.

You can order a custom ornament or opt for an easy DIY version by tucking their photo into a clear glass ball. You could even write their name and birthday onto the wood cutting from the bottom of your tree and hang it with a simple ribbon. Another friend adds a decorative angel to her mantle to remember loved ones who’ve gone before her.

Whatever ritual you choose, give yourself permission to make remembrance a part of your holiday routine. Those simple rituals can give you an outlet for your grief and help you remember that you don’t have to resist those big feelings. They’re just proof of the big love in your heart—and what could be more sacred than that?

Now it’s your turn. What’s one way you remember your loved ones? Share it with us in the comments.

All my love,

Add a comment
  1. Jeanne Polaschek says:

    Thank you Kris,

    You are truly an inspiration and a gorgeous soul
    yourself. I can certainly feel your dad around
    you in this short video. Happy and joy filled holidays and New Year ahead.

  2. Jill says:

    This is so lovely. What a great idea. <3

  3. barb says:

    Train under the tree in memory of my dad, bought a cardinal ornament for my tree for my mom who passed two days before last Christmas .

  4. Laurie says:

    Thank you Kris for the gift of you! God never wastes our hurts. God loves us more than we know. He is the ultimate community giver! I am encouraged that you are I my corner. I am in yours. 🙂

  5. Deb says:

    After reading your book “I’m not a mourning person” I’m going back to reread and use as a tool to get me through the holiday with all my mom’s favorite Christmas ornaments and her crèche. Looking around my home feels like she’s right with me.

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