Awareness of Change, Loss and Grief during the Holiday Season

Christmas is traditionally a time of joy and a time to spend time with family, and this can make it a stressful and diificult time for people who have experienced a loss and do not feel joyful.  In the next few weeks celebrations will be taking place in the workplace and among groups of friends or family. As plans are made, try to keep in mind that people who are grieving are particularly sensitive at this time of year.


For the bereaved, the holiday season can trigger strong grief responses. For children and families who have experienced their parents separating, Christmas can be very stressful. For others who have experience other grief, loss, change or trauma this may be a loney and unhappy time. While responses to sorrow and pain will change over time, the anniversaries and events that come and go can be draining and emotionally exhausting, and can often feel worse than the day itself.       

Such sadness may not be obvious or talked about directly and might be expressed as irritability, anger or intolerance. Patience, understanding and love are required to get through this time. Let the person know they are in your thoughts. Speak directly to them, or consider sending them a personalized card. Be mindful about the day and its meaning, ask them if having time together could be beneficial and try to keep expectations realistic and appropriate. Plan for shorter celebrations as an extended period of time can be tiring.  Remember there are no rules about how Christmas must be done. Grieving families may choose to do things differently this year.


Skylight has several printable articles on a range of grief related issues. These articles are available here:

Coping with holidays and special days

Christmas and Traumatic Grief 

When staff are grieving

 What does a grieving child need

Skylight book recommendations


Managing trauma, loss and grief in the workplace

  This is a useful support handbook written for employers, business owners, board trustees, senior executives, HR managers and supervisors. This essential handbook provides practical guidelines to assist workplace leaders managing their health, safety and wellbeing culture. It is easy to navigate, user friendly with full colour and engaging images.     



Understanding the losses children and teenagers can face

This is an engaging book for adults wanting to understand and support children and teens they know who are grieving – whatever the cause. It provides valuable insights into grief, helpful ways to support them and suggestions for when extra help may be needed. 

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