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If you’ve recently lost someone important to you, the holidays may feel challenging this year. It may be difficult to participate in this time of joy and celebration when you’re grieving, and the traditions you’ve always loved may feel hollow. Rather than simply surviving the holidays, why not reimagine some of those traditions?

  • Plan a meal to celebrate your loved one. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, it can be a small gathering of people who loved the person you’ve lost. Serve your loved one’s favorite dishes, set an extra place at the table, and share stories of happy memories.
  • Honor your loved one with music. Make a playlist of holiday songs that remind you of your loved one, and play it throughout the season.
  • Give to someone else to honor the memory of the person you loved. Did your loved one have a favorite charity? Make an annual donation to that charity a part of your newly imagined holidays. Will the big holiday meal you’ve always enjoyed be too hard for you this year? Why not do something radical, like inviting the whole family to serve a meal to the homeless during the time you’d typically gather for that meal?
  • Light a candle or a fire. Set aside a special place in your home with a photo and mementos of the person you’ve lost, including a candle in your display and lighting it during the holiday season. Establish a tradition of lighting a fire, whether in your fireplace or outdoors, and gathering with those closest to you to share favorite memories. Writing down regrets and tossing them into the flames can also be a healing tradition.
  • Make a keepsake to display during the holidays. It could be a teddy bear made of an article of clothing your loved one wore, or a memory box where your family members can place handwritten stories of happy memories, or a tablecloth decorated with holiday memories written in sharpie. Use your imagination to create something meaningful, and make a new holiday tradition of displaying it every year.

The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is proud to be a part of the Catholic Community in San Jose, California. Committed to providing a sacred place where families can remember loved ones in a peaceful and hope-filled setting, we welcome you and your family to visit our properties and experience the peace of these prayerful places. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. If you’d like to know more about our properties, or you need to know where to send flowers, you can contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.


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