Grieving at Christmas

Struggling with grief at Christmas? We’re here to help with advice and personal stories from our bereavement team and those with experience of grief.

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How to cope with Christmas after a bereavement

Christmas can be a very difficult time when you are grieving. As the season which celebrates love and family time, it’s no wonder Christmas is a time when you may struggle with your grief. There are lots of potential ‘triggers’ everywhere – TV advertising, personalised cards, friends talking about their plans, poignant music and films… It doesn’t matter whether this is your first, fifth or tenth Christmas without your important person, it can be hard to deal with grief at this time of year. Below are some advice and tips from the Winston’s Wish bereavement team and those who have experience of grief to help you and your children to cope with grieving at Christmas.

Guidance for adults supporting grieving children

Young girl putting a decoration on a Christmas tree
Coping with grief at Christmas

Tips on how parents, carers and other family members can help grieving children and young people to cope with their grief at Christmas.

Two candles behind a tree shaped Christmas decoration - Winston's Wish
5 ways to remember someone at Christmas

If you or your children are struggling to cope with grief at Christmas, it might help to find some special ways to remember your person.

Stressed mum sat at a table wrapping presents - Winston's wish
Grief at Christmas: Common questions asked by parents and carers

You’re not the only one struggling. Here are some common questions our on-demand services team are asked.

Child's hands putting decorations on a Christmas tree - Winston's Wish
How to cope at Christmas as a widowed parent

Tips from our friends at Widowed and Young on getting through the festive season when you’re a widowed parent.

Christmas grief activities for children - Winston's Wish
Christmas grief activities for children and young people

Here are some grief activities that might help a bereaved child or young person cope with their grief at Christmas.

Child's hands decorating a Christmas tree
My Christmas as a widowed parent with bereaved children

Our ambassador, Gary, shares his experience of Christmas with his two children after his wife/their mum died.

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Guidance for grieving children and young people

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How to manage grief at Christmas

Guidance from our bereavement team for grieving young people on how to manage your grief and emotions at Christmas.

Young woman sat on a sofa with a Christmas tree behind her - Winston's Wish
Grief at Christmas: Common questions asked by young people

You’re not the only one struggling. Here are some common questions our on-demand services team are asked.

Teenage girl looking sad, sat on a bed
My first Christmas without my dad

Anna, Libby and Angharad, from our Youth Team, share how they managed their grief on the first Christmas without their dads.

"It's ok to be kind to yourself in the festive season, set boundaries and say no to things which don't make you feel good." Molly
Messages from grieving young people to help you at Christmas

Grieving young people from our Youth Team, the Student Grief Network and the NCS Young Writers’ Club share their messages to others.

Teenage girl looking sad with Christmas tree behind her
Alex: How I cope with my grief at Christmas

Alex shares how she manages her grief at Christmas and some ideas to help others who are grieving during the festive season.

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Ways to help a grieving friend at Christmas

Ideas from our bereavement team and Youth Team on how you can help a friend who is grieving and struggling at Christmas.

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Tips from grieving young people for Christmas

Our Youth Team, young people with experience of grief, share their tips for others on coping with grief at Christmas.

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Christmas can feel like a lonely time when you’ve lost somebody, and the entire world seems to be singing and dancing about family and friends and spending time with people. Make sure that you prioritise yourself at Christmas time – it’s not being a Grinch to need some alone time to reflect on your feelings and have a cry, and it’s not wrong to enjoy yourself and let loose and just forget a little about what’s happened. Christmas can still be a happy time even when somebody special is missing.

Maya, Winston’s Wish Youth Team

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On-demand grief support

Whether you are a grieving young person who wants to talk to someone or a parent, carer or professional looking for guidance, you can reach out to our bereavement team using one of our confidential on-demand services.

Nothing is off limits. We’ll listen without judgement and you can chat to us anonymously if you’d prefer. You can reach out to us as little or as often as you want.

If you need to speak to us in a language other than English, we can use interpreters over the phone, and we can use the Relay UK app if you have hearing or speech difficulties.

Over the Christmas period, our on-demand services will be closed from 23rd until 26th December, open 8am-8pm on 27th until 29th December, closed from 30th December until 1st January and then open 8am-8pm (weekdays) from 2nd January onwards.

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Call us for free on 08088 020 021 between 8am-8pm, weekdays.

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Email us on or fill out our contact form and we’ll reply within two working days.

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Live chat

Chat online between 8am-8pm, weekdays by clicking the blue ‘Chat with us’ button at the bottom right of your screen.

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For urgent support, text WW to 85258 to speak with someone from our trusted partner, Shout.

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Help us support grieving children this Christmas

Some children won’t get to wish the person they love a Merry Christmas this year. Help make their holidays a little brighter by supporting our appeal.

In the midst of twinkling lights, songs and laughter, there are young people carrying the heavy burden of grief, facing the reality of a card that won’t be read, a bad joke left untold, or an empty armchair.

This December, let’s act together to change the lives of as many as 46,300 children and young people who are living with the heartbreak of not being able to celebrate with the person they love.

Get involved in whichever way suits you: By donating to support our appeal, taking on a 12Ks of Christmas Challenge, writing the Merry Christmas message you wish you could share on our Wish Wall, or by fundraising at work.

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