How to Wish Merry Christmas to Someone Who is Grieving?

How to Wish Merry Christmas to Someone Who is Grieving
When wishing Merry Christmas to a grieving friend, acknowledge their loss, offer practical help, and don’t compare their grief. Listen more, respect their traditions,  and help them beyond the holidays.

1. Acknowledge Their Loss

When a friend or family member is grieving, the cheer of Christmas day can feel like an overwhelming contrast to their sorrow. Acknowledging their loss is crucial. 

When we acknowledge the loss of a loved one, we’re essentially saying to the grieving person, “I’m here to support you.” It is an act of empathy, understanding, and compassion. 

When expressing condolences, it’s important to be authentic and empathetic. A phrase such as, “I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you,” can show the person that you’re there for them in their time of need.

Acknowledging someone’s loss doesn’t mean you’ll fix their pain. It means you’re offering them a safe space to feel their feelings, a shoulder to lean on, and a hand to hold when needed.

2. Extend A Helping Hand

For those mourning the loss of a loved one, the Christmas season can feel overwhelmingly painful. A Christmas wish to them needs to be tender and thoughtful. One way to do this is by offering specific help.

The beauty of human connection is in shared joy and sorrow. To provide assistance that matters, start by asking. It often opens the door to a conversation that might not happen otherwise.

You could also offer to run errands for them or prepare a meal. These small gestures can help lighten the burden of day-to-day responsibilities, which can be a huge relief. The goal is to make the person feel loved and cared for amid pain. 

3. Sharing Happy Memories

When someone is grieving during the holiday season, Christmas wishes need to be cushioned with extra warmth and empathy. Sharing happy memories is one of the best ways to convey your heartfelt wishes.

It’s like tapping into the positive aspects of the past. Instead of sinking into the sadness of loss, we float on the beautiful moments the departed left behind. It’s a way of honoring their life and the joy they brought.

Start your conversation or message with fond remembrance. A phrase like, “I remember when Mike would always light up the room with his infectious laughter at our annual Christmas party, it always brought so much joy.” 

Such expressions remind us that the person they lost was a source of happiness and love, and their essence permeates the holiday season. 

4. Grief Is Unique

When expressing condolences to a grieving person, the golden rule is to remember that every person’s experience with loss is distinct and personal. It’s an emotional journey that isn’t designed for comparison; it’s as unique as the person going through it.

Resist the temptation to compare their grief to others’ experiences, even if it’s done to help. When you start comparing their loss to someone else’s, it can feel as though you’re minimizing their pain or trying to put a ranking on suffering. 

Strive to acknowledge and validate their emotions. Reaffirm that their pain is real, their feelings are legitimate, and their experience of grief is unique to them.

5. Listen

For those wrestling with loss, Christmas can be a tough time. Amid the glitter, their world can seem dimmer, the holiday joy out of reach. But here’s something you can do: be there to listen.

Being there is about unwrapping your understanding, laying out your patience, and letting them know: “If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here to listen and support you.”

These words in a holiday card can create a space of acceptance where their thoughts and feelings are welcome, no matter how tumultuous. And sometimes, that’s all they need—a safe, non-judgmental space to unburden their hearts. 

6. Respect Their Traditions

We all have a unique way of embracing the holiday spirit. It could be decorating the Christmas tree, cooking a family recipe, or singing carols around the neighborhood. However, these traditions can bring more pain than joy for someone dealing with loss. 

The key is to inquire about their comfort level. Ask them what they feel up to this Christmas time. Whatever they decide, let them know you’re okay with it.

If they step back from some traditions this year, you can extend your support by offering alternative options. They may be interested in trying something new, a fresh custom that could bring a small measure of comfort during this difficult time.

7. Embracing The Present

Concentrate on the present moment when wishing happy holidays to a grieving friend or family member. This means being fully aware of their emotions and being there with them. You’re not trying to pull them out of their grief, but you’re showing them that it’s okay to grieve and still have moments of peace or joy.

Let your words and actions create a safe space in the present moment. It can be as simple as saying, “Let’s enjoy this moment together and focus on the present.” This approach acknowledges their grief yet gently reminds them that finding peace in the present is okay.

8. Words That Heal

woman hugging a kid
Woman hugging a kid

When loss clouds the festive season, the power of a comforting message cannot be underestimated. It can be like a gentle hug, providing solace when needed. While we can’t erase the pain, we can let our loved ones know they are not alone.

The key to sharing a comforting message with someone who is grieving is to choose words that resonate deeply with them. These words should be a beacon of hope in their darkest times. 

Consider phrases like, “May your heart be filled with peace and love during this difficult holiday.” This message offers an uplifting sentiment that can be a balm to a grieving heart.

9. Be Patient And Understanding

Knowing what to say to someone grieving can be difficult, especially during a festive period like Christmas. However, your patience and understanding can provide the comfort they need during these times.

Grief is not a set path with a defined beginning and end—it’s a personal journey that unfolds differently for everyone. The experience and timing can vary greatly, so respect the individual’s process without rushing them. 

Share words of comfort that show you recognize this, such as, “I understand that everyone grieves differently, and I’m here to support you through this hard time.” This conveys that you respect their grieving process but also reassures them that they are not alone.

10. Maintaining Connection Beyond The Holidays

Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, but this season might feel more like a dark winter night than a sparkling morning for those grappling with loss and grief. For these individuals, your attention and care could be the most significant gifts you can offer.

Our support for these friends or family members shouldn’t end when the Christmas lights go out. Grief doesn’t follow a schedule or pack up and leave after the new year. 

Something as simple as saying, “You’re always in my thoughts and prayers, and I’m here for you whenever you need me,” can mean the world to someone grieving. These words carry a profound message: you are seen, cared for, and not alone. 

Example wordings

  • Hi [Name], As we deck the halls this Christmas, I wanted to share a moment to remember [their loved one’s name]. Their love continues to shine like the Christmas lights brighten the darkest nights. I’m thinking of you. Happy Christmas.
  • Dear [Name], I can’t imagine your pain during this festive season. But remember, even the coldest winter nights can be warmed by memories of love and togetherness. May these memories of [their loved one’s name] bring comfort and peace. Merry Christmas.

Is it appropriate to send a Christmas card to someone who is grieving?

Yes. When a loved one navigates the turbulent seas of grief during the holiday season, a heartfelt Christmas card can be a beacon of light that reminds them they’re not alone.

What are some appropriate gifts to give someone who is grieving?

Here are some ideas to help you express your heartfelt care and support.

  • Journal: Grieving can be an isolating process. A journal can be a therapeutic outlet for their thoughts and feelings when they’re not ready to share. 
  • Books: Whether it’s a self-help guide on navigating grief or a novel that offers an escape from the world, a good book can be a solace for someone in grief. 
  • Care packages: Fill it with their favorite things – maybe some gourmet food, bath bombs, scented candles, or a good movie. 


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

Recent Posts