Holiday Grief in the times of COVID

Written By: Janet, Hotline Coordinator

In a year of extraordinary loss, more than likely, facing the holidays is filling many with anxiety. After almost a year of families staying home, and separated from one another, being unable to get together for holidays is not a new thing. However, being stuck at home due to COVID, in addition to “normal grief”, leaves people also grieving the holiday customs and rituals they thought they would have.  

 With stricter COVID restrictions being   implemented again, and people being asked to   stay home, normal holiday customs and   traditions are changing. The support they once   would have had, to help with their grief during   the holidays, simply isn’t the same or there at   all. Family and friends are left making the   decision to stay home and keep themselves and   others safe, or go see family and possibly get   sick. 

 So, what do we do when we can’t physically   gather? We have a few ideas for how to help with your holiday grief in this pandemic, so let’s get to it.

  1. Gather virtually over Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or another video call app.
  2. Cook your loved one’s favorite holiday meal and drop it off to those nearby. 
  3. Share your loved one’s favorite dessert recipe and have everyone bake it in their own homes. 
  4. Share memories, videos and photos of your loved one virtually. 
  5. Create a new tradition.
  6. Make a memorial craft together over a video call. 
  7. Host a watch party with your loved one’s favorite movie. 
  8. Write letters to your loved ones letting them know why you are grateful for them. 

Overall, skip the holiday altogether if you don’t feel in the mood for celebrating. These are unusual circumstances, so you are allowed to do what helps you get through them.  Make sure to first and foremost take care of yourself. If you do find yourself alone for the holidays while grieving and need someone to talk to, please call or text the 24-hour Washington State Crime Victim Service Center Hotline at 1-888-288-9221.

Call Our 24-Hour Crisis Line

Speak with a trained advocate who can provide assistance with needs resulting from victimization.  Call by clicking below! 


"With the help of VSS, you are empowered and encouraged to fight back and be pro-active. Then your conscience can be more at peace because you know you have taken some action to protest crimes inflicted on your loved one. It is sometimes your only consolation."

“The one takeaway for me in working with VSS is that it is a necessary organization. I know they are funded by grants and fundraisers but it’s something we need to make sure as a community that they have the funding needed because what they do for people in need doesn’t happen anywhere else. This is the only place that this happens and VSS helps with so many things.”

David Rose

Anchor, Q13 News and Host, Washington’s Most Wanted

“VSS is there when the unthinkable happens.  When a police officer knocks on your door and gives you tragic news, VSS helps navigate the court system, which can be very confusing. VSS is compassion, caring, and commitment. Commitment to once justice is done that victims and their families can move forward with their lives.”

Jennifer Gregerson

Mayor, City of Mukilteo

“VSS has been our partner in recovery and healing and a key part in what makes Mukilteo Strong. VSS has been a trusted advocate for the victims that have suffered so much in the community.  I’m so grateful to VSS as our partner in strength.”

Jon Nehring

Mayor, City of Marysville

“VSS is there for people in their darkest hour. At a time when they need an advocate and friend, VSS steps in to fill that gap and help them begin their journey back to some sense of normalcy.” 

Myrle Carner

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound

“This thing about closure. There is never really closure in a victim’s life but VSS helps individuals to get closer to that and that’s critical because the cops and the judicial system just move on to another case because they don’t have time. Victims live with this trauma forever so VSS is with them for as long as they need the services. VSS takes the time, more importantly, they really care."

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