Three Ways to Boost Memories of Loved Ones This Holiday Season

Author: Allison Gilbert

We know holidays can be challenging for individuals who’ve lost loved ones, but they also offer opportunities for keeping memories alive. Below are three of my favorite ways to honor and celebrate the family and friends we never want to forget.

TAPS Survivors playing guitar

Use Social Media

If you can’t be with your family for the holidays, share memories of your loved one on social media. I used this strategy on the 20th anniversary of my mother’s death. First, I changed my profile photo to a picture of my mother and me. The swap was a visual cue something different was happening, and my Facebook friends should (hopefully!) pay attention. Next, I wrote a brief status update about the milestone, tagged people who knew her best, and encouraged everyone to post a favorite recollection. The result? A virtual celebration of her life.

Make Memory Magnets

If you’re gathering in person, consider doing an activity together– creating memory magnets. Each person needs a photo of their loved one. Other supplies include epoxy bubble stickers, sheets of magnetic backing (both the bubble stickers and magnetic sheets are widely available at craft stores), and scissors. First, affix the epoxy stickers (sticky-side down) to the top of your picture, giving it a glass-like finish. Next, cut a magnetic strip to size and shape your sticker and place it on the back. Done! Encourage family members to take these sentimental favors home to use on their refrigerators and washing machines.

Create Poignant Playlists

Use memories to inspire meaningful holiday playlists. Before my uncle died, he dictated a list of his favorite pieces of music. The playlist I made with his favorite songs brings back wonderful memories. What music did your loved one enjoy most? Make a playlist, and then consider sharing it. A commemorative playlist happens to make an especially thoughtful holiday gift.


Passed and Present book cover

Want more ideas?

I reveal 85 practical and creative opportunities in my book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive. Want to share your creative strategies with me? I’d love to know about them! Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by searching @agilbertwriter.

Allison Gilbert serves on the TAPS advisory board and the National Alliance or Grieving Children (NAGC) board of directors. She is an Emmy award-winning journalist and one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on grief and resilience. Learn more on Allison Gilbert's website.

Photos: TAPS Archives