Holidays, Family and Tradition

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, December 20, 2023
By Todd D. Giardina, PH. D

The holidays, the end of the calendar year, this all brings on a feeling of reflection.

Looking back, taking stock.

The rituals of wrapping up the year or your particular holiday.  They happen every year, so then we compare this year to last. This can trigger feelings of grief and loss.

table during holidays

We are aware of who is absent from the dinner table. We are conscious of the person who is missing, who would’ve typically engaged in this tradition, or carried out this ritual.

Perhaps now we are the one tasked with the duty of carrying on the tradition.  We have now taken the mantle.

I say all this to say that grief this time of year is normal, and sometimes healthy. It’s okay to reflect wistfully, to remember those we have lost.

It is appropriate to shed a tear when we realize that we are now the elder of the family, or the keeper of the tradition. And that the person who passed it to us is gone. But through this ritual or tradition, we honor their memory.

Now this is to distinguish from severe grief or depression, tearfulness all day, a lack of joy; these are the moments to reach out for help.

But having a sad moment of loss during the holidays is very normal, and may continue every holiday or end of year season.

Don’t try to hide these feelings, but integrate them into the narrative. Tell the children, we are doing this because your great grandmother used to, and now in doing so, they are connected to their great grandmother. And yet, you may feel weepy in relaying the story.

All normal.


“A holiday is an opportunity to journey within.” Prabhas