The holidays, especially family-focused celebrations like Thanksgiving, are some of the most challenging times of the year if you’re grieving the death of a loved one. Meaningful traditions coupled with time spent with family and friends can bring back memories of that special person who’s no longer with you.

At Egizi Funeral Home, we have seen how families around the Turnersville area benefit by creating new traditions to honor their loved ones. Acknowledging grief and paying tribute to the person who has died is a way to express and release emotions connected to their death. Often, this helps those grieving be more present with friends and family during their time together.

This Thanksgiving, consider taking the time to celebrate and honor your loved one by doing the following:

  • Make their favorite meal.

If your loved one enjoyed making pies, place a fresh-baked pumpkin or apple pie at the center of your dessert table. Maybe they liked to add a particular herb or signature spice to their stuffing. Try your best to recreate the dish and share it with your Thanksgiving guests. Create recipe cards so those gathered can prepare the dish on their own. 

  • Write up a gratitude list to share over dinner.

This exercise is an excellent opportunity to involve your guests in a simple activity. Pass around paper and pencils, then ask each person to write specific things they appreciated about your loved one who died. At the end of the evening, take a few minutes to share some of these things aloud with the group.

  • Set a place for your loved one at the table.

Whether this is your first Thanksgiving spent without your loved one or you have grown accustomed to the empty chair at the table, setting a place for them is a special nod to how much they meant to you. This acknowledgment is a practical way to help ease grief while bringing to mind memorable stories and memories.

  • Display photos and swap stories with your guests.

Put your favorite photos of your loved one on display throughout your home on Thanksgiving Day. Share what you love most about each image and encourage your guests to tell you their favorite memories as well.

  • Do something your loved one enjoyed.

If they loved football, watch the big game after dinner with your guests. Perhaps you and your loved one used to take a walk outside after the Thanksgiving meal. Whatever it is they enjoyed, try to find time to do this activity on Thanksgiving Day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, you may feel more at peace about your loved one not being there to celebrate with you.

  • Create a holiday playlist featuring some of their favorite songs.