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To Sam

First Christmas without Dad

Hi Sam,

I am so sorry to bother you but this Christmas will be our first without my Dad. He passed away suddenly in April and my Grandad passed away after being ill in May. It will be so different for us all and I am struggling so badly!

I’ve spoken about it a lot with my mum and my sister as it will be hard for them also but I just do not want christmas to happen. I can’t wake him up really early or eat my christmas dinner with him or buy him presents or visit family with him. It saddens me and I just can not cope at all with it. My grandad can’t come over in the morning and watch my sister and I open up our presents or sing christmas songs with us. I still can not listen to “Fairytale of New York” as I just cry and cry. My heart is breaking and I can’t make it through the season.

Please help!

Thank you

Ask Sam


Hi there,

December can be an especially difficult time of the year after loved ones have died. There are lots of cultures that have big celebrations at the end of the year and these often involve families. When a member of the family is missing, it can bring back all the hurt and sadness of when they first died. These are normal feelings and are part of grieving.

Grief is something that we all experience in a personal way. There isn't a right or wrong way to feel about it and it can affect you in some unexpected ways. Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Mawlid el-Nabi and New Year’s Eve all happen around December, so it can be a very difficult time for grieving, no matter what culture or background you are from. Many people around you might be happy and festive whilst you may feel very sad. It's okay to not take part in things if you need space.

Christmas is going to be different this year, there's no way around that fact. There are often a lot of traditions and things that are done the same every year - and that's going to make missing people even more noticeable. It's up to you how you change things - you may want to try and keep traditions going because it’s a memory you shared with your dad and granddad. Or you might decide that those traditions won't be the same without them and do something else instead. There isn't a right or a wrong answer.

It can help to do something special to remember the people you've lost. You might write them a letter or a Christmas card. You could even buy a gift for them and yourself, like a framed photograph or a special decoration that you hang on the tree.

This is the first Christmas after a big change but it won't be the only one. Things will always change and people come and go over the years. Hopefully people don't go too often, but eventually Christmas for you might be one with a new partner, children of your own or other new family. It's okay that things change because you can always hold onto the memories you have of the past whilst making new traditions and new memories.

Thank you for sharing. Remember that Childline is here 24 hours a day, every day and is open throughout Christmas and the new year. There will always be someone here if you want to talk to a counsellor.

Take care.


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