16 Poems to Reflect on a First Christmas Without a Loved One

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Whether this is your first holiday season without your loved one or your 20th, you may be sad to celebrate Christmas without the one you love. To help you get through the month of December, you may want to research ways to remember deceased loved ones at Christmas

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If you need additional support, consider looking at a “first Christmas without a loved one” poem. It sometimes helps to know that you are not the only one who is hurting during such a wonderful time of year. Share these poems with others who are mourning and remember to include them in your holiday plans. 

Poems to Remember Mom or Dad at Christmas

You may be hurting if this is the first Christmas without Mom or Dad. In fact, you may feel like burying yourself under a pile of blankets to avoid the holidays altogether. It’s important to understand that you are not alone. Reach out to your siblings, who are probably also hurting. Do kind things for others. If you find yourself in a dark place, seek counseling. 

Here are some poems about missing a parent over the holidays. 

1. “Christmas” by Troy Garrison

When people think about the Christmases of their youth, they think of the special gifts they received from their loving parents. In this poem, the speaker reminisces receiving a “shiny-varnished sled” that his parents placed under the tree. 

2. “Christmas Eve: My Mother Dressing” by Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte’s poem describes a mother dressing nicely for Christmas Eve. It is told from the perspective of an adult looking back on this ritual.

The speaker reflects that her mom was “not the slave of the house” at least once each year. Even though her mother never thought of herself as a beauty, her child thought differently. 

3. “Christmas Eve” by Anne Sexton

The speaker in Anne Sexton’s poem spends Christmas looking at a photograph of her mother, who had died. Although this poem is somewhat melancholy and morose, much like other works by Anne Sexton, it may help you understand your own complicated grief.

4. “My Wish For This Christmas” by Jamie A. Cirello 

In this poem, the speaker sends a Christmas message to “our special angels up above. Merry Christmas to you all. I send you all my love.”

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Poems to Remember a Sibling or Close Friend

As you face another Christmas without your friend or sibling, you may wonder how to honor his or her memory best. You could make a donation in your loved one’s honor or visit your loved one’s grave. You could also share your loved one’s favorite holiday tradition with others in your family or circle of friends.

Here are some poems that describe how bittersweet the holiday season can be to those who have lost friends or family members. 

5. “In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 106” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Christmas bells are an enduring symbol of the holiday season. In this poem, the ringing of the bells is in memory of a variety of things. Included in the list is the grief one feels during the holiday season.

“Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more.”

6. [little tree] by ee cummings

As you think of Christmases of your youth, you probably think back to spending time with your siblings. 

In this poem by ee cummings, the speaker recalls,

“and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing.”

7. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane

The poetic lyrics of this song were written for “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Initially, Judy Garland refused to sing the original lyrics of the song because she said it was too sad. Luckily, she was convinced to perform the song and it's turned into a holiday classic.

8. “Christmas Memories” by Sandy Siewers

Unless you know a person well, you may not realize that he or she is faking happiness at Christmas. The speaker in this poem admits, “I try to celebrate with them and not let my hurting show.” If this describes how you feel during the holidays, you may want to read this poem.

Poems to Remember a Child at Christmas

Parents who lose children describe it as the most heart-wrenching experience of their lives. If this recently happened to you, consider seeking out the help of a counselor or a support group. 

Here are some poems written by people who have also faced loss. 

9. “Having Lost My Sons, I Confront The Wreckage Of The Moon: Christmas, 1960” by James Wright

James Wright’s poems can be read on a variety of levels. Even though the poet did not lose his children to death, the speaker’s isolation is similar to how one would feel when losing a loved one. One line states: 

“I am sick
Of it, and I go on
Living, alone, alone.”

10. “Christmas Treasures” by Eugene Field

The treasures that are spoken about in this poem are a toy, a tiny sock, and a lock of golden hair. The speaker holds these items dear to his heart because they belonged to a child who died. 

11. “One Little Candle” by Sheila Simmons

Some people find it helpful to have a creative outlet to help them express their grief. Some people paint, others sing songs, and others write poetry. Many different websites publish the work of amateur poets. This poem was found on one of the sites. 

12. “My First Christmas in Heaven” by Wanda Bencke

You may feel a bit of solace after reading “My First Christmas in Heaven” after losing a child. The speaker in the poem describes the wonder of celebrating the birth of a savior while in heaven. 

Poems to Remember a Lost Spouse or Partner During Christmas

You can’t prepare your heart and mind for the death of a spouse or partner. Whether your loved one suffered from an extended illness or not, his or her death may cause you to feel lost. Here are some poems about losing someone close to you. 

13. “Christmas at Saint Luke’s Hospital” by Eunice Tietjens

Anyone who has had a loved one in the hospital over the holidays will appreciate this poem. The staff wishes you and your loved one a “Merry Christmas” while a person dressed as Santa visits the hospital rooms. The speaker in the poem says of the visit, “we try to cover our soul’s nakedness, and smile.” 

14. “Christmas Fancies” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Of course, Christmas is a time for celebration, but after you lose someone you love, the celebration is bittersweet.

This stanza, although it does not speak specifically about losing a spouse or partner, illustrates this point:

“When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago.
And etched on vacant places,
Are half forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know –.”

15. “The Christmas Wreath” by Anna de Brémont

In “The Christmas Wreath,” the speaker longs for happier Christmases of the past. The wreath makes the speaker think about how the dearly departed are now “around God’s throne” with voices risen “to swell the Christmas Chime!”

16. “All Is Well” by Oliver Wright

Share this poem with someone who feels guilty for being happy at Christmas. The speaker in this poem, who is deceased, says, “Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.”

Consider Writing Your Own Poem

You may have looked through dozens of websites trying to find the perfect poem that expresses how you feel during the holiday season. You might consider writing your own poetry if you can’t find one that speaks to you. Writing a poem will help you express the complicated emotions that come with grief.

Consider researching “missing you at Christmas” quotes to get you started. You may also consider writing poems that share specific memories of the one you lost. Once you have a few verses written, share your work with others. You never know how your words may bring comfort to someone who is grieving. 

If you're looking for more ways to support a loved one who's grieving this holiday season, read our guide on how to cope with grief during the holidays.

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