24 Short Holiday Poems for Grief and Loss


Life after a loved one passes can be like learning to live all over again. We adjust by getting back into our routines and continuing to enjoy our time here after a loved one has passed away. Holiday seasons make it especially hard at times to manage grief and tough emotions as you may feel a void, especially if it is your first holiday without a loved one.

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When the world around you is cheery and joyous, you may feel left out or sad while you miss your friend, partner, parent, or child. As you try to continue holiday traditions after someone close passes away, it may be helpful to take things slowly and one step at a time.

It can help to try finding inspiration while experiencing holiday grief. Especially during Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, or the start of a new year. We hope that you find some words of comfort and encouragement below during these difficult times.

Christmas Poems for Grief and Loss

Christmas time can be especially difficult with the world around you moving so quickly, while everyone is busy shopping and planning to spend time with their loved ones. Below are a few poems that may help you feel understood and supported. 

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1. “Candles This Christmas” by Howard Thurman

This poem by Howard Thurman is a good one to recite during the Christmas season as you miss your loved one. It helps to give hope and remembrance by continuing traditions like lighting candles in honor of your loved one and your own life. 

2. “My First Christmas in Heaven” by unknown author

My First Christmas in Heaven is a nice poem in the framework of a loved one who has passed writing from above. It gives comfort knowing that our loved ones want us to continue to be happy and live our lives even though we may miss them. 

3. “Christmas Poems For Those Who Grieve” by MaryJo Zacher 

This piece can provide some comfort alongside tips to stay healthy and sane as you grieve during the holidays. One such example includes avoiding those who drain you and being around those that give you peace.

4. “First Christmas” by Albert Simpson Reitz

This poem is written from the perspective of a lost loved one experiencing their first Christmas not on Earth and it gives a sneak peek of what it might feel like for those who die to experience holidays.

5. “Christmas List” by Susan Noyes Anderson

This short poem is a sad tale about the loss of a loved one during Christmas time and how different it may feel experiencing the holidays without your loved one. In a few short lines, it encompasses the feelings many who have lost someone may feel around these times. 

6. “Christmas Memories” by Arden Lansing

This beautifully written poem gives a feeling of comfort in knowing that our loved ones always live within our hearts – even throughout holidays like Christmas. 

Hanukkah Poems for Grief and Loss

Below are some poems related to grief and loss during Hanukkah. Maybe you’ve spent many moments with a loved one and this is the first year without them to honor this holiday with you. Hopefully, you find some solace in the words listed below. 

7. “Wounded Holidays” by Alan Harris

The poem Wounded Holidays is another calming poem for those making it through the holidays missing a loved one, specifically a child that was lost.

8. “Remember” by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

This poem is all about remembering a loved one after they have passed. Allowing their life to be celebrated instead of mourning their transition. It gives a helpful reminder to cherish what they left us with. 

9. “When All That's Left Is Love” by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

This poem helps us to remember that there are others in the world that still need our love and that those who have passed still live on within us, especially during the holidays.

10. “Seasons of Grief” by Belinda Stotler

During Hanukkah, it may be more difficult to process loss, especially with the season changing as in many places Hanukkah comes around during the winter. The clouds being darker and the air being colder, this poem is a reminder that the seasons do affect our grief as well. 

11.“‘To Love What Death Can Touch” by Yehuda Halevi

This beautifully written poem talks about the inevitable truth that everything here must leave one day. Also, it is scary to love because we all must die at some point. It can be a good conversation to have with other loved ones. 

12. “No Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

This poem by Robert Frost is a melody that speaks comfort in knowing that even the most amazing souls must die. Much like how the leaves change colors during the season’s transitions and how even daylight leaves by night. 

Thanksgiving Poems for Grief and Loss

Thanksgiving is normally a time of food, celebrations, and getting together with your family. It might even feel a bit emptier without your loved one around spending time with you. However, the poems below are focused on supporting you during Thanksgiving grief. 

13. “Call On Me” by Karl Fuchs

Another poem is written from the lens of a loved one who has passed which gives us the courage to move forward. Also, the reminder that if times are hard you can call on your lost loved ones to support you in carrying the load. 

14. “Thanksgiving” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

This poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox helps to recognize the blessings around us daily, especially during Thanksgiving. It also focuses on the meaning of the words “giving thanks,” as in giving thanks for what is around us and those who lived before us. 

15. “You Shall Ask” by Nancy Wood

This poem is a reminder that all seasons come to an end, sort of like the pain we experience throughout life. The few lines in this poem bring appreciation to the seasons of change and remembrance that everything comes to an end eventually. 

16. “For Grief” by John O'Donohue

During Thanksgiving especially, grief may hit you a little harder. This poem by John O’Donohue is a gift to us all as we can agree that some days will feel normal again and some moments grief will take over momentarily. 

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17. “Thanksgiving Grief Poem” by Meg Avery

This poem was written by a mother who lost her son and it isn’t one of sorrow, but one of thanks. A friendly reminder to give thanks as you go through this holiday without your loved one living and breathing next to you. 

18. “How We Survive” by Mark Rickerby

This poem by Mark Rickerby is a descriptive piece of poetry that talks about how we process losing someone over time.

New Year Poems for Grief and Loss

Even the New Year can be difficult to move into as you may feel you are leaving your loved one in the past. However, the poems below are meant to offer you sympathy and a better understanding of this transition.

19. “Year Before Last” by unknown author

This poem is an ode to those who have lost a loved one and are not moving into the New Year as those that have passed before with their loved ones by their side. It gives understanding to those who continue to mourn for their loved ones during the New Year.

20. “Let Me Go” by unknown author

This poem is a good one written as a reminder that we must all leave this Earth at some point and that there is no need to hold our heads too low when we mourn. Written from the perspective of a loved one asking you to move forward and be gracious with their passing. 

21. “How to Love” by Jamey Wysocki

The poem highlighted here focuses on moving on from a loss every new day. For those mourning the loss of a loved one, this poem may ring true with the feelings of sorrow that follow someone passing. 

22. “Four Candles” by unknown author

This poem, through the lighting of four different candles, reminds us that we will always have those who have died deep within our hearts. It tells us to think about the times that were shared before because the memory will help them live in our hearts forever. 

23. “Death of The Beloved” by John O'Donohue

This poem is another reminder that as the year moves forward, so must we. It also helps to reinforce the belief that although our loved ones aren’t here presently, they are always around in other ways.

24. “In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver

Another poem that serves as a friendly gesture to remember to move forward as the years change. Because every year, you must remember to do three things, according to Oliver’s poem:

to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
let it go.”


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