27 Quotes About Grief & the Holiday Season


Many people dread the first holiday season after a loved one dies. They wonder if they should continue with their traditional celebrations or stay home until the new year begins. Family holidays like Christmas and Easter can be difficult without them.

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You might want to lean into some holiday grief quotes, but other quotes speak about how grief may pop up at different times of the year.

Sad Quotes About Holiday Grief

Example of a sad quote about holiday grief over an image of holiday decorations

Are your friends and family members forcing you to be in good cheer over the holidays? Perhaps use some of these quotes to express how you are feeling. The holidays are hard for many people. Use some of these quotes to share your feelings with those who don’t understand your grief. 

1. “And lastly, remember that it is okay to cry.” — Richard Kauffman

Richard Kauffman has written a lot about grief.

2. “There is no right or wrong way to handle the holidays. You are in complete control of your plans as to what you will do during this time of the year.” — Richard Kauffman

There’s a lot about life beyond control, but you have complete control over how you spend your time over the holidays. 

3. “There are no quick fixes to grief. No easy answers. Every expression of grief that wants to be felt and honored and given its space must be allowed… in order to heal.” — Tom Zuba

You may find it hard to make plans over the holidays. Give yourself grace if you feel the need to alter your plans at the last minute.

4. “Grief is like living two lives. One, you pretend that everything is all right, and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.” — Unknown

Share this quote with your friends so that they understand how you feel over the holiday season.

5. “Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance — each beautiful, unique, and gone too soon.” — Deborah Whipp

You may find that others avoid talking about the person you lost. They may not want to see you cry and subsequently will steer the conversation to happier topics. 

If you want the conversation to include memories of your loved one, you might like to express this to those around you.

6. “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Henry Havelock Ellis

It may take time before you find this balance. Give yourself grace as you go through the first holiday season without your loved one.

7. “It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses.” — Collette

You may think that you’ll experience a tough holiday, but the holiday might surprise you. You may experience the most grief on a beautiful day in June or the anniversary of your loved one’s death.

8. “It’s coming on Christmas. They’re cutting down trees. They’re putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace. Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on.” — Joni Mitchell

Some of the death quotes about death come from lyricists. 

9. “Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” — C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis wrote about the loss of his wife in a book called “A Grief Observed.”

10. “Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” — Vicki Harrison

You may find that the waves of grief feel overpowering during November and December. 

11. “The holiest of holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart; the secret anniversaries of the heart.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Perhaps the holidays aren’t the most challenging time of year for you. You may feel saddest on the anniversary of your first date or the time of year when your loved one was given a horrible diagnosis. 

Uplifting Quotes About Holiday Grief

Example of an uplifting quote about holiday grief over an image of holiday decorations

Perhaps you are looking for a quote that says, “I am missing you at Christmas, but I still have joy in my heart.” Here are some more uplifting quotes about loss and grief. 

12. “Now is the time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” — John 16:22

If you are a person of faith, you will find many quotes in the Bible that will fill you with hope and reassurance.

13. “My life was suddenly divided into BEFORE and AFTER, and there was no going back to BEFORE. But then I realized I had a choice to live the AFTER. I had to decide.” — Brenda Neal

Make a plan for how you wish to spend the AFTER portion of your life. 

14. “If the shoe was on the other foot so to speak, you were the one who has passed away and your loved one is here. What would you want them to do? Would you want them to be miserable and depressed over the holidays? No, I don’t think so, you would want them to be happy, begin to put their lives back together, and enjoy this time of the year once again. So be still and listen to your heart, you’ll know what to do from there.” — Richard Kauffman

This tactic may be helpful for some of you. How would you want your loved ones to spend the holidays?

15. “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” — A.A. Milne

This quote is prevalent right now. You will often find it paired with an illustration of Winnie the Pooh, as it was written by the creator and author of the Pooh books.

16. “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing each other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.” — W.C. Jones

As you grieve the loss of a loved one, you may ask yourself what you can do to make life better for others.

17. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than 10,000 tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.” — Washington Irving

Washington Irving was a prolific American writer who was most famous for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.”

18. “Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” — William Shakespeare

This quote can be found in Act IV of Macbeth.

19. “I find that it’s the simple things that remind you of family around the holidays.” — Amy Adams

It could be the taste of your mom’s favorite candy or the scratch of your dad’s wool scarf. 

20. “Giving your presence might be the best Christmas gift you could give someone this year.” — Ken Fite

Remember, you are not the only one grieving the loss of your loved one. Your loved one may be craving your presence now more than ever before. 

21. “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” — Thomas Campbell

Share memories of your loved one with others so that your loved one’s memory lives on forever.

22. “God gave us a memory so that we might have roses in December.” — J.M. Barrie

J.M. Barrie was the author of “Peter Pan.”

23. “I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces all day through.” — Irving Kahal

If you recognize this quote, it could be that you heard them in the American standard, “I’ll Be Seeing You.” 

24. “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” Khalil Gibran

The imagery of this quote feels just right. 

25. “The song is ended, but the melody lingers on.” Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin wrote many American standards, such as “White Christmas.”

26. “We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” — Gary Zukav

Gary Zukav is known for his many self-help publications. 

27. “And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.” — Maya Angelou

These words are from Maya Angelou’s poem, “When Great Trees Fall.” Are there any words about grief better than those?

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What Quotes Give You Peace?

As you learn to navigate life without your loved one, you may experience a wide variety of emotions. Some of these quotes may speak to you immediately after the death, while others make sense several years later.

Which of these quotes expresses how you are feeling right now? Share them with others who may be going through a similar experience. 

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