How to Say ‘Happy New Year’ to Someone Who’s Grieving


Ringing in the New Year with someone who's lost a loved one requires a bit of finesse in how you wish them a Happy New Year. The holiday season doesn’t end when someone loses a loved one, and the world doesn't stop celebrating. Those who are bereaved during the holidays must endure the pain of their loss while the world around them celebrates. 

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How do you say Happy New Year to someone who lost a loved one in recent times? Below are some examples of what you might say to someone who’s in mourning during the holidays.

How to Say ‘Happy New Year’ to Close Family Members Who Are Grieving

Example of how to say "happy new year" to close family members who are grieving over an image of fireworks

Sending messages of condolences while keeping the spirit of the season alive for yourself and others is still possible when a close family member is in mourning.

A person who is grieving the loss of their loved during the holidays may not be in a festive mood to celebrate. You can still make someone’s day by sending them well wishes that are appropriate under the circumstances. You can try any of the following messages to let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them:

1. “Happy New Year to our loved ones who are now in Heaven.”

For those who are religious, finding gentle ways to wish each other a Happy New Year serves to strengthen the bond between you and your loved one that is grieving.

Many times the bereaved are ignored or left alone during the holidays. A simple acknowledgment of their loss goes a long way in making someone feel included in the holidays.

2. “In this New Year, I promise to keep their memory alive.”

Resolutions for the grieving can include things like vowing to keep their deceased loved one’s memory alive. There are other New Year’s resolution ideas for the bereaved that can be found online.

Consider coming up with creative ways of including the deceased in your plans for the upcoming year. Some resolutions for the new year may include:

  • Planting a memorial garden
  • Placing a headstone on the grave
  • Visiting the grave regularly
  • Placing fresh flowers on the grave
  • Volunteering your time to a special cause
3. “May our angels above protect us in the New Year.”

Giving emotional support to someone who’s grieving can include giving them hope of an after-life for their deceased loved ones. 

4. “I know you’re grieving and it’s hard for you right now, but I want to wish you a better year to come.”

Offering someone encouragement during some of the darkest times of your loved one’s grief shows them that you understand what they're going through.

5. “May this New Year release the pain of the past and fill your heart with peace and joy.”

Sometimes it can be hard to find the right words of condolence to say to those who are closest to you. It can be uncomfortable talking about death with others. Try finding a balance when offering condolences so that you don’t sound too formal or contrived. 

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How to Say ‘Happy New Year’ to Friends Who Are Grieving

Example of how to say "happy new year" to friends who are grieving over an image of snow and trees

A friend that may be grieving is a friend in need of your comfort and support during the holidays. Depending on how far you are in proximity to your friend, you may need to offer online condolences instead of paying them an in-person visit. Some simple, yet heartfelt messages to friends who are grieving are:

6. “You’re in my thoughts as we ring in the new year. You’re not alone.”

A simple reminder that you’re there for them in their time of need can make a world of difference in someone’s life who’s grieving the loss of a loved one. 

7. “May this new year bring you comfort and peace.”

This is another way of saying Happy New Year without actually saying those words that can sound a bit off-putting during your friend’s time of mourning. 

8. “Many blessings to you this New Year. I know it’s difficult for you right now.”

Acknowledging your friend’s loss reassures them that you know and understand what they’re going through. It also shows them that you haven’t shied away from the friendship because they’re in mourning. 

9. “I’ll light a candle for you and your loved one when ringing in the New Year.”

The lighting of a white candle is a beautiful way of honoring your friend and the life of their loved one who’s died. It’s symbolic of spiritual peace. 

10. “Wishing you a New Year filled with renewed hope, renewed joy, and new beginnings.”

Finding the silver lining after suffering a loss can be nearly impossible. A message like this reminds your friends that things won’t always be this way. Time has a way of healing today’s pain and suffering.

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How to Say ‘Happy New Year’ to Coworkers Who Are Grieving

Example of how to say "happy new year" to coworkers who are grieving over an image of fireworks

Office and workplace settings are almost always in celebration mode. A bereaved coworker might look a little out of place and feel lonely and isolated during the holidays amid all of the revelry of the celebrations. Here are some thoughtful words you can say that will brighten up their day. 

11. “Starting the New Year without your loved one must be difficult. My thoughts are with you.”

Stop in for a quick chat at your coworker’s desk or workspace to wish them a happy new year without overly stating the obvious that they’re in mourning. 

12. “I know it’s been a rough year for you. May this New Year bring you some respite from your pain.”

These are lovely words filled with encouragement for the new year. If you’re too shy or embarrassed to approach your coworker, slip a greeting card into their workspace and leave behind a little bit of joy.

13. “New Year’s blessings to you and your family.”

When choosing words to say that are based on religion or spirituality, consider your coworker’s background. If you’re unsure whether this type of greeting is appropriate, err on the side of caution and choose a different message that is sure not to offend.

14. “I know it’ll be a rough year ahead. I’m here for you whenever you need anything.”

Choose meaningful words to say instead of offering canned or scripted greetings that sound cliche and insincere. Ask your coworker to give you specific examples of things they may need help with. Offer to do something for them to help their time at work go by a bit more smoothly.

15. “May the New Year bring love and light to heal your grieving heart.”

These are sweet words filled with hope and love for anyone who’s grieving. Consider sending this message in an email or inscribed in a card so that they can look to it when they need healing inspiration. 

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How to Say ‘Happy New Year’ to Acquaintances Who Are Grieving

Example of how to say "happy new year" to acquaintances who are grieving over an image of a snowy mountainside

Have you ever wanted to send a comforting text to someone who’s grieving, but didn’t know what to say? Many people feel uncomfortable and a bit awkward talking about grief, loss, and mourning, especially with someone who’s merely an acquaintance.

These simple phrases can help you send a loving and comforting message to someone who may be needing a little pick-me-up.

16. “I know it’s been difficult for you lately. I wish you well in the year ahead.”

When you acknowledge someone’s pain and loss, you validate their feelings of grief and give reassurance that they have your support. These types of messages convey an awareness of the loss they’ve recently suffered without sounding too intrusive. 

17. “I’m thinking of you as we ring in the New Year. May you find a bit of solace from your grief among these well-wishes.”

Celebrations don’t end because someone is mourning the death of a loved one. As painful as it may be for the person who is grieving to see everyone celebrating around them, they may still wish to be included.

Try and include them in the festivities in subtle ways that won’t disrespect their time of bereavement and mourning.

18. “I know you may not feel like celebrating. I just want to remind you that every New Year brings renewed hope for a better tomorrow.”

Messages that plant little seeds of hope in the bereaved’s mind can serve to help them through their darkest hours.

Don't be afraid to ask your acquaintance to meditate on your words when they need a little extra boost of reassurance that everything will be okay. 

19. “I’m sorry for your loss. May this New Year offer you peace and shelter from your grief.”

There’s a certain spiritual beauty to these words for the bereaved. These messages are best when they're written on a card and given to someone who's in mourning so they can read and re-read them whenever they need a little extra reassurance. 

20. “With every New Year comes a new opportunity to heal from your pain of the past.”

Hope and healing are two of the themes that the new year brings to many people as they let go of the year that’s passed and welcome in the new one. 

Saying Happy New Year in a Time of Grief 

Wishing a Happy New Year to someone who’s mourning a significant loss is inappropriate in most cases. Choose words of condolences and well wishes for the new year that show compassion for what others may be suffering through.

Words can both be painful reminders of love and loss, or they can heal those who are grieving.

The holidays can be tough for everyone. Read our guides on getting through the holiday season without a loved one and holiday card etiquette after a death.

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