top of page
  • Writer's pictureEllen Krohne

The Real Spirit of Christmas

There is a Facebook post that pops into my feed every couple of days now.  It is a Christmas post.  Not the cheery, “Happy Holidays” or cute kid with Santa post.  It’s one that reminds us that Christmas is not joyful for all, for some it is downright sad. 

Here’s the post:

“Someone you know is preparing for their first Christmas without their husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, daughter or son. Others are preparing for their last. Regardless of the specifics, remember that this season of joy is often times a season of sorrow for many. Be kind, be generous, give love, give help; if nothing else, just don't give people a hard time.”

This post made me remember that first Christmas after my mother died in 1970.   Her seven children missed her, mourned for her, and there was not much joy in our home. 

One of the families that told their grief story in Heartbroken – Grief and Hope Inside the Opioid Crisis, the book I co-authored in 2019, told me of their first Christmas without their only child and it is a sad, painful memory:

“… Alaina died on December 9th and that year my brother, who always hosted Christmas, decided to go to Colorado for Christmas.  That left my Dad and other brother, whose wife had died, with no place to go.  So instead of my sister-in-law or another relative stepping up, knowing it would be too much for us, they let us host Christmas.  It didn’t go well.  Eric had a very hard time throughout the day.  My Dad asked, “What’s wrong?” 

I told him, “Eric’s in pain.” 

Dad thought for a moment and then asked, “From his surgery?” 

“No, Dad, he’s in pain from the fact that Alaina just died.”

A few hours later my sister-in-law kept insisting that Eric find this movie she wanted to watch on TV.  We’d just gotten a new system and he couldn’t figure it out.  Eric finally got mad and stomped out.

I wanted to scream at them, “What assholes you are.  If you weren’t all so self-absorbed you wouldn’t have let us have this dinner – we aren’t able yet.”  Not a merry Christmas memory.  The point is, each person should try hard to understand their own limits, and don’t let others push you before you are ready.”

My call to you, dear reader, is to remember this as we enjoy the holiday season – not everyone is able to be joyful.  So, as the Facebook post suggests, “Be kind, be generous, give love, give help; if nothing else, just don't give people a hard time.”   


The real spirit of Christmas.


For excellent tips on how to cope with Holiday Grief, follow this link to Heartlinks Grief Center’s website:

If you or someone you love is grieving and struggling with the journey, help is available.  Heartlinks Grief Center provides grief support to all ages, regardless of ability to pay.  If you are grieving or know someone who could use assistance on their grief journey, please contact Heartlinks Grief Center at 618-277-1800 or email

Proceeds from the sale of my books are donated to help support Heartlinks Grief Center, a program of Family Hospice of Belleville, IL.

Be blessed,


“We Grow Stronger Together”

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page