The holiday season is filled with joy, happiness and (the best part to me) your loved ones. Spending time with friends and family is what makes the holiday so great and special but what happens when a loved one is no longer there? They were the ones that always brought a certain dish for the holiday meal or even the one that held the whole family together. The first holiday without a loved one can be extremely tough and painful. But you and your family can get through it. Here are some things that can help.

1. Assign someone new to their trademarks 

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This may feel like you're replacing them or being inconsiderate towards the importance that they held in your family but keeping their traditions alive also keeps their memory alive. Find that recipe they always made and either make it yourself or give it to someone who can. Make someone bring the movie or CD they would bring every year. Assign someone else to host if they always did. It helps to keep their legacy and memory going in their honor.

2. Put up a picture 

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Put up a picture frame on the table, or somewhere visible of them. It could even be a couple. Seeing their face surrounded by the rest of the family is a great reminder that the family is still together, as a unit.

3. Share stories about them 

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What was your favorite holiday memory of them? What was something about them that made you laugh or smile? Share those memories and stories with the family out loud. it's okay to tear up a little, but don't forget to also laugh and smile like they once made you.

4. Play a video or recording 

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If you have a home video or a voicemail with their voice in it, play it out loud for the family. if other's don't want to watch or listening go somewhere to listen to it by yourself. Hearing their voice fill the room will make it feel as if they are there with you.

5. Love the people who are there 

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Look around you at the people that are still physically there with you. Give them an extra hug on the way out, say "I love you" to whoever it applies to. Love those that are still there just a little harder, because you all shared love for that person that is no longer there. Keep the love going strong.