What to write in a Christmas card after someone has passed away

08 December 2022

For most of us, the holiday season is a time of colourful lights, delicious gatherings, and gift shopping for friends and family. But for some, it can be a reminder of challenging and possibly painful times. That’s why when you’re sending your festive greetings you need to be mindful of Christmas card messages after someone has passed away.

We acknowledge that many of us are experiencing different circumstances during the holidays. In particular, finding the words to say to those who are grieving can be challenging.

What do you write in a Christmas Card to someone who has lost a loved one? Whether it be to a grieving friend, colleague or to family members experiencing shared grief, there are no hard and fast rules. However, if you are looking for the first step, here is some guidance.

1. Keep the tone gentle

Christmas card attached to a Christmas tree

It is important when people are still grieving to write a message with a gentle tone that is respectful of their current circumstances.

Possible messages could be:

  • Sending my love and warm thoughts this holiday season
  • I hope you can find comfort and warmth these holidays

2. Show your condolences

When you are feeling unsure of what to say, it can be tempting to avoid difficult topics such as grief. Instead, it is better to acknowledge their feelings by offering your condolences.

Possible messages could be:

  • I’m very sorry for your loss, and wishing you and your family peace during this holiday.
  • I know this is a tough holiday season for you and I hope you can find comfort and support during this time.

3. Be sympathetic

Christmas ornament decorating a Christmas tree

Sometimes the easiest way to write a message to someone grieving is to be gentle and sympathetic in your words.

Possible messages could be:

  • We are thinking of you and your family during this holiday season.
  • Sending love and our thoughts to your family this Christmas.

4. Make sure to check in

If you are unsure of how to begin your Christmas card, you can use this message as an opportunity to check in and ask how the recipient is doing.

  • Hello __ how are you feeling? I hope you can find ease and peace during these holidays. Wishing you and your whole family a Merry Christmas.
  • I know these holidays must be challenging after such a tragic loss. I hope you and your family are doing well during this season. Sending all my love and support. Merry Christmas.

5. Offer support

The holidays are a time of giving and community. If you would like to help, during this season you can offer to support them however they need.

Possible messages could be:

  • I can’t imagine how difficult this holiday must be for you. Thinking of you this Christmas and hope to support you in any way I can.
  • I hope you can find comfort and support these holidays, and you are always welcome to join us during this season. All my love.

After losing someone at Christmas, it is never the same again but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the festive period and celebrate Christmas with friends and family. Connecting during times of grief can actually be incredibly healing for everyone involved.

If you're looking for more ways to support a loved one who's grieving this holiday season, read our guide on how to support a grieving friend.

You or someone you know may also like to attend one of our Christmas events and activities that pay tribute to passed loved ones. View events here.

If you need support and would like to gain some more understanding around grief and supporting someone in grief, view our programs.

The below organisations may be able to provide additional support or resources too.

For additional information, visit our grief resources page.

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