Surviving the Holidays (2022)

Help the grieving in your community navigate the difficult holiday season, which will be flooded with memories of happier, past celebrations. Offer a special Surviving the Holidays seminar to provide practical holiday coping strategies and hope for brighter days ahead.

Surviving the Holidays is designed for two audiences:

  • Those in your congregation
  • People throughout your community

Order the kit for this holiday season!


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“People are so hungry for it.”

Surviving the Holidays (1)

How it works

Surviving the Holidays is structured as a freestanding, two-hour event designed to be led by a lay team. It’s structured in two distinct parts. First, your group will view a holiday-themed video session, and then your team will lead a group discussion about the material presented on the video. Each seminar participant is provided a special Holiday Survival Guide.

Surviving the Holidays is designed so that anyone grieving the death of a loved one can attend. It’s an outstanding way to minister to people who are hurting within your church and throughout your community.

“Our hope was to have at least 20 people attend the event.
God blessed us with 78 participants at the seminar.”

A strategic outreach

When you promote Surviving the Holidays to your community, it becomes a very effective tool to help that will draw people to your church.

There are two reasons for this:

  • The holidays amplify grief-related pain. That means more people are likely to be seeking help in the weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • It’s easier to commit to a single, stand-alone session than an ongoing class or group.

Best of all, once people are exposed to the helpful material and warm environment, many will want to become part of your church and its ministries!

“Thank you for providing us with the proper tools to have this outreach ministry in our community.”

(Video) Surviving the Holidays

What you get

Surviving the Holidays (2)

Each kit includes

  • Surviving the Holidays video session on DVD
  • Leader’s Guide to equip your lay team
  • 10 Holiday Survival Guides for participants
  • Promotional video and materials
  • Free telephone support

95+ shipping

Order the kit

Additional Survival Guides: $5 each
Additional Leader’s Guides: $10 each

“If you’re on the edge of deciding whether or not to do this, go for it!
Each life there was impacted for the better.”

The experts

A total of 14 leading Christian counselors, authors, and pastors are featured on the Surviving the Holidays video.

Sabrina D. Black

Sabrina D. Black, author and speaker, is the CEO and clinical director of Abundant Life Counseling Center. She is a limited licensed professional counselor, certified addictions counselor, and certified biblical counselor. She experienced the death of multiple close relatives and the miscarriage of her baby.

Dave Branon

Dave Branon is an editor, a contributor to Our Daily Bread, and the author of many devotional articles and books. His book Beyond the Valley details his journey after the death of his 17-year-old daughter Melissa.

Zoricelis Davila

Zoricelis Davila is a bilingual counselor and speaker. She has authored several Spanish books, including ¡No sé lo que me pasa! [I Don’t Know What Is Wrong with Me!]. Her dad died of cancer.

(Video) Surviving The Holidays

Dr. Robert DeVries

Dr. Robert DeVries is professor emeritus of church education at Calvin Theological Seminary. His first wife of 28 years died of cancer. Now remarried to Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, they work together to help people in grief and are coauthors of many books, including The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions and From We to Me.

Dr. Alfonza Fullwood

Dr. Alfonza Fullwood is the senior pastor of Riley Hill Baptist Church in Wendell, North Carolina, and adjunct professor of preaching and speech at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has led preaching clinics and seminars in North Carolina and abroad and has been in ministry for over three decades.

Omar King

Omar King is a counselor at Bridgehaven Counseling in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a Master’s of Divinity with Biblical Counseling degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His mother passed away.

Susan Lutz

Susan Lutz served as a counselor at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in Glenside, Pennsylvania, for over 15 years. She now counsels at her church, New Life Presbyterian Church of Dresher. She authored the booklet Thankfulness: Even When It Hurts. Her parents passed away.

David Bueno Martin

(Video) Surviving the holidays with a narcissist

David Bueno Martin is a bilingual counselor and supervisor at Martin Counseling in Katy, Texas. He also speaks at workshops and seminars. David experienced the loss of a child.

Dr. Ramon Presson

Dr. Ramon Presson is a certified marriage and family therapist and the founder of LifeChange Counseling and the Marriage Center of Franklin, Tennessee. He has written several books, including When Will My Life Not Suck?

Lois Rabey

Lois Rabey is a speaker and writer. She has authored several books, including When Your Soul Aches and Moments for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One. Lois lost her husband in a hot-air balloon ride accident.

Dr. Paul David Tripp

Dr. Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and has authored many books, including Forever and A Shelter in the Time of Storm. Dr. Tripp experienced the death of his father.

James White

James White is the pastor at Christ Our King Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He currently serves as the executive vice president of organizational relations for the YMCA of the Triangle and as a board member for Carver Bible College. James experienced the loss of his parents.

H. Norman Wright

H. Norman Wright is a grief therapist and certified trauma specialist. He is the author of over 70 books, including Experiencing Grief and Recovering from Losses in Life. He experienced the death of his wife and son.

Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge

Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge is a licensed clinical psychologist. Her first husband died 18 years after he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Now remarried to Dr. Robert DeVries, they work together to help people in grief and are coauthors of many books, including Getting to the Other Side of Grief and Traveling through Grief.

(Video) Surviving the Holidays: 6 Tips


Do we have to offer the full GriefShare weekly support group program* to use this material?

Consider offering TWO seminars. Schedule one in the weeks before Thanksgiving and the other between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you decide to offer a single seminar, schedule it before Thanksgiving.

* Find out more about the full GriefShare weekly support group program.

When should we offer our seminar?

Consider offering TWO seminars. Schedule one in the weeks before Thanksgiving and the other between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you decide to offer a single seminar, schedule it before Thanksgiving.

What day of the week is best?

As a special event, you are not limited to your standard weekly meeting schedule. Groups have offered very successful seminars on Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons, and weeknights.

What topics are covered?

The video seminar is loaded with practical, hope-inspiring ideas, including:

  • Why the holidays are so difficult
  • How to plan for the season
  • How to deal with holiday invitations
  • Surviving “alone time”
  • Dealing with emotional ambushes
  • Managing strong emotions
  • Creating new traditions while honoring your loved one’s legacy

Are the videos subtitled?

Yes. The DVDs have a menu option that allows you to activate English subtitles.

(Video) What is GriefShare Surviving the Holidays


How do you survive the holiday after a loss? ›

64 Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holiday
  1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different and hard.
  2. Decide which traditions you want to keep.
  3. Decide which traditions you want to change.
  4. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
  5. Decide where you want to spend the holidays.

How do I survive a Christmas holiday? ›

Top 10 Tips For Surviving Christmas
  1. Plan ahead. ...
  2. Don't embarrass yourself at the work Christmas party. ...
  3. Don't over-inflate your expectations. ...
  4. Don't try and do everything. ...
  5. Everything in moderation. ...
  6. Rehydrate. ...
  7. Get active the morning after. ...
  8. Sleep.

How do I survive the holiday without family? ›

How to Survive (and Thrive) During the Holidays When You Feel...
  1. Seek family and friends. When we're feeling lonely, often the best comfort is the presence of loved ones. ...
  2. Forgive. ...
  3. Open yourself to meeting new people. ...
  4. Volunteer. ...
  5. Exercise. ...
  6. Pamper yourself. ...
  7. Give. ...
  8. Avoid excessive alcohol.

Why does Christmas make me sad? ›

And while holidays are a time of joy, people sometimes have unrealistic expectations for how special something is going to be. This can lead to feelings of let-down later if those aren't met. Similarly, people may be more likely to compare themselves to others during this time of year.

Is grief worse at Christmas? ›

Whether it's your first Christmas without someone, or you lost them many years ago, you might find that your grief is more intense throughout the holiday season.

How do you say Merry Christmas after a death? ›

May God bless your family during this Christmas season. With much love and prayers for peace and comfort. May the promise of Christmas fill your hearts with comfort and peace. Christmas marks the Holy birth of hope and the promise of life everlasting.

Why is Christmas so stressful? ›

Some people can feel overwhelmed by the excess, expectations, and exchange and become depressed during the holidays. A lack of time and money, credit card debt, and the pressure of gift giving can often contribute to stress during the holiday season.

How do I get good Christmas with no money? ›

  1. Decorate the House For Free.
  2. Play Free Christmas Music.
  3. Watch Christmas movies.
  4. Do Something Christmassy Everyday.
  5. Downsize your giving.
  6. Enlist the help of grandparents.
  7. Shop your house.
  8. Make coupons.
Nov 28, 2018

How do you survive the holiday stress? ›

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression
  1. Acknowledge your feelings. ...
  2. Reach out. ...
  3. Be realistic. ...
  4. Set aside differences. ...
  5. Stick to a budget. ...
  6. Plan ahead. ...
  7. Learn to say no. ...
  8. Don't abandon healthy habits.

How can I stop feeling lonely on holidays? ›

Dealing With Loneliness During the Holiday Season
  1. Be Good to Yourself.
  2. Understand You're Not Alone.
  3. Rethink Your Expectations.
  4. Get Connected.
  5. Cultivate Gratitude.
  6. Give to Others.
  7. Examine Your Feelings.
Dec 9, 2020

How do dysfunctional families get through the holidays? ›

How to Survive the Dysfunction During the Holidays
  1. Set realistic expectations. You've heard about setting SMART goals, right? ...
  2. Focus on gratitude. Identify one positive thing or a reason to be thankful for each member of your family. ...
  3. Differentiate yourself. ...
  4. Plan ahead. ...
  5. Reflect. ...
  6. Find a way to laugh. ...
  7. Watch a movie.

How do I deal with not seeing my family? ›

How To Cope With Not Being Able To See Your Parents For A Long...
  1. Stay Connected Virtually.
  2. Look Through Photos Of Times You Were Together.
  3. Focus On What You Can Control.
  4. Remember That It's Temporary.
  5. Take Stock Of Your Emotions.
  6. Share Those Feelings With Your Parents.
  7. Take It One Day At A Time.
  8. Reach Out To Others.
May 15, 2020

Is it normal to hate holidays? ›

Many people love holiday time, but there are also many people hate them. If you're in the latter group, you may be tempted to spend the day holed up at home, bingeing Netflix or playing video games.

Why am I not excited about Christmas? ›

'Our brain does not assess how happy we are but the difference between how happy we expected to be and how happy we actually are,' she explains. By over-anticipating Christmas, we raise our expectations of happiness and therefore feel less happy than we expected.

How does holiday affect mental health? ›

According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. The reasons given: lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings.

Do you send a Christmas card to someone who has lost a loved one? ›

Should you send a Christmas card to someone suffering a loss this year? Absolutely! In fact, sending a Christmas card is a great way to help lift the spirit of someone who has suffered any type of loss this year. Your card lets the person know you haven't forgotten which shows you care about them and their loss.

What do you write in a sympathy card for the holidays? ›

From a friend:
  1. Wishing you peace and comfort during this difficult time.
  2. Please know you are in our thoughts, and in our hearts.
  3. Words fail to express my sorrow for your loss. ...
  4. My heart goes out to you and your family.
  5. The joy _____ brought to our lives will not be forgotten.
Jul 19, 2022

What do you write in a Christmas card at a difficult time? ›

Wishing you peace and hope at Christmas and a new year full of better days.” “I hope the holidays are extra gentle and sweet to you and give you lots of reasons to smile and lots of time to rest.” “Hoping that the new year brings you new possibilities.” “It's hard when Christmas comes during a difficult time.

How do you survive the holiday stress? ›

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression
  1. Acknowledge your feelings. ...
  2. Reach out. ...
  3. Be realistic. ...
  4. Set aside differences. ...
  5. Stick to a budget. ...
  6. Plan ahead. ...
  7. Learn to say no. ...
  8. Don't abandon healthy habits.

How can I enjoy the holidays? ›

Make a plan as early as possible about what you will do during the holidays. Try to plan at least one activity that is important to you for each holiday that you celebrate. Feel free to initiate activities with family and friends. Consider volunteer activities.

What Causes Holiday Stress? ›

Finding the time to attend every party, or feeling like you haven't been invited to enough parties can cause stress. When you add the financial burden, travel, and visiting family members, stress can start to pile up. There's also a desire to cram in every tradition and event to make sure each day is memorable.

How do I survive a family holiday? ›

10 Secrets for Surviving a Family Vacation
  1. Make time for your own kind of fun. ...
  2. Leave plenty of time to get where you need to be. ...
  3. Document happy memories. ...
  4. Recognize your children's limits... and your own. ...
  5. Take time to exercise. ...
  6. Tackle one irksome task on vacation. ...
  7. Allow yourself to overpack (when possible).
Jun 7, 2011


1. Surviving the Holidays
(Incredible Life)
2. Surviving The Holidays | Jonathan "JP" Pokluda
(The Porch)
3. Surviving the Holidays when you are grieving (Long Version)
4. Conversation Tips for Surviving the Holidays | Angie McArthur
(Big Think)
5. Surviving the holidays
(Rebecca Black)
6. Surviving 24 HOURS in a GIANT Holiday Movie - Rebecca Zamolo
(Rebecca Zamolo)

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