Three Simple Ways to Make the First Thanksgiving Without Your Loved One Special

The holiday season is full of shared meals with family and friends—the most significant one being Thanksgiving. Many families throughout Milwaukee County have meaningful traditions they honor each November, such as cooking favorite dishes or gathering in the living room to watch a football game. When a key person is missing from these celebrations, it can cause intense feelings of sadness and grief for those left behind.

At Krause Funeral Home, we know how challenging the holiday season can be for those who have recently lost someone they love. Here are three simple ways to make the first Thanksgiving without your loved one special.


Embrace a new tradition.
Celebrating the holiday season the way you’ve always done—cooking the same food, playing the same music, decorating the house to look the same—can make your loved one’s absence even more obvious and painful. This year, consider weaving a new tradition into your family’s Thanksgiving festivities. Perhaps you mix a special drink, bake a new flavor of pie, or take fun family photos. You may also decide to take a trip to your loved one’s gravesite after the meal. Honoring them in this way can help you feel connected to their memory.

Share memories around the table.
Your first holiday without a loved one can feel like something you want to pass as quickly as possible. It’s natural to experience some discomfort planning a special night without them. Rather than try to ignore or avoid these feelings, why not have your Thanksgiving dinner guests go around the table and share memories of your loved one? This can help you feel supported and understood in your grief. Oftentimes talking about a loved one who has died in a vulnerable way benefits those who were close to them in life. If you get emotional during this time, have patience and understanding for yourself. Your feelings of loss, especially at this time of year, are completely valid and understandable.

Watch a favorite film.
Watching feel-good movies together is something many families enjoy doing around the holidays. Doing this the first Thanksgiving without your loved one can help ease feelings of sadness. Perhaps you choose to watch your loved one’s favorite film to honor their memory. Pop some popcorn, crawl beneath a cozy blanket, and make an evening of it.


Thanksgiving without a special loved one can be one of the toughest days of your first year without them. To make it easier on you and your loved ones, try one of these simple ways or contact our staff for compassionate grief support. We wish all our neighbors in Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Brookfield a Happy Thanksgiving.