Jr. League Park Lane HouseTraditional Kitchen, San Francisco
Photo: Janet Paik © 2012 Houzz
What Houzz contributors are saying:
2. Continue traditions to honor and remember. Kelly Hughes’ mother loved Christmas, so the two holidays since her mother died have been hard. “This season, the ache is less intense though still present,” my friend says. “We did and will do our usual traditions, but we now do more cooking together, as we used to do at her house — all of us in the kitchen together. We cook and bake her recipes [I compiled a little book], and also things she always wanted to try making, which, if they turn out well, become family traditions.”Note: I would treasure the cookbook Kelly made but would probably never get around to making it myself. If you’re like me, don’t worry about it. The most important thing is honoring your loved one’s memory and spending time together.3. Try a change of scene. Perhaps the thought of being in your familiar setting without all the familiar, and beloved, faces is impossible. This was the case for the family of another friend, Jane Lovett, during the first Christmas without their grandmother. “We deliberately ran away and did something entirely different. We spent Christmas on Hilton Head instead of trying to muddle through the usual traditions,” she says. “That one deviation made the following years getting back to normal traditions easier.” Maybe not everyone wants to or is able to get away. The mother of my friend Amy Nemecek died the summer Amy turned 19. “I dreaded the holidays that year because I missed her so badly,” she says. “My dad and brothers chipped in and bought a plane ticket for me that Christmas and sent me out to New Jersey to spend a week with my mom’s brother and extended family. Mom and I had made that trip together so many times over the years, and it made me feel close to her.”Note: Even small changes can help. Our first Christmas without my dad, dear friends invited my entire family over for Christmas Eve with their extended family. They understood loss, and it was a comfort to be with them.4. Take time to reminisce. Regardless of where you spend the holidays, make a point to talk about your loved one as a specific part of your activities. A few years ago, Heidi Bengelink’s dad died on the Monday before Thanksgiving, after a two-month battle with cancer. “It’s probably the Thanksgiving I have the most memories from and, yes, they are good memories. We were all together, with the burial behind us, able to tell stories and memories of Dad,” my friend says. “We cried, we laughed and we remembered … and despite the situation, we had lots to give thanks for.”
There’s no need to put away the decorations quite yet, but do tidy them up — with the excitement of Christmas morning, your decor may have taken a beating (especially if any young children were present). Straighten the tree skirt, toss the crumpled gift wrap in the recycling bin and hide evidence of excessive cookie consumption by moving the empty tins to the pantry.
The kitchen features a painted checkerboard floor to match the foyer floor and subtle Christmas accents to keep the space fun and lighthearted.