I grew up in a culture that did this sort of thing to some extent…. very Victorian like.
If someone died, there was supposed to be no celebrations etc for at least a year.
In my own family we had two BIG Deaths within a relatively short period of time.
The first one was exceedingly tragic… and we upheld the 1 year rule. Christmas in the traditional sense did not happen that year. My family went away to a resort in a far off land to “escape” all the memories. There was no tree. And no gifts exchanged. Christmas Day was pretty much like any other day.
New Years Eve the Resort had a Celebration. We went for the Dinner portion, and as I was a young person in my late teens, my Parents let me stay on for about an hour or so… but I was most definitely back in our Hotel Condo BEFORE the stroke of midnight / fireworks etc.
The second death happened shortly after our grieving period ended for the first one. In this case it was my Grandmother… who had lived a good long life.
We didn’t celebrate Christmas that year, and it was worse, cause it was spent at home not away.
As I was Engaged at the time… and we’d already been in a period of mourning for a year, it was agreed that my Wedding could go ahead at the 11th month mark of that mourning.
Christmas fell after that, so there was Christmas that year. Two years without Christmas was tough.
Mourning the loss of a loved one with or without Christmas is tough if you ask me.
I remember very clearly that First Christmas after these two deaths… the Candle Light Service Christmas Eve and I was an absolute bawling mess in church. I’ve always found Christmas to be sentimental / special… and to have wiithout being surrounded by ones you love (knowing you cannot go back in time) hurts. Hurts bad.
So, I always feel sad when I hear of major tragedies in the Fall timeframe (September to December)… as I know how hard it can truly be face that First Christmas without a loved one.
I realize that the culture I grew up in isn’t all that common anymore… but I also understand the thinking behind it. Sometimes it truly is easier to “pretend the day doesn’t exist” than it is to put on a happy face and try to get thru it… especially so if the loss is very recent.
Hope this helps,