The holiday season brings joy for many but for people who have lost a loved one, the holiday season can bring a feeling of emptiness.

"The expectation of a holiday filled with warmth, peace and joy may be unrealistic for many who have lost a loved one, especially within the past year," Penelope Buschman, director of the psychiatric nurse practitioner program at Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City, told HealthDay.

Buschman added that people can lessen the sadness felt during the holiday season by creating new tradition and reaching out to people through group activities or sharing meals together.

Helen W. Harris, senior lecturer at Baylor University's School of Social Work, researches grief and loss. Five years ago, Harris experienced grief first-hand immediately after Thanksgiving dinner. It was this event that changed her perspective on grief, she says.

Harris uses recommendations from James E. Miller's book - How Will I Get Through the Holidays? The book is aimed at helping people deal with the first holiday after losing a loved one. Harris says that expressing emotions, planning ahead, harboring hope and being gentle with oneself and towards others may help people deal with grief.