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"This year has been a series of new and tough challenges for those of us close and loyal to [Michael], not least of which was steeling ourselves this month to hear 'Last Christmas' and 'December Song' streaming out of shops, cars and radios, as it has done for decades, knowing he's no longer here with us, missing him," the note reads.
But Michael's family encouraged mourners to honor the singer's memory by putting aside their sadness at his loss. "[Michael], who loved Christmas, and always hoped it would snow … would want each of you that admired and loved him … to take a moment, raise a glass, enjoy his music, think of him fondly … and appreciate your family and friends," the singer's family wrote.
They also encouraged Michael's fans not to "hold ... important words and feelings inside." The note asks, "If you can, in his memory this year, take a moment and a deep breath and say those 'I love you's' out loud."
Michael died last Christmas at age 53 of natural causes. The singer was working on a documentary about his life at the time, with the film, Freedom, seeing release in October. In addition, Michael's Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was released the same month. The expanded reissue – which included the original album, B-sides, rarities, and Michael's 1996 MTV Unplugged concert – debuted at Number One on the U.K. albums chart.
This week, Wham's modern holiday classic "Last Christmas" also reached Number Three on the U.K. singles chart.