As someone in the funeral business, you already know the value of celebrating the more widely known memorial holidays, such as Memorial Day or Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), with your client families and community members. There are many simple ways you can draw in your local community during these times. However, you may often be overlooking the value and importance of providing the chance to remember loved ones on non-memorial specific holidays and milestones throughout the year.
Many of your client families are experiencing holiday “firsts” without their loved ones and are looking for support and guidance on how to establish new meaningful traditions for themselves and their families. Here’s a list of commonly celebrated holidays and ideas for how to provide opportunities for your families to remember and recognize the lives of their loved ones throughout the year.
(Fourth Thursday in November)
November is commonly known as the kick-off to the season of giving thanks. Something not typically considered is giving thanks for the lives of loved ones who’ve passed. In early November, send out blank thank you cards to client families with the instructive to write a thank you note or letter to their loved ones who have passed. Articulating feelings helps facilitate healing and growth through the grief process, while serving as a good reminder of all the positivity their loved ones brought to their lives.
Christmastime is typically a joyous time filled with family gatherings and celebrations. Many families face the holiday season grieving a loved one, which can be very difficult. There are many meaningful ways to celebrate this holiday while providing a space for remembrance. A simple way to reconnect would be to send a holiday card to your client families with a short, personalized note letting them know you’re thinking of them. Host a holiday memorial service, tree lighting or candlelight vigil, which provides a meaningful way to support these families and provide them with the outlet to share memories of their loved ones. Sponsor a family in need during the holiday season and invite families to help donate gifts, food or monetary donations in honor of their loved ones.
Valentine’s Day is well known as a celebration of love, but it can be particularly hard for those who’ve lost their spouse or partner. Provide blank Valentine’s Day cards for clients to write down messages to their loved ones. Writing is therapeutic in nature and is a beautiful way to recognize and release emotions on a day centered around love. Host a candle lighting service for clients to light a candle and share a moment of silence in honor of their loved ones.
(Second Sunday of May)
Mother’s Day is particularly hard for those who have recently experienced the loss of their mother. For families with young children, consider hosting a Mother’s Day “tea party” and invite children to bring a special woman in their lives with them – an aunt, cousin, grandmother, teacher or even an older sibling. Offer refreshments, light snacks and a flower or small memento for each child to give to their special guests and invite them to share stories about their mother and what they loved and miss most about her. Invite partners who are raising children without their spouses to a family brunch celebration where guests can share memories of their moms on this special day.
(Third Sunday in June)
Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is a difficult day for those who have lost their father. If you have social media presence, consider inviting your followers to share photos and their favorite stories about their dads. Since June typically brings warm weather, heat up the grill and host a backyard BBQ, inviting client families to bring a side dish and their appetites. Ask guests to share their favorite memories of their dads and kick it off with a prayer for and consider incorporating a fun lawn game or two.
Independence Day is typically celebrated in communities across the country with local parades, picnics, fireworks and festivities, but for grieving families it can be hard to join in the festivities and participate in their usual traditions. Host a Fourth of July luncheon for families to create a new tradition and enjoy a meal together while sharing memories about their loved ones. To put a festive Independence Day spin on the traditional candle lighting ceremony, host a special evening sparkler lighting ceremony to send sparks to Heaven and help client families remember the spark that their loved ones brought to their lives.
However you choose to help promote healing with families, memorial events and community outreach are important and necessary ways to stay connected to your community and provide unique and meaningful aftercare experiences for your clients. A strong aftercare program is a natural extension of the support and services you provide to families and is an inexpensive investment to generate new business, recommendations and referrals for your firm.
Do you currently offer any activities or events surrounding these holidays for your client families?