The Holidays are such a joyful time. It’s the time of year when people just seem happier, are in a more giving mood, and are dreaming of honey baked ham and pumpkin pie. However, the holidays are not joyful for everyone. For many, it is a painful reminder that the ones they love are no longer here to celebrate with them and to enjoy the festivities of the season.
After losing a loved one, families are on a journey of grief that never ends but changes with time. They enter on a new path of healing to redefine their sense of normal and to find happiness in a new and meaningful way. Throughout this journey, they often face days more challenging than the others, and the Holidays are no exception.
Funeral homes are an important resource for families in helping them navigate their grief journey and can be an especially vital resource during this time of year. So while many people are out hitting the doorbuster sales and chopping down their Christmas trees, consider taking part in one, a few, or all of the below ideas so you can help brighten the spirits of those grieving a loss.
1. Send out a Holiday card to all the families you served this year.
This is a simple task that can make a huge impact. By letting families know that you are thinking of them during this especially difficult time in their lives, you can make them feel a little less alone. It’s a heartfelt gesture that families will truly appreciate.
Pick out a card appropriate for the Holidays and craft a message of hope and well wishes to send to families. Or, if the final month of the year finds you short on extra time, consider participating in a customized and automated program that will do the work for you. (Click here to learn how our SoftTouch program can deliver heartfelt cards to the families you serve.)
2. Host a Holiday Remembrance Service.
Many funeral homes across the country host Holiday Remembrance Services for families who have lost a loved one. If you aren’t hosting one already, consider inviting the community to your funeral home for such an event.
A candlelight vigil accompanied by uplifting music and inspiring readings can be a great way for families to come together to find comfort during the Holidays. For example, Glueckert Funeral Home in Arlington heights, IL is hosting a Holiday Remembrance Service on December 5. In addition to memorial readings, music, and the lighting of candles, they will be providing attendees with complimentary snowflake photo ornaments of their loved ones, along with a glass luminary.
A service like this during the Holiday season can be just what families need to find comfort and to feel like they are not alone.
3. Donate a wreath to a National Veterans Cemetery.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wreaths on the graves of veterans in December at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as National Veterans Cemeteries throughout the country. This year, the wreaths will be laid upon the graves on December 12; however, the organization has announced that they are short thousands of wreaths this year and are asking for more donations.
You and/or your funeral home can donate a wreath, or several, to Arlington or to a specific veterans cemetery of your choosing. An individual wreath costs $15 with donation levels set at various amounts up to a corporate sponsorship of $1500, which provides 100 wreaths plus 100 notecards to send to families of veterans, if you wish. You may also choose to select your own personal gift amount.
Donating a wreath takes no time at all but will put a smile on the faces of families who go to visit their loved ones over the Holidays and see a beautiful wreath placed at their grave.
4. Provide coping tips on your website and social media networks.
Many people grieving a loss will look to the Internet for tips on how to cope with their grief during the Holiday season. This is an important time for your funeral home to provide grief resources to families looking for help. A blog post on your website and links to pertinent articles on your social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, can be extremely helpful for families, especially during the Holidays when they may need it most.
In the digital age, it is important to provide families with a variety of ways to find the information they need. Moreover, growing numbers of Baby Boomers and older are adopting social media in their lives.
The Holidays are a wonderful time of year for a host of reasons. But while we are all celebrating the season with family and friends, it is important to remember those who are struggling to get through. Let’s help make their spirits bright.