8 Creative, Pandemic-Proof Ideas For Serving Your Families This Holiday Season

The holidays are meant to be one of the most cheerful times of the year.

But for families who have just lost a loved one, this time of the year can be the hardest for them… especially during times of social isolation. Feeling alone during the holidays can be one of the biggest hurdles someone faces during their journey of grief.

So why not help your families get over that hurdle by connecting with them in new ways during the holidays?

We’ve put together a few pandemic-proof ideas that will help your funeral home or cemetery connect with your families and community in a truly unique way this holiday season.

So sit down, grab a glass of eggnog, treat yourself to a couple of sugar cookies and check out these ways to support families during the holiday season!

 

Idea #1: Create an online community by the Christmas Tree

Yorktown Funeral Home has been offering an annual tree lighting ceremony for a decade now, but now they’ve been forced to move the event online. Luckily, this isn’t stopping them from bringing people in their community together. They’re inviting everyone who has used their services since 2011 to come and join them as they bring the holiday cheer online. They’re also offering participants to stop by the funeral home and drop off an ornament dedicated to their loved one so it can be hung on the tree for the virtual event.

Why we love this idea: The Christmas tree is a monumental aspect of the holidays, and using this symbol to gather people together in the only way we can (online), is something to be cherished during these times.

 

Idea #2: Get crafty and send a personalized ornament to families

Every holiday season, Owen Funeral Home brings their community together to craft personalized ornaments for their passed loved ones. Unfortunately with the current paradigm, they cannot offer an in-person craft event. So instead, they’re offering an additional level of service by creating the ornaments for the families themselves on request.

Why we love this idea: In light of circumstances that make this holiday a little more gloomy, we appreciate Owen Funeral Home going above and beyond and crafting personalized ornaments for their families… that is proof of genuine care!

 

Idea #3: Put together a virtual Remembrance event

Pray Funeral Home has been brainstorming ways to best serve their current and past client families this holiday season, given the special times we’re living. Since they’re such a community-based funeral home who hosts regular events, they decided to bring their usual events online. Their Virtual Holiday Candlelight Service of Remembrance will be hosted via Facebook Live. Each participant will be able to pick up a candle, a copy of the program, and a Christmas Ornament with their loved one’s picture on it through a convenient drive through window. 

Why we love this idea: If there’s anything we all need during the holidays, it’s community support. Simply by bringing people together, this virtual tree lighting event is creating a great space for connection for this local community.

 

Idea #4: Host a holiday themed grief dinner party

The idea of hosting an online dinner party for the holidays might not seem exciting, until you realize how much of a thing it already is. When TheDinnerParty.org started hosting virtual grief dinners for people, news traveled fast and now people from over 100 cities around the world are coming together to host virtual grief dinners. Their idea is simple: “The Dinner Party is building a worldwide community of 20- and 30-somethings who have each experienced the loss of a parent, partner, child, sibling, other close family member, or close friend”. 

Their mission is to make it easier to talk about grief, with those who understand… especially during the holidays. Members of this organization can choose to join or host a virtual grief dinner by paying a small member fee. Although this service was created before COVID times, it seems that it’s very needed in today’s world.

Why we love this idea: Sometimes creating a new offering at your funeral home is difficult because of your lack of extra time and space. Thanks to this organization, you can easily become a host of grief dinner parties without creating your own platform or service. We dig that!

 

Idea #5: Organize a virtual workshop for navigating grief through the holidays

Spoles Family Funeral Home is dedicated to aftercare at their funeral home, especially throughout the holidays. That’s why they teamed up with a grief expert to offer a virtual workshop via Zoom called “Navigating the Holidays while Grieving”. In the workshop, participants will get to sort out and speak out their feelings around grief this holiday season, set up a game plan for when these feelings arise, and get some tips for improving the way you feel energetically, physically, emotionally and mentally whenever grief strikes.

Why we love this idea: Finding experts in your area to offer an additional level of support to families is a great way to serve families without piling more stress on to your plate.  We encourage you to collaborate with experts in your community and create an online offering this holiday season.

 

Idea #6: Create an online guide or eBook for families

Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home put together a Holiday Grief Guide for their client families which offers “guidance, peace, and helpful tips to help alleviate stress and grief experienced this year for both adults and children, and  how to make the most of socially distanced holidays and start the new year with positivity and an open heart,” according to their website.

Why we love this idea: A downloadable guide is a great way to offer your families a resource that can be printed out and even shared with others who may need it. 

 

Idea #7: Bring people together in the name of charity

Grandview Cemetery is offering a beautiful service to their community this holiday season by offering an outdoor, socially distant charity event supporting those families in need during the holiday season. Their Candlelight Tribute Charity Event will offer everyone who donates to their local Empty Pantry Fund a candle to light and place on their loved one’s gravesite. This is one of the only in-person events we have seen, and we appreciate their attempt to bring people together in a time of social distancing through music and refreshments.

Why we love this idea: This event offers a two-way level of support, where families can take a moment to honor their loved ones, by lighting a candle which contributes to a charity which supports those who are financially struggling during the holiday season.

 

Idea #8: Offer spiritual support during the holidays online

O’Connor Mortuary has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to finding new and innovative ways to support the emotional needs of their client families. Their blog has been a source of inspiration for their client families for nearly a decade, so we weren’t surprised to find them offering spiritual support to client families. Their Virtual Online Reiki + Meditation Circle combines grief wisdom with meditation and reiki to give participants a full range of support. With Reiki being a non-invasive healing modality easy to transmit virtually, it’s easy to team up with a local healer, yoga teacher or meditation facilitator to offer something similar at your funeral home.

Why we love this idea: This is a very new kind of event for funeral homes to host, so we’re excited to see more funeral homes hopefully following this trend to offer a deeper sense of support to their families.

How are you adapting to the pandemic and supporting your families during the holiday season? Tell us in the comments below!

PS. One of the best tools to have around when creating new holiday offerings for families is Life Tributes All-In-One Personalization Software. Click here to try a 30-day free trial of the funeral professions #1 personalization software today!

Rochelle Rietow

funeralOne

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