8 Ways to Connect With Families During The Upcoming Holidays

The holidays are one of the most cheerful times of the year, aren’t they?

But for families who have just lost a loved one, this time of the year can be the hardest for them. Facing the holidays without a loved one 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 during the holidays?

We’ve put together a few creative 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!


1. Send them a personalized card

Nothing shows families that you’re still there for them during the months (or even years) after the service more than this simple gesture. Send your families a card that lets them know you’re thinking of them during the holidays. Include a personalized message so they know they’re not getting something that’s a one-size-fits-all.

2. Or help them send a card to someone in need

Miller-Reesman Funeral Home decided to do something for the public good this holiday season. During the month of December, they asked members of their community to stop by their funeral home and make a handmade Christmas card for a veteran overseas. When someone would drop off the card, Miller-Reesman sent it to the veterans, and even forwarded along any replies they got from the grateful veterans. While it isn’t necessarily related to your services, doing something for the public good is a great way to connect with your local community and let them know that you’re here for them beyond just offering a great funeral service.


3. Create a “Christmas Tree of Remembrance”

Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home & Crematory found a creative way to help their families honor their loved ones during the holiday season. They put a large Christmas tree on display in their funeral home and asked people in their community to create an ornament in honor of their loved one. Helping families pay tribute to their loved ones in a creative way is one of the best things you can do for them, because it encourages them to get together as a family and think about the loved one’s life. Once the Christmas tree is complete, organize a small gathering like the one in this next tip…


4. Host a holiday remembrance service

The folks over at Hoffman Funeral Home have been putting on a holiday remembrance service for their community for years. The event features a candlelight vigil, music, and a service held by a local minister. A remembrance service is great because it helps families talk and connect with others who are grieving. Plus, it positions your firm as the one who helped them face their grief during one of the hardest times of the year. Get creative and try adding different things to your program every year. Also… don’t forget delicious holiday refreshments!


5. Pay it forward in your community

Last year, the funeralOne team visited a coffee shop in our community, set up a hidden camera, and “paid it forward” by paying for one person’s cup of coffee. The results were unbelievable… nearly two dozen paid it forward by paying for someone else’s coffee. We recorded the whole thing, uploaded it on Youtube, and it went viral throughout our community. You’ll be surprised by how one small act of kindness can make such a difference. The best part? It only cost us $4 to show our community that we want to make a difference. Don’t forget to notify your local media outlets about it; write an article or send them a video and you never know, they could cover it in your local newspaper!

Check out funeralOne’s Pay It Forward video below for inspiration:


6. Surprise families with homemade baked goods

While you (or your spouse) are slaving away in the kitchen this year baking dozens of holiday cookies, why not double (or quadruple) the recipe and send some homemade baked goods to your families? I once had a hairdresser send me homemade cookies for my birthday and to this day, I still think it’s the most thoughtful thing anyone’s done for me. Try sending every family you serve this month baked goods in honor of the holidays and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how grateful they’ll be!


7. Hold a Holiday-themed memorial service

Okay so this one might be a little over-the-top, but what better way to celebrate the holidays than to incorporate into your services? Golden Gate Funeral Home, famously recognized in the TLC show Best Funeral Ever, tested out the idea and oddly enough, it was a success. You don’t necessarily need to dress up like gingerbread men like they did, but you can add a little holiday cheer into the smaller elements of your services. You could create holiday themed prayer cards, offer baked cookies as refreshments at the service, or even have funeral guests create their own Christmas Tree (or menorah) of Remembrance (mentioned above).

8. Offer a grief support group during the holidays

Let’s admit it, there’s nothing worse than feeling alone during the holiday season. So why not help your families feel like they’re not alone by offering a grief support group for those grieving during this holiday season? Try hosting several workshops where people come together to talk about their loved one, eat good food, create holiday-themed arts and crafts, or even exchange presents, secret Santa style! Just remember, it’s all about helping families feel like they’re not alone, so keep that in mind when deciding what types of activities you want to offer at your support group.

Whether you decide to do something as small as putting a Christmas tree up at your funeral home, or something as big as donating money to a local charity, it’s about connecting with families during the holiday season. Not only will you build better relationships with past, present and future families, but you’ll show your community that you’re there to help them make their lives better… especially during the most cheerful time of the year!

What other ways has your funeral home connected with families during the holidays? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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