Durbin HOliday FINALIt’s just about that time of year. The weather has cooled. Coats, sweaters, and scarves are out. Hot chocolate is on the stove. ‘Tis the season to be jolly… the holidays are right around the corner!

Hosting a holiday event, either at your funeral home or off-site, is a great way to bring members of your community together. We have put together a few family-oriented event ideas to help you stay involved in your community this holiday season. 

House #5 Holiday Lights, flying pig lights 2010

Holiday Lights: Who doesn’t enjoy lights? Create a short trail of lights on the grounds of your funeral home or offsite. Play Christmas and holiday music. Serve hot chocolate and eggnog to your guests. You could even bring in fake snow if there’s none in the forecast. Create a winter wonderland, and your neighborhood will thank you for it.

Holiday Dinner and Movie Showing: Serve a warm and tasty holiday meal to community members and leaders. Have everyone stick around afterwards for a special movie showing. There are lots of classics to choose from: Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Nativity Story, A Christmas CarolIt’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and many more.

Honor Local Heroes and Veterans: Show your local heroes how much you appreciate them and the sacrifices they and their families make for our country. Bring community members together to write Christmas cards and create care packages. Do you know of a soldier from your community who is coming home this holiday season? Arrange a surprise homecoming event for their family. For more ideas, check out ways funeral homes are honoring veterans.

Remembrance Service: Honor those in your community who passed away this year by inviting their families to attend the service. Here are a few ideas for a remembrance service:
– Have families light a candle for each of the deceased as their name is read;
– As a special addition, you can have a grief counselor available to comfort families as needed;
Release a dove to honor the memories of those who were lost;
– Have a Christmas tree decorated with remembrance ornaments. Each ornament has the name of an individual your firm held a funeral for that year. At the end of the service, families can take their loved one’s ornament.

Stuck in Customs / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Christmas Karaoke Contest: Host a holiday singing contest for the kids. Give away gifts and prizes.

Make Gingerbread Houses: Provide all the ingredients and space necessary for making gingerbread houses and host an event for the children. What better way for kids to put their creative minds to use during the holiday season?

Put On a Free Community Play: This is a fun and easy way to share a powerful and uplifting message. You can find a list of free Christmas skits here.


Does your funeral home host an annual holiday event? We would love to hear about it! Share your ideas in the comments section below.


By Diane Durbin
OGR Membership Coordinator

The holidays can be a very difficult time for families experiencing grief. OGR’s Coping With the Holidays brochure is an insightful tool that offers practical suggestions for dealing with grief during the holiday season. For more information on this brochure or if you would like to request a sample, please contact OGR Member Concierge Maureen Hayes at mhayes@ogr.org.