pexels-photoThe holidays! It’s already that time of year. The days are getting shorter, fall wardrobes are back in style, pumpkin spice lattes are here again, and stores are filling up fast with holiday décor.

Aside from the commercialism, the holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends and to reflect on all we are fortunate to have in this life.

While the holidays are the most joyous days of the year, they can also be the most painful, especially for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Funeral directors understand this best.

We’ve compiled a list of ways funeral directors can bring life to their communities during the holiday season, and we’re highlighting a few OGR member firms who are doing it well. Remember, it’s never too early to start planning.

Ideas for how Funeral Directors can Provide a Helping Hand during the Holidays
  • Partner with a local charity. Collect items like canned goods and clothing for needy families during November and December or participate in a stocking drive for soldiers like OGR Member Owens Livingston Mortuaries. This allows you and your community to  partner together for a charitable endeavor.

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  • Go on a community outing. Everyone enjoys making new friends and getting out for a bit of fresh air. Gather folks together for a beautiful fall morning or afternoon of light exercise and fun. As an example, OGR member Wieting Family Funeral Home holds a Thanksgiving Walk in their community each year.


  • Show your staff how thankful you are for them. Write down something each of your staff members does throughout the year and why you are thankful to have them as employees. Remind them of how valuable they are to you and your business. Hold a special staff meeting to share your thoughts. Click here for more ideas on staff recognition.


  • Hold a remembrance service. Invite the families of those who have passed away this year to attend the service. Have families light a candle as their loved one’s name is read, decorate a Christmas tree with remembrance ornaments, or release a flock of doves to honor their memories.


  • Write Christmas cards and create care packages. Help honor your community’s local heroes and veterans and show them how much you appreciate their sacrifices by sending a card or care package.



  • Serve a holiday dinner to those in need. Not everyone is fortunate enough to serve their families a big holiday meal, but you can deliver! If you live in a state or province where serving food is permitted at the funeral home, why not serve a holiday meal at your facility for those who’ve lost a spouse or parent? You could also partner with a local organization that is providing food for the homeless or those less fortunate.

What does your funeral home do each year to make a difference during the holiday season? Share your stories with us below.

By Diane Durbin
OGR Membership Manager

Are you looking for ways to help bereaved families plan ahead and get through the holiday season? You might be interested in OGR’s exclusive printed materials. As we approach the holidays, be sure to provide your families with these useful tools:

  • Coping with the Holidays brochure gives straight-forward, practical suggestions for dealing with the holiday season.
  • How to Explain Death to a Child booklet provides guidance to parents and caregivers on how to talk to a child about a death.

If you would like to request a sample, please contact OGR Member Concierge & Personal Shopper Maureen Hayes at