A wreath hanging on a blue door


Written by Matt Frazer


Holiday remembrance programs are special events to remember and honor a loved one. Funeral professionals usually host this type of program at their funeral home and may give a personalized keepsake ornament to their client families as a unique memorial gift.


A holiday remembrance program is an event that is normally held during the months of November or December in which the bereaved gather together to reflect on the memory of their loved ones. Funeral professionals often hold these programs for the families they have served throughout the year. During the program, the funeral director will usually present their client family with a personalized ornament or another personalized keepsake.


For many, the holidays are a most joyous time of year; however, for the bereaved, the holiday season is one of the most challenging times of the year. Without a loved one’s presence, the bereaved are reminded again and again that their lives have changed forever. As the holidays approach, families gather together in celebration and the bereaved are faced with feelings of loneliness and perhaps are even feeling disconnected from others.


Because this time of year is such an intense reminder of a love that has been lost, a holiday remembrance program can be a way to help the bereaved understand that heartaches will appear as they ready themselves for the holidays. Certain things like unpacking ornaments and putting up a tree may cause the bereaved to feel deep grief and loss.


Attendees of a holiday remembrance program find comfort in not only the chance to reflect on the memories of their loved one, but find strength in being with others who have experienced loss and are coping with grief as well. It is a chance to share their feelings about loss, tell stories about their loved one and discuss their life in current times. Because of this, these events offer great comfort and healing to the bereaved.


Setting up a Holiday Remembrance Event

The format of a holiday remembrance program can be as simple or as elaborate as desired. Most programs last about an hour. Usually, all families served by the funeral professional during the current year and possibly prior years are invited.


At the commencement of the program, often the funeral director will make some opening remarks welcoming the families to the event and offer a few words of comfort. As soft holiday music is played, other speakers may read special passages or share a memory of a loved one who has passed. A DVD Tribute Video may be played during the program as well. At the conclusion of the event, each family is presented with a special personalized ornament, usually at no charge. Afterward, there may be coffee and other light refreshments served to give the families a chance to mingle and connect with each other.


Preparing for the event, the funeral professional can easily and quickly personalize the remembrance ornaments in-house with the name and dates of the deceased or any other text that is desired. There are several styles of etched crystal and hand-blown glass ornaments tipped with 22k gold that can be created using only a funeral software template, adhesive decals, and a standard printer. This type of ornament comes in individual gift boxes for presentation to the families and for safekeeping.


Each year following the holiday remembrance program, families will have their ornament to include on their tree in their home. As they unwrap their remembrance ornament, they will remember their loved one and the healing place their funeral professional had in their lives as well.


For more help planning your holiday remembrance program, download our free guide