How to plan a memorial service during the holidays

Make your loved one’s last holiday celebration special with these memorial service ideas

The holiday season is filled with memories of time spent with loved ones, so it can be a very fitting time to honor someone you’ve lost during the year. Because of COVID-19 regulations and the rising number of cremations, there may be even more need to plan a memorial service during the holidays this year.

Planning a memorial service during the holidays

Many of the steps for planning a memorial service are similar to planning a funeral, but a memorial service is held after the deceased has been cremated or buried. It can allow more time to personalize the service.

Choose your style and venue

The style of your memorial service can be as formal as a traditional funeral or as laid back as a celebration of life, depending on the personality of your loved one. Would they have liked everyone dressed up to the nines or to participate in a casual, fun theme, like ugly holiday sweaters?
Once you decide how your loved one would like to be celebrated, you can choose where the memorial service should be held. While holding the service at a funeral home is often the simplest option, you can also consider locations that were symbolic or important to the deceased during the holidays. Because memorial services don’t need to happen right after the loved one has passed, you can reserve the venue whenever is most convenient. But keep in mind, booking a hall or community center may be more difficult during the time of festive family gatherings.
If you’re planning a memorial service during COVID-19, you’ll want to book a place large enough to social distance, depending on the number of mourners, or that has Wi-Fi and equipment to live stream the service.

Plan the service

After you know where the event will be, you can invite guests and start planning what will happen during the memorial service. You can make aspects as seasonal as you think your loved one would have liked. Family members or friends can participate in the service with holiday music, readings, or personal reflections. If the deceased enjoyed a certain holiday tradition, consider incorporating it in the service. Consider whether they would have liked traditional flowers or poinsettias displayed.

Make it personal

If you’d like to add an extra personal touch to honor your loved one, you could try one of these holiday-themed ideas:

  • Exhibit a small Christmas tree and use pictures of the deceased to handcraft ornaments or provide paper ornaments for guests to write memories on.
  • Display your loved one’s menorah.
  • Create a shadow box full of pictures of your loved one celebrating Kwanzaa over the years.
  • Read your loved one’s favorite holiday book.
  • Direct donations to the charity your loved one always gave to during the holiday season.

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How to preplan a memorial service for yourself

If you want to bypass a traditional funeral for yourself, you can preplan a memorial service. Preplanning and prepaying with a Preneed Funeral insurance plan allows you to specify your exact wishes and takes the pressure off your loved ones when you pass. They won’t be questioning what you would’ve wanted and worrying how they’re going to pay your final expenses.

The story of your life: Don’t wait another day to tell it

With Preneed insurance, you attend a preplanning appointment with a funeral home partner to select and price all the elements for your memorial service. The Preneed plan typically holds the funeral expenses at present-day costs, regardless of inflation by the time of death, and the total can be paid up front in one payment or in installments over time. When you pass, it is paid to the funeral home to cover your memorial service expenses.

Find a Preneed funeral home partner in your state

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Photo credit: iStock

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