When you are planning a funeral, you have to consider the guest, and more importantly the children. Sitting through a long sermon and a eulogy is how most traditional funerals are conducted, but they are becoming a thing of the past. The growing trend in the United States is having funerals that engage the guest and children. While traditions are still a big part of the funeral, more attention is being placed on the personalization of the funeral, and the inclusion of surrounding family and friends.
If you are responsible for arranging the funeral service, or if you are a guest, here are some fun and creative ways to pay tribute to a loved one.
Create a Scrapbook
Scrapbooking the memories of a loved is not only a fun way to keep their memory alive, it is also something you can show to other family and friends at the funeral service, and long after the funeral. People love pictures and beautiful imagery. A scrapbook puts these moments in that person’s life together in a unique way. They are a fun way to showcase the life of someone to family and friends who may not have gotten the chance to meet the deceased person. It's like taking a glimpse into their life through a collection of pictures taken throughout their life.
I personally loved when my family created a memory book of my Grandfather who passed away when I was very young. Later on I was able to look through the memory book and it was really like a gateway into his life. Seeing pictures of special moments throughout his incredible life made me feel closer to him and I am very thankful for that.
Create Custom Christmas Ornaments
Having custom made Christmas ornaments that have a personal picture on them are a great gift idea for funeral guest so that they will have a warm remembrance of the deceased every Christmas. I will always remember the Christmas ornament shaped like a cat that had my great grandma on it. Every time we decorated the tree with ornaments, we would see the ornament and everybody would start talking about her, and memories they shared. Creating handmade ornaments at the funeral actively gets children participating in the funeral, and the supplies to create the ornaments are not expensive. Their are plenty of DIY guides online for this type of craft as well!
Create a Memory Board
Memory boards are a very popular way to add a personal flair to funerals and memorial services. Normally funeral memory boards contain special photos of the recently deceased. Some are arranged in a timeline fashion, but really you can change the theme and personalize it however you want. Often times they are put at the entrance of the church or funeral homes to instantly give funeral guests a vivid glimpse into the life of the recently deceased.
Memory boards are great because all they require are:
- Tri-Fold Poster
- Miscellaneous Designs i.e: color paper, stickers, markers
When you attach any pictures to the memory board it is advised that you use tape or anything that won’t damage the photo.
Replace Funeral Homes Decorations with Yours
Asking the funeral home or church for the opportunity to swap out the viewing room’s decorations in the funeral home, for personal decorations from home can truly make the space more familiar and personalized. This can help the family feel more “at home”, and comfortable, which is important at a time like this.
I recently attended an amazing funeral service for a friends' dad who was a pianist and avid kite flyer. The funeral home brought in a beautiful grand concerto piano that was placed right in the center of the service, and covered with white lillys. From the ceiling hung ornate kites draped in flowers. It was magnificent and truly represented the life he lived in a beautiful fashion.
If you are in charge of the funeral planning, I highly encourage you add this personalization idea to the checklist.
Create Custom Picture Frames
Nothing compliments a beautiful picture like a stylish and unique picture frame. Having a picture encapsulated by a stylish, personalized frame is a great way to add some flavor to the picture. A picture frame also makes a great and personable gift for a bereaved family member or friend. What is so great about this idea is that picture frames are easy to make, and give children attending the funeral a fun outlet to create something that memorializes the recently deceased in an interesting way.
Have a Stone Memorial Station
Set up a station at the funeral home or church with small stones and permanent markers next to a decorated jar. Have a sign that instructs guest to write their names and a brief note on the stone to honor the loved one.
The key here is to not directly tell guest what to put on the stone. Let them get creative. Some stones might have a shared memories, some might be quotes, or even pictures. The family can choose to keep the rocks in their home, garden, or to scatter them somewhere meaningful. It’s just one more way to make the memorial service more personable, and especially engaging for the children.
If you would prefer a more portable way to hold on to these memories then a memorial book is the perfect solution. Check out Transient Books memorial service books for creative and unique books that are perfect for collecting the shared memories of funeral guest.
Have the Kids Act Out a Play
I read about a funeral once where a couple grandchildren put on a play from start to finish in honor of their grandfather. The play brought everyone at the service to laughter and tears. The funeral home was able to put the video on the grandfather’s tribute video. If the kids are at an appropriate age, this could be a fun way to remember a loved one. It will obviously take some time beforehand to instruct the kids and maybe even make costumes, but if you are in charge of organizing the funeral then I highly recommend you give this idea an attempt.
Grow a Memory Tree
If you’re looking for a way to engage funeral guests during a long funeral service we recommend a memory tree. Funeral guests can write down on a leaf their favorite memory with the recently deceased and put it on an elegantly decorated tree that the family can take home with them. Look here for DIY instructions.
Plant an Actual Tree
What better way to symbolize the cycle of life and death than by planting a seed and watching it grow. Planting a tree somewhere nearby is also a great, environmentally beneficial tradition. Every year in the US 2.6 million people die. Now imagine if everybody had surrounding family and friends plant a tree in their memory when they die. That’s 2.6 million trees which is the equivalent of 3,581 acres of forest. Imagine the impact that could have. The act of planting a tree is also a very unselfish final gesture. You will like never see the shade of that tree but future generations will!
Hopefully this article gave you some ideas you can incorporate into any futures you may have to attend.
If you are interested, check out How to Plan a Funeral from Beginning to End: A Step by Step Guide for helpful information on funeral planning.