The loss of a loved one can happen at any time of year. If this happens to be in the winter, you can be left with the choice of whether or not to hold a burial for them in this time of year. While it's not like it used to be where you couldn't hold a funeral in the winter due to frozen ground, there are still more things for you to consider. It's important that you commemorate your loved one in the way that you would want, not letting the weather deter you from holding the memorial, funeral or interment of ashes outside. In fact, in these current times with Covid, it is even safer to hold it outdoors, as well as the fact there is a reverent ambience outside. Here we have put together some top tips on how to have a funeral in the winter.
Speak to the professionals regarding arrangements
If the ground is frozen due to the weather, you will need to ensure the correct arrangements are made with your funeral home. If you are having your loved one buried in a cemetery, specialist equipment will be required to cut through or thaw the frozen ground. If this is not available in your area you may need to wait until spring until the burial, or for the weather to get warmer. If you are opting for a cremation, this isn't weather dependant and can therefore be done any time. You can then decide if you want to do a memorial now or wait for sunnier days to spread the ashes. This is a personal decision that is up to you.
Choose a service in the daytime
When conducting a winter funeral, it is better to hold it either later in the morning or in the early afternoon when you have the most sunshine and when it will be warmer. It is also best to hold it on a weekend where most people will be available to attend.
Opt for warmth where possible
A winter funeral will undoubtedly be cold so you want to try and make those that attend as comfortable as possible. You could light a bonfire as part of the reception or consider having group seating around portable fire pits. You could also serve hot drinks such as coffee, mulled cider or hot chocolate that can offer both warmth and comfort. Set up stations for hot drinks with different flavours and be sure to offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options (if you are opting for mulled wine or cider) as well as different flavourings to add to coffees or hot chocolate.
Display the urn on a special table
If you are displaying the urn, it can be a nice idea to create a special memorial table for it to sit on. This can be adorned with candles, pictures of your loved one and other items that represent that person. You could add a book for people to write down memories or stories of them. If you are looking for a unique, beautiful and ecologically crafted urn, there are many options from Living Urn such as planting a tree with your loved one's ashes, scattering urns or ones that are designed to be displayed in your home. There are many affordable and beautiful options.
Alternatives to burying a body in winter
If you don't want to bury your loved one in the winter, there are other things you could do.
- You could opt for temporary mausoleum holding which is an above-ground burial chamber where the body can be stored.
- Alternatively, you could consider cremation which is rapidly becoming the most popular choice due to the lower costs and many innovative ways of spreading the ashes. The Living Urn offers a BioUrn for example, which enables you to grow a tree from the ashes of your loved one. Complex in design but simple to use it is a beautiful way to remember someone once they have passed.
- Another alternative is body donation - several organisations accept body donations for science and it can be a great way to give your loved one a legacy. Many organisations pay for the remains to be cremated and their ashes delivered back to you.