SAIF’s President ponders Christmas Quandaries

November 24, 2016   //   No Comments

At this time of year and as we approach Christmas, my thoughts are particularly centred around the bereaved that we serve. Not that they aren’t always at the forefront of my mind, but the loss of someone we love seems even harder at a time when we should be celebrating the birth of Christ or for those of us without a faith, at least enjoying festivities and maybe celebrating Santa Claus!

Over recent years, as we are all aware, there has been a move from mourning the death of someone we love to celebrating their life. An approach which I totally approve of and actively encourage. Yet I still find myself avoiding putting up decorations or Christmas trees in my premises because I have always been concerned that those bereaved don’t want or need Christmas reminders whilst taking their own journey through grief. This is how things have always been where I have worked and those old school thoughts still remain with me.

christmas-xmas-christmas-tree-decorationAs I write this, I wonder if this is a contradiction of what I actually believe, and so why shouldn’t I have decorations in place? After all I believe in Christ and should my business reflect my own beliefs?  I also ask myself what effect having decorations, or indeed not having decorations in place, has on my clients, if any. There is also the effect that my decisions have on my staff. So I have just asked them all as we sat down to lunch together. The response was unanimous. They all felt we should have a tree, under which we can put our company secret Santa presents. They also said that they never understood why we hadn’t had a tree or some form of decorations in the past. So we have a unanimous democratic decision, and within seconds my sister Sharon was on the internet, looking for an appropriate tree for our reception area. It was only meant to be a hypothetical question, but actions are already being taken, so I guess I will know over the coming weeks if this was the right thing to do!

I am aware that many Funeral Directors have Christmas trees and often have them as a memory tree offering families the opportunity to write messages and have these hung from the branches. Personally I don’t see these as a Christmas tree, but a memory tree at Christmas, and I know that it has been a successful exercise and appreciated by many families. However, what I’m proposing is simply traditional Christmas decorations.

It is often difficult to change the mindset of a lifetime, but I always look for areas that we can improve on and seek the views of others. It’s a bit of a shock to the system to find that perhaps I’m not always right. (Just most of the time!)  I would be very interested to hear other Funeral Directors’ experiences of Christmas decorations in the premises. If you have any particular views on this subject, please do make the effort to respond to this blog. I’d be really interested to hear your views.

Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Hopefully none of us will be too busy, so that we can also enjoy the festivities.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,