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Should You Send Flowers?

funeral flowers

It wasn’t too many years ago that there was no question – of course, you should send flowers to a funeral. It was tradition, and it was expected that family and friends send flowers to the funeral homes for display during the services. It was normal practice. When you learned someone you knew died, sending flowers to the funeral home or church was a way to send your condolences and honour the deceased. This tradition or practice is no longer the expectation it once was.

As traditional floral arrangements can be quite expensive, more people are considering an alternative to natural flower sprays, bouquets, and wreaths. It’s becoming more common for families to ask for charitable donations in lieu of flowers, The idea being that the money spent on flowers could be going to something where it could make a difference rather than purchase flowers that will quickly wither.                                                                                                          

If memorial charity donations are being accepted, you will not have to contact the charity yourself. Donations can be made via the funeral director. 

In the years prior to the coronavirus and the mandatory lock-downs, more families were asking for people to honour the deceased’s memory by donating to a cause either related to person’s death (Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, or Alzheimer’s Society for example) or to one they were passionate about (i.e. UNICEF UK, Samaritans, or Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).

Coronavirus Effect

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, asking people to donate to charities in the name of the deceased or to assist the family has become an even more common practice. It was especially the case during the lock-downs, when people weren’t physically able to attend the funerals and visitations. 

One of the sacrifices British people made during the course of the pandemic was to remain home even if a loved one died. Attendance at funeral and church services were limited if not cancelled completely.

In April 2020, UK councils in Bradford, Leeds, and Kirklees banned funeral ceremonies due to the coronavirus. The Church of England also banned church funeral services. In other areas, attendance at funerals was limited and social distancing was enforced. Without funerals, funeral flowers were not needed. It was an easy decision to donate to a meaningful cause in the deceased’s honour instead. 

Jewish Funerals

There are other situations when flowers are not appropriate regarding funerals. In the case of a Jewish funeral or shiva, it is not proper to send flowers. According to Shiva.com, “There are some Jewish communities that believe the life cycle of flowers should not be interrupted or cut short in order to create floral arrangements for a funeral.” To be respectful, especially during the family’s time of mourning, consider another way to send your condolences.

Donations to assist the family and condolence items (such as shiva baskets, food platters, or meals) are welcomed. Shiva baskets may include fruit, nuts, baked goods, and chocolates. The most personal ways to show your sympathy and compassion for a family during a mourning period often include food. It is common for people to bring meals to the family so the family has one less thing to worry about during a very difficult time. Gift cards for restaurants, delivery services, or grocery shops are also considerate gifts.

Should You or Shouldn’t You?

When it comes to it, the choice of what to send to those suffering a loss is your decision. If you want to send flowers and it’s appropriate, do just that. The most important thing is for you to follow the lead of the family and their statement of needs. Read the obituary or death announcement. Some plainly state where to send flowers or that “the family requests no flowers be sent.” If the family mentions a preferred charity, that’s a good way to show your respects.

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