Cards and Keepsakes: How to choose funeral stationery that means more

Cards and Keepsakes: How to choose funeral stationery that means more

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At Arbor, we approach every detail of end-of-life planning with the sensitivity and attention it deserves. That’s why we recently talked to Naomi Lutz, Assistant Manager of Chapel Lawn Funeral Home in Winnipeg, about the often overlooked topic of choosing stationery for the day of a funeral. This is a practical component of end-of-life planning that also represents an opportunity to celebrate a life.

When to choose stationery

Naomi explains that most people have finished organizing all the cemetery and funeral components of their plan when they come to the topic of stationery. This is true whether they’re planning for a loved one they’ve lost or they’re doing their own pre-planning.

When approaching the topic of stationery, Naomi offers two helpful ways to look at it: either as a commemorative piece about the event or as a keepsake to remind them of the person who has passed.

Stationery as a commemorative piece

Still very popular today, stationery as a commemorative piece might remind you of what you saw at funerals in your youth. This includes traditional memorial cards that can go home with each funeral attendee. The cards often include a prayer and important details about the service like the date, names of the pallbearers, and so on. 

The guest book remains important today as well. In fact, Naomi is frequently asked about the guest book when attendees can’t find one. The reason for this is that it ensures the funeral attendees can show they were present. At a large funeral, they may not be able to see or speak individually to the family and friends of the person who has passed. For the guest, signing their name and even leaving a caring message in the guest book can be an important part of their grieving process while also showing that they care for the loved ones left behind.

Thank you cards are another item that can be customized in a loved one’s memory, whether to thank those who’ve shared food, sent flowers or provided support in any other way.

What makes these stationery items commemorative is that their focus is generally on preserving a family’s historical record. There are many reasons why you might want this, including the current wave of interest in creating detailed family trees.

Today, with our funeral directors’ insights and our graphic designers’ skills, we can customize these commemorative items at Arbor to further suit the tastes of the person being remembered. For example, a card might include the person’s favourite season, a photo of their cottage, beloved flowers or their favourite school photo — the possibilities are as endlessly unique as the individual.

Stationery as a keepsake

In the 21st century, it’s increasingly common to see the stationery that your funeral home provides as an opportunity to create a keepsake that every attendee can hold close. Beyond the record-keeping basics, it becomes a treasured item in and of itself to honour the memory of a loved one who has passed.

For example, rather than receiving a traditional prayer card at a grandmother’s funeral, the family could hand out memorial cards with her favourite recipe on them, written in her handwriting. Suddenly, the card has greater meaning and presents an opportunity to incorporate it into their every day, like when it’s time to pull out the recipe card for making grandma’s fruitcake at Christmas. 

Memorial cards can also be transformed into bookmarks, often with a loved one’s favourite quote and their picture. This is another way to feel close to them whenever you pick up the novel on your bedside table.

There are also new interpretations of the guest book that elevate it into a more meaningful keepsake for the family. Rather than being a list of attendees, a keepsake guestbook becomes a representation of the relationships a loved one had in their lifetime. It can be filled not only with names and messages of the people who loved them, but also photographs, and family stories. Some people even turn the guestbook into a scrapbook to be filled with reflections, photos, and anecdotes after the day of the funeral. This is a powerful activity that can help loved ones young and old begin to process their grief in a healthy way and stirs conversation around the table.

Naomi receives feedback regularly about the importance of these keepsake items to families, even down to the beautiful printing and card stock. For her, it’s another way to show she cares and takes a personal interest in learning about your loved one’s life. Naomi even relates to the value of thoughtful stationery herself: 

“I often think about this because at special dates or anniversaries, I’ll take out that bulletin from my dad’s service, and I’ll just put it out. We don’t even know all the ways that [memorial stationery is] really cherished in people’s lives. Those relationships were important and we want to remember those people, and having a card with their picture on it is a way to show how much we love that person. It’s something to keep.”

Our goal at Arbor is to make sure you feel taken care of at every step of the journey, even down to the smallest details. To learn more, please visit our location finder for the branch nearest you.

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