In this article:

When a loved one passes away over Christmas it may help a little to know that you’ll still be able to get the support you need. See how funeral directors can help you over the Christmas period below.

Do you need immediate assistance?

If you’ve just found someone who’s died or may be injured and in need of help call 999 straight away. Explain your situation and the operator will tell you what to do next.

What to do when someone dies at Christmas

If a loved one dies at Christmas you’ll still get the help you need from the emergency services and funeral directors.

Once the death has been confirmed by the emergency services you can call a funeral director to take the body to a funeral home if that’s what you’d like. They’ll be available to offer you the support you need to start funeral arrangements.

Following the death of a loved one there are further practical steps you’ll need to take. For a full breakdown of next steps read our guide on what to do when someone dies.

Are funeral homes open on Christmas Day?

Funeral directors work throughout the Christmas period. Their private ambulances will be on call 24/7 just in case someone dies and needs to be taken to a funeral home. Even over Christmas a person who’s died will be cared for as they normally would at any other time. And they’ll be prepared for their funeral service too.

Some funeral directors will close their offices on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. But you’ll generally find that you can contact most funeral directors with questions over the Christmas period.

Important: All funeral directors still provide private ambulance services at all times even if their offices are closed.

Can you have a funeral on Christmas Day?

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to have a funeral on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. Even though funeral directors are still working many won’t carry out funerals on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. This is because they may be running with fewer staff. Most crematoriums are also closed on Christmas Day.

But always speak to your funeral director about your options. They may be able to organise a funeral on Christmas Eve if it’s important to you – especially if you need the burial to take place quickly for religious reasons.

Can you have a funeral on Christmas Eve?

Yes, you can have a funeral on Christmas Eve. But keep in mind that this will depend on the availability of the crematorium or other venue where you want to hold the funeral. Churches in particular are busier than usual over the Christmas period so you might find it more difficult to get the time and day you want. It’s also worth knowing that it usually costs a bit more to hold a funeral on a weekend – which could affect you if Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday.

Coping with grief at Christmas

When you lose someone at Christmas don’t feel pressured to carry on the celebrations as normal if it doesn’t feel right. Do what feels right for you and your family.

You may want to abandon your usual traditions and create some new ones instead. Perhaps lighting a candle for your loved one at the dinner table would help. Or maybe getting outside with family and friends is the best option.

Everyone copes with grief differently. So whatever you decide to do make sure you don’t try to live up to any expectations. Do as much or as little as you’d like to celebrate Christmas.

If you’re struggling to cope with grief ask for help. Cruse offers free bereavement support and counselling. Get in touch with them on 0808 808 1677.


Photo by Frantisek Duris on Unsplash