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Placing Items in Caskets
The practice of placing things in a casket of a lost loved one dates back centuries, as people often want to share the things that person loved with them as they go to their final resting place. Dating back to ancient Egypt, people were buried with items they used during their lives, like weapons or jewelry.
Some religions even have the tradition of placing things over the casket, such as a cloth, a bible, or other religious symbols. Flags and flowers are also often placed over the coffin. However, many mourners still doubt what kind of things they can place in their departed loved one’s caskets.
Why Bury Personal Items?
Many ancient cultures buried their loved ones with personal items so that they could have them available in their afterlife. Burying personal items also helps as a coping mechanism for grief. There’s something emotional about placing someone’s beloved items in their caskets. It almost serves as an element that connects the mourners with the deceased.
There are some caskets you can purchase that have individual drawers that allow you to place mementos into the coffin. These specialty drawers are usually equipped in the side panels or the lid so several things can be placed in them, in case other members of the family want to share things as well. These drawers are quite discreet and might not even be noticed unless someone is looking for it.
Items You Can Place in a Casket
Most families choose to include items that were special to their loved ones. These are often items they felt deeply connected to, things that express their personalities, and other items that are special to the family. Again, placing items in a casket is a way for family members to remain with their loved ones, even when they pass away. A funeral home will typically ask if this is something you’d like to do.
Favorite books, religious books, diaries, and memoirs are a very common item to place in caskets. Books are not considered harmful to the environment; they also represent something important for the family and the deceased.
2. Family Photos
Photos are perhaps the most common item families place in caskets. From wedding photos, graduations photos, family portraits, and any snapshot that captures the deceased lifetime works for their burial. Some families choose to add pictures with the frame, and others without the frame. Both are acceptable.
3. Stuffed Animals
When a child or an infant passes away, families often placed their items on the casket. From stuffed animals, blankets, comforters, and even uniforms. The loss of a child is unbearable, but placing their beloved items on their coffins is a way for parents and family members to cope with their loss, as it’s a way to make sure the child will always feel at home.
Even though it might seem unthinkable to bury someone with cash, jewelry, or other values, the practice is very common. Family heirlooms, jewelry, money, and different values are often placed on the caskets.
5. Cremated Remains
In some cases, families want to place cremated remains with the deceased. This is very common for spouses or other family members that wanted to be buried together even though one of them has been cremated.
Perhaps the most common item placed in caskets from this list. Funeral flowers are very common; they can go inside the coffin or over the casket during the burial. Some people ask their funeral guests to place flowers in the casket. Other families bring flowers from the deceased garden, or add their favorite blooms.
Diplomas and other special awards are sometimes items family members choose to place in the casket. They’re a way to celebrate the deceased accomplishments. Sports awards, talent awards, or any other achievements that were celebrated by the family and that meant a lot to the deceased are beautiful ways to celebrate their life.
Often sports enthusiasts are buried with memorabilia, anything from a hockey stick, a baseball bat, a golf club, and even a football can be placed in the casket. Other items such as their team’s jersey, athletic gear, championship rings, and others are often placed in coffins too.
9. Hobby Items
The same goes for hobbies or other talent-related memorabilia. Ballet pointe shoes, knitting tools, art supplies, and anything that related to the things they loved in their life are a significant way of personalizing their burial.
10. Medals of Honor
Those who served in the military are often buried in their uniforms, with their badges of honors and other military decorations. Often their time in the military defined them, and burying them with their most significant achievements is the best way of honoring their memory.
Things to Know About Placing Things in a Casket
As you think of the items you want to place in their casket, remember that you are not getting these back. If you’re planning on placing jewelry, money, or other valuables, make sure these are not items you’ll need later on. The same concept applies to photographs, you could make copies of these photos and keep the originals, this way you can also save these memories.
Placing things in a casket is an old tradition that tries to connect the deceased with the living, it helps those mourning to process their grief, and it’s a way to make the deceased burial more personal and special for everyone.
Also, think about your loved one’s favorite hobby or things they might have identified with, like a baseball team’s hat, golf balls, a memento from their favorite college or university, or something to do with the military or fraternal organizations they belonged to.
What about Cremation?
As many families are choosing cremation as part of their burial arrangements, it can be confusing as to the items you can place in the cremation urn. Space here is more limited, and most likely you don’t want to get your family memories and items cremated.
Instead, you can choose to personalize a cremation niche. These niches are areas for you and your family to keep your loved one’s cremation urn. At the same time, the niche has enough space for your family to add photos, memorabilia, books, and other items you want in your loved one’s resting place.
Unlike things placed in a casket, you can retrieve the items you place on a glass cremation niche as you wish. Many families choose to change the items they placed by special occasions such as death anniversaries, birthdays, and other holidays.
Should There Be an Open Casket?
There are actually several different things to consider when trying to decide if the funeral service should have an open casket or not, and it’s not a decision that should be made lightly.
5 Things To Consider About a Closed or Open Casket
There are several things people should consider about an open casket at a funeral service for a loved one.
1. Date of the Funeral Service
In some situations, a funeral might not happen for weeks after a person died. This often occurs if they were out of area and had to be transported. Also, if the majority of the family has to fly in from somewhere else, then more funeral planning might be needed, which means the funeral service date is pushed back further. In these cases, it would be better to have a closed casket service.
2. Good Condition of the Body
There might be instances where it’s not appropriate to see the state of the deceased body due to extreme weight loss from sickness or some form of trauma. Thus, the funeral attendees really wouldn’t be seeing the image of the person they remembered. In this case, a closed casket might be a better idea.
3. Religious Service Might Warrant It
Some religious faiths prefer to have a closed or open casket. The family’s wishes should be considered here, but what the deceased would have wanted because of their faith should also be taken into account.
4. To Help Provide Closure For the Family
A funeral service is actually for the family members and friends of the deceased, as it helps them to learn how to cope with the death of their loved one. An open casket can help provide people closure, allowing them to say goodbye one last time to the physical body, which can help them move on subconsciously as well.
5. The Wishes of the Deceased
As with all funeral arrangements, taking into the account the wishes of the deceased must be remembered and honored. As with reason 2, even the deceased wished to have an open casket, there may be extenuating circumstances’ that make having an open casket impossible.
Choosing a Custom Casket
Whether you are buying a casket after losing a loved one or you are buying one for your own future, there are certain things you should consider before purchasing, including the material of the casket.
At The Gardens of Boca Raton – Cemetery & Chapel we don’t allow simple wood caskets to be buried here. We do have two caskets that have a metal insert liner, that’s used for wood caskets. But for 99 percent of our families, we require a metal sealed casket. People can pick out anything that appeals to their eye – and their budget.
Different types of caskets, do different things over the course of time. Our metal 20-gauge sealer casket will do the same thing as a solid bronze casket for a funeral, but over time, it won’t do the same thing as far as protection. A metal casket is the best way to protect their remains from the outdoor elements.
Understand that the casket might be the largest single expense you have for a funeral, and many times, it comes when we are emotionally upset over the loss of a family member or friend. This is where it’s important to deal with a cemetery and funeral home that doesn’t take advantage of those vulnerabilities.
Garrett Jacobs, the owner of Boca Raton Funeral Home and Cremation Service. He’s also the co-owner of The Gardens of Boca Raton – Cemetery & Chapel, and he believes in taking great care of those suffering the loss of a friend or family member.
“Some people buy their caskets out of grief, but as a good business owner. I don’t want them leaving here being burdened by debt after they overspent because they loved that person. I will definitely educate them – these caskets all do the same thing.” — Garrett Jacobs
Jacobs and his team will help walk you through all the steps in figuring out what type of casket you should buy, at the right cost for you and your family.
Personalizing a Casket Makes All the Difference
One of the reasons a family might choose one casket over other caskets is based on eye appeal alone.
There could even be a connection with the colors in the deceased person’s life, like if they owned a silver car, then putting them in a silver-colored casket might make the most sense. What about their house? Is their home decorated with specific colors that might work for their caskets?
“We once had a woman that was known for always wearing roses,” Jacobs said. “So she was buried in a primrose-colored casket.”
Along with the same concepts of color, a casket might be chosen to go along with what the person will be wearing when they are buried. Since this is the only time they’ll both be viewed together, it makes sense that they match, and it can help make a beautiful funeral or viewing.
Many caskets often allow for medallions that serve as wonderful visuals, helping highlight the main interests and facets of that person’s life.
“The more things you can do to personalize the casket and the property, the better,” said Jacobs.
Knowing what type of casket to buy is just one of the many decisions you’ll be making during this troubling time.
One of the more interesting trends in funerals in the 2000’s is the ability to customize a casket and funeral for a specific person. But first, one has to consider pre-planning their own funeral in order to customize a casket and funeral for their own wishes. Although, many people also choose to do customization for the funeral of a recently deceased loved one.
So we’ve come up with several different things to consider when personalizing a casket or funeral. When you personalize something as intimate as a funeral, you want to make the right choices that are respectful of who the person was, and still give a sense of what exactly they were all about.
Customized Casket Options
At The Gardens of Boca Raton, we have several different customization choices for caskets, including different colored linings inside the casket, custom handles, and even engravings. Also, you can get caskets that have areas on them for picture displays of themselves and their loved ones.
If you want to get specific customization for the casket itself, there are several companies we can order from that will do custom sizing or even caskets built into specific shapes. Here are a few examples of different shapes people have chosen for customized caskets:
- A surfboard
- Shape of a dolphin
- Antique car
- Race car
There are some other types of customization you can do to a casket that might cost less, like getting a casket in the colors of that person’s favorite sports team, which you can then have that team’s symbols emblazoned on it, too. This is a common request for people that have largely been identified as old-time fans of teams, like season-ticket holders for decades of teams like the Green Bay Packers, Boston Red Sox, L.A. Lakers and Detroit Red Wings. Those are just a few examples, of course, but getting the colors of favorite teams is a common request.
Think about the unique qualities of the person you are planning a personalized memorial service for, and try to highlight those aspects of their life and personality. Your goals for a customized funeral are to respectfully memorialize a person the way they would like, while also making it a memorable one for his friends and family members, helping them create one last pleasant memory about their lost loved one.
Some specific ways you can memorialize a person in unique ways include:
- Display a slideshow of pictures, with a personalized playlist playing over the speakers.
- A video of some of the best clips that memorialize the person’s individuality, mixed in with images and music that also help explain their life.
- Read poetry or passages that they might have written.
- Create a personalized program that shares some of the above, things they’ve written or said, memories some have already shared, and especially some great photographs.
Finally, you could choose to do some interesting customization’s, like releasing doves or balloons during the funeral, or have live musicians or even just an individual playing the bagpipes.
Customizing a casket and funeral for yourself or your loved ones is a great final sendoff, and one that should be considered by everyone. Ask the people at The Gardens of Boca Raton Cemetery and Funeral Services to help you with your customization’s.