With the winter fast approaching, several people are searching for the perfect grave blanket for their lost loved ones. WellnessKeen will tell you all about grave blankets, and how they are such a beautiful way of remembering your lost loved ones.
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
― Mitch Albom
The Webster’s Dictionary has a simple definition for a grave blanket―”a grave covering that consists of evergreen plant material on a flexible wire frame and that is used chiefly in winter.”
In the colder seasons, namely fall and winter, fresh flowers cannot withstand the harsh weather, and so people came up with the concept of grave blankets and grave pillows in order to pay their respects to the deceased during the winter months. Made using pine cones, ribbons, ornaments, and the like, grave blankets not only are a way to pay respects, but are also beautiful decorations in the otherwise somber cemetery.
Grave Blankets: History and Symbolization
Grave blankets are believed to have been brought to the United States by Scandinavian immigrants settling down in the mid-western regions of the country. These people made grave decorations out of evergreen tree materials to cover the graves during the barren winter months. These decorations, or grave blankets as they are now known, implied that though the deceased were gone, they were not forgotten.
The tradition of using grave blankets soon spread to other parts of the country, and it became a popular custom especially during the time of Christmas. For a more festive touch, grave blankets were made using various Christmas decorations. Many people believe that these festive, colorful grave blankets symbolize Jesus Christ.
Grave blankets symbolize the love, and affection for lost loved ones―the time and efforts taken to make/select the perfect grave blanket is a testament to the emotional bond that still exists between the ones who have passed away and the ones who are left behind.
More than anything else, grave blankets present an image of warmth and comfort. In the cold, bitter weather, these coverings “keep the grave warm” and protected from the outside elements. In a way, they depict the concern of people towards their lost loved ones.
Grave Blanket Etiquette
Picking grave blankets, or sending them to another place is very similar to sending flowers to someone’s grave, and most of the etiquette to be followed are the same.
- If you are ordering a grave blanket from a florist, be sure to have a thorough discussion about the local customs and traditions not only of that area, but also of the particular cemetery.
- If you are sending a grave blanket to a relative in another town, be sure he/she knows about your plans to send one.
- Since a grave blanket is meant to show respect to the deceased person, it should be placed on the grave by a family member, relative, or a friend only―basically, by a loved one and not by a delivery service.
- Some cemeteries have their own set of etiquette regarding grave decorations―make sure to check with the assigned authority beforehand.
Making A Grave Blanket
While some people prefer buying grave blankets, there are others who make them. The time and effort put in making the blankets are a great way of displaying affection for the deceased. People make special grave blankets around the times of Christmas, Halloween, and on special days like Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, as well as on the birthdays of the lost loved ones. These handmade grave blankets consist not only of festive decorations such as ribbons and other ornaments, but also personalized items―objects that are of sentimental value.
When making a grave blanket, you can choose natural material or artificial material, whatever you feel will withstand the cold weather better, and will look beautiful as well. Here are a few easy ways to make grave blankets.
Making an artificial grave blanket
Things you will need:
A small indoor-outdoor green carpet (you can get it cut according to the size you want), hot glue, flowers, ribbons, other decorations, hanger wire.
What to do:
- Get the indoor-outdoor carpet cut according to the size you want―you can get this done in the store itself, or do it at home.
- Assemble all your decorations on the indoor-outdoor carpet to get an idea of how you want the grave blanket to look like.
- One by one, hot glue the decorations on the indoor-outdoor carpet. For decorations that are too stubborn to be held on by glue, there’s always florist wire.
- Fasten the grave blanket around the grave using hanger wire.
You can use fresh flowers, dried flowers, or a combination of both. You can also include small toys and other memorabilia.
Making a natural grave blanket
Things you will need:
sprays of greenery, flower sprays, ribbons, dry floral foam bricks, a container (wooden or plastic), glue, chicken wire (optional)
What to do:
- Carefully set the sprays of greenery and flower sprays on the grave, closer to the ground.
- Glue the dry floral foam bricks into the container and place it between the headstone and the arrangement so as to hold the blanket close to the ground.
- Push the stems of the greenery a few inches into the foam bricks to keep the blanket secure. If you want, you can fasten the stems onto the foam bricks using hot glue.
- Attach your decorations and flowers to the greenery using glue. If you have chicken wire, you can also weave in the decorations through the greenery to make the grave blanket.
- Cover the foam bricks with flowers, greenery, or sheet moss. You can also fasten the aforementioned to the bricks with glue.
Instead of sprays of greenery, you can also choose to use artificial greenery instead. However, when making a natural grave blanket, please be sure to select evergreen sprays only.
At Christmas, grave blankets can be made using boughs of holly, red ribbons, pine cones, and other special Christmas ornaments.
Buying A Grave Blanket
Most florists sell grave blankets, and recently, stores have begun to sell them online as well. Florists make grave blankets adhering to the specific orders, and have a good idea of what cemeteries allow and don’t allow. Get in touch with your local florist if you’re planning to buy a grave blanket.
A grave blanket is a wonderful way of paying homage to lost loved ones. For many people, grave blankets are a part of the healing process, as it is a deep, empathetic way of expressing love and affection for the deceased person. It isn’t just a decoration for a grave―it is a very special gift for the one who has passed away, from the ones left behind.