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What can you put in a coffin for burial?

It may not be considered common practice, but placing significant items in a loved one’s coffin is a tradition that dates back thousands of years and is common among many cultures.

For some people, personalising a funeral by dressing a loved one in their favourite gown, suit or item of clothing is symbolic enough. Photos, letters, religious tokens or personal items, flowers and jewellery are all items that can be buried and cremated. Obviously, anything combustible is excluded and you need to warn your funeral director in advance if you would like the items back. It is best not to create anything made of plastic or vinyl because they emit harmful toxins into the environment. Biodegradable items may be the only items allowed at green funeral homes. Funeral homes check coffins and caskets for anything combustible.

George Burns the comedian was buried with three cigars and Humphrey Bogart a whistle. John F Kennedy was buried with one of his collection of scrimshaws and Tony Curtis a Stetson hat. If you’re loved one had something they were known for, it would be a lovely touch to include the item or items in the ceremony.

Modern caskets often have compartments, panels or drawers specifically for the purpose of placing personal items inside.

These are some of the favoured items that people are buried with:

  • A favourite book. It could be a bible or a classic. Books are a great idea because they are easily decomposed.
  • Ticket stubs or memorabilia from a favourite show.
  • A stuffed animal which is most relevant to infants and children. It might also be a comfort item like a blanket.
  • Sports memorabilia as long as it is not combustible or made of materials that might emit harmful emissions.
  • Flowers like books are a lovely touch and biodegradable.

At Southern Cross Funeral Directors in Campbelltown we consider your family to be as precious as our own. We are family owned and operated and one of the largest independent funeral directors in Australia serving families for over three generations. We cover every detail in our funeral plan management discussions and contract so that you are completely clear on all of the costs and all of our obligations as your funeral director.