December is the quietest time for funeral home

DECEMBER is the quietest month of the year at the Gladstone funeral home.

Director Adele Hughes says that could be because people have something to look forward to at Christmas time.

"They often push through the holidays," she said. "The mind is a powerful tool."

But the new year - and January - is the busiest time of year.

"We average around 12-15 funerals a month with 150-200 a year, but December is normally less," Mrs Hughes said.

While more than 80% of deceased tend to be elderly people, she said Christmas was also a time when there were suicides.

"Throughout the year we can go months without a suicide, but in December and January there will always be at least one," she said.

Mrs Hughes said car accidents were a bit different because the parlour only worked with people who were having a funeral in Gladstone.

"We get called out, but if the person is going to be buried or cremated somewhere else, they are taken there instead," she said.

Mrs Hughes said Christmas was an emotional time if work needed to be done.

"Everyone copes differently to get the job done. Our mortician Ivan treats the deceased as though they are alive," she said.

"He sings and talks to them.

"We are on call, and never want to work Christmas day, but it is part of the job."

Gladstone Valley Funerals:

  • 17 years in Gladstone
  • 150-200 funerals a year
  • 12-15 funerals a month
  • 80% of deceased are over 70
  • 20% of deceased are under 70


  • In Saturday's Observer we bring you a new campaign looking at the importance of community and looking after one another over the Christmas period.
  • Campbell Gellie spends a day in the life of a funeral director. Read his story in The Observer on Saturday, December 27.


  • Call beyondblue on 1300 224 636
  • MiNetworks on 1800 985 944
  • Lifeline on 131 144.

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