15 Bereavement Ornament Ideas to Remember a Loved One

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When everyone else seems to be chipper and enjoying the holiday spirit, you may feel a bit less than jolly if you are dealing with grief during the holidays.

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The beloved family traditions you share with your loved ones may feel melancholy especially if a loved one has passed away. It can feel painful trying to celebrate when such a huge part of your life is missing, but there are ways you can honor your deceased loved ones during the holiday season. 

You can give memorial gifts to other people who loved them. You can raise a glass of eggnog and toast to their memory. You can set a place at the table in their honor. And you can make or buy decorations to hang up as a tribute. Curious where to start? Here are some ideas for bereavement ornaments to honor a deceased loved one. 

DIY Bereavement Ornaments

During the holidays, DIY memorial gifts can be a great way to honor loved ones that have passed away. You can make really lovely bereavement ornaments and give them to close family members. They can be hung on the tree on this holiday and in future ones.    

1. Ornaments filled with fabric

Did your late loved one have a favorite item of clothing? Maybe your mom had a beautiful dress she wore for date night. Or maybe your grandfather was known for his signature flannel shirts.

You can get glass or plastic globe-shaped ornaments where the top can unscrew, and you can fill ornaments with scraps of that iconic fabric. Then screw the top of the ornament back on. It can be a little fragile and finicky but is still a simple and lovely memorial craft. 

2. Fabric-wrapped ornaments

Another variation on the fabric-filled ornament is an ornament wrapped in fabric. Instead of putting a meaningful fabric inside of an ornament, you can wrap a plastic globe-shaped ornament in a piece of memorable fabric.

Carefully cut a circle of fabric to fit the ornament, and affix it with a craft adhesive. Mod Podge is a great choice, though a spray adhesive could also work. 

3. Homemade floating photo ornament

The ornaments that you can unscrew also come in handy for other DIY ornaments. For this one, carefully and loosely roll up a photo, slide it through the opening at the top, and gently shift it until it unfurls. You can also add glitter or faux snow for a wintry look.

4. Angel feather ornament

Another DIY ornament you can make with an ornament that opens up is an angel feather ornament. Fill a see-through ornament with feathers and tell your family members they are angel feathers. It’s a subtle and sweet way to pay tribute to a loved one.  

5. Wood slice photo ornaments

If globe-shaped ornaments are too fussy to deal with, you can opt for something a little more two-dimensional. You can order slices of raw wood from various retailers and craft stores. Cut a photo of the deceased to fit on one side.

Use a spray adhesive to mount the photo onto the wood slice. You can hand paint their name on the back, or laser etch it if that’s a skill set you have.  

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Personalized Bereavement Ornaments

When you pick out a bereavement ornament, you want to make sure it really captures the loved one it is memorializing.

This could mean it incorporates colors or an object that the deceased would have loved. It could also have their name and a memorial quote on it somewhere. There are many ways you can personalize a bereavement ornament. Here are some ideas: 

6. Porcelain photo ornament

Many companies and artisans make porcelain photo ornaments. The front of the ornament features a photo of your deceased loved one.

It can also be marked with their name and the dates they were alive. The back can be further personalized with a memorial quote. An ornament like this allows you to see your family member’s smiling face on the tree for years to come. 

7. Glass memorial ornament with cremation ashes

Many companies offer ornaments that are intended to be filled with ashes if your loved one was cremated.

They are often bright and colorful with thin ribbons of clear glass left so some ashes are visible. This is a subtle way to honor your loved one, while also beautiful and deeply personal. 

8. Waterford crystal memorial ornament

Memorial ornaments are a special way to commemorate a loved one. If you’d like to have something that is hardy to pass through the generations, Waterford Crystal makes a beveled circle ornament that can be engraved with a name or other personalized message. It makes for a beautiful and elegant keepsake ornament. 

9. Laser-etched wood ornament

If your deceased family member enjoyed the outdoors, it might be nice to incorporate natural elements into a bereavement ornament.

An ornament made out of wood can be laser-engraved with their name and a memorial quote. It’s rustic but still looks polished and elegant. 

10. Hand-painted memorial ornament

Many artists take commissions for personal and sentimental pieces of art. If your loved one appreciated the beauty of art, consider getting tribute ornaments made.

They can paint objects or places that meant a lot to your late loved one. It’s a subtle but thoughtful way to memorialize a loved one. 

Religious or Spiritual Bereavement Ornaments

If you’re spiritual or religious, a bereavement or ornament should encapsulate your faith. That additional element can make an already special memento feel that much more meaningful. It’s also a great way to honor a deceased loved one who had strong faith or spirituality.  

11. Guardian angel ornament

Many people believe that when our loved ones die, they become our guardian angels. An angel-shaped ornament is a great way to honor a deceased relative if you believe they have transitioned into this role.

You can personalize it further by having the name of the deceased and the years they lived engraved on the ornament. 

12. Memorial bell ornament

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, there’s a quote that goes, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” You can get a bell-shaped ornament with the name of your loved one carved in it.

Whenever you want to feel close to them, ring the bell. It may help you feel like they are there in spirit. 

13. Holy dove personalized ornament

A religious ornament can still be subtle and understated. Many companies make flat metal ornaments in the shape of a dove.

They can be engraved with a sweet message in honor of a loved one who has passed away. 

14. Cross ornament

Crosses feature prominently in many religious traditions. As a result, a cross-shaped ornament is a classic shape for religious families.

They come in a variety of shapes, including stone, metal, and wood. You can get them personalized with engravings of the name of the deceased.

15. Hands praying ornament

When a family member dies, we like to pray for them. A memorial ornament in the shape of praying hands makes for a sweet attribute with religious overtones.

Like most of the other ornaments on this list, they can be personalized through engraving. 

Commemorate a Loved One During the Holidays with a Bereavement Ornament

When a loved one dies, celebrating the holidays may be the last thing we want to do. It’s hard to find joy through the grief. But our loved ones wouldn’t want us to stop living just because they did.

They would want us to find new ways to celebrate, even if they can’t be there. Your holidays may not be the same without your deceased loved one. But they can take on a new shape.

Bereavement ornaments make great sympathy gift ideas. They honor your loved ones, and can help you include them in your holiday celebration in a new and special way. 

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