A Christmas memorial gift represents the love, friendship, or devotion you or someone you know had for another person or pet. While there are many traditional options, such as giving a card or flowers, here’s a chance to choose a gift that reflects on a specific character trait or memory.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Parent
- Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Child
- Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Sibling
- Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Friend
- Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Pet
As the years go by, remembering a deceased loved one at Christmas brings up both tears and laughter. As you scan through the ideas below, you may even discover a few ideas that’ll be a fitting gift you give yourself.
Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Parent
We’ve found some unique ways to honor your deceased parent, whether you’re exchanging gifts between you and a sibling or you and your surviving parent. Take a look.
1. Birth year coins
Throughout the year, check the change you receive when you’ve finished in-store transactions. Save the coins with the particular birth year of the deceased parent if any have filtered through your hands. If not, purchase birth year silver dollars online or at a local store to gift at Christmas.
2. Video tribute or photo album
Apply your parent’s favorite or most memorable songs to a video tribute or digital photo album. Make a few copies on a thumb drive. Give them to anyone who might like to have some of those memories, too.
3. Anniversary spot gift certificate
If your parents had a typical restaurant or set of adventures they routinely went on every year, find something similarly special that your surviving parent can do with you or one of their friends. Keeping the spirit of the day alive can be crucial, especially around the holidays.
4. Their favorite holiday candy
Did your dad have a special candy he loved from that “one particular sweet shop” back in his boyhood hometown? If so, call them and place a few orders to send off to your siblings in memory of him. Ask the shop to include a local postcard or other memorabilia that’s in stock.
5. Copy of their memoirs or letters
If you inherited the hatbox of memories from your parents, make digital copies to share with your siblings. If something digital seems too impersonal, then copy each one onto custom handmade paper. Use a colorful thick ribbon to secure them together, and voilà!
Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Child
“At sunset, the little soul that had come with the dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind it.” —L.M. Montgomery. Losing a child is always a tragedy. Try some of these gifts to keep them in your memories.
6. Birthstone jewelry
Mother’s jewelry honors the vital connection between your wife and your deceased child. Choose from the designs available to you at the local jewelry store, or ask your family jeweler if they’ll help you design a one-off for something extra special.
If you're looking for something more solid and tangible, companies like Parting Stone create beautiful, handheld cremation stones to help someone grieving keep their loved one close by.
7. Copper wallet insert
Does your husband have enough room in his billfold for a copper wallet insert? You can put any manner of information on it, such as your child’s name, birth date, and even a quote.
Head online to an artist’s marketplace and chat with someone who can help you design a suitable memorial.
8. Engraved silver photo frame
If engraved silver is not in your budget, there are other options from big-name brands that go on sale every year during the holidays.
Hint: you’re more likely to happen upon a great sale if you go into the store rather than shop online.
9. Teddy bear
More and more commonly, people are making plush keepsakes out of the clothing of deceased loved ones. If you can part with some pieces, you can find a professional seamstress to make teddy bears or anything else that seems fitting.
Keep grandparents in mind for memorial gifts like these.
10. Engraved piggy bank with coins
Trinkets and memories that you can tuck in corners, bookshelves, or anywhere on your walls will keep the child’s memory present. A piggy bank, although seemingly subtle, can be the shiny object that catches an eye whenever someone walks into a room.
Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Sibling
Searching for memorial gifts to remind others of your deceased sibling can take you down some sensitive and sweet roads. You know your family best, which makes it okay to pick something perfectly suited to their personality—even if it’s a little sassy.
11. Personal quote prints
Was your sibling fond of a few choice sayings throughout life? Would those sayings make utterly inappropriate magnets or t-shirts? If you and your family have quirky humor, then print up a few of these sayings and pay homage to the person you all love.
12. Antique store finds
Collecting knick-knacks that relate to your sibling’s favorite hobbies, such as old fishing reels or wood carving, keep them present in your family’s life. Next time you’re out hunting at the antique stores on the weekends, pick up one or two to gift at Christmas.
13. Stocking stuffer beer subscription (or similar)
Whatever their choice of alcohol, sign up your partner for a monthly subscription service. That way, when you invite friends over, your partner can serve up a few glasses to toast to their memory over dinner or a BBQ.
14. Occupation collectibles
Challenge coins, old hats, and anything else that reminds you of your sibling’s time in service (or other occupation) make suitable gifts and respect your loved one’s memory. Have the collectibles professionally framed or gift wrap them inside a sturdy keepsake box.
Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Friend
Our friends help create the fabric of our personalities, especially those we’ve known since high school. Take a look at a few ways you can honor that fantastic person for someone in your life.
15. Engraved tackle box
Childhood friends often stay in contact over the years. They may even go on annual “hunting” or “fishing” trips more about the time than the event’s title. So, if your partner’s friend has passed away, look for something to remind him of those special weekends—and engrave it.
16. Copies of music from the band
Your partner had a whole life of adventures long before you met. Perhaps she was in a band with her best friend, or two of them spent a summer in Ushuaia, hiking in the Andes and Patagonia. Choose something pivotal and then find a memory to wrap up for beneath the tree.
17. Yearbook memories
Find your partner’s old yearbooks and make a few copies of them with their classmates throughout the years. Then, look for some ornaments you can stuff with photos and memorabilia. Tie on a ribbon, and you’re set.
18. Hometown or school mascot t-shirt
Does your partner reminisce about the good old days back home? If so, then look online for a sports store from your loved one’s hometown. Then insert a notecard into the Christmas gift that explains why a t-shirt is a fitting reminder of their friend.
Christmas Memorial Gifts to Remember a Deceased Pet
“Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because, in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.”—Amy Sedaris. It’s always tough when our pets die. If someone you love lost a pet, here are a few ideas for gifts that could soothe their soul.
19. Engraved picture wallet insert
There are several options for pet engravings on wallet cards. Both sides can include the photo-real depiction or choose just one side with some handwritten engravings on the opposite. Either way, your friend or loved one will appreciate seeing their little one every day.
20. Professional portrait
Whether you like original watercolors, oil on canvas, or a pencil drawing, the options are limitless. Whichever style you prefer, a custom canvas painting will surprise any loved one at Christmas who’s lost a beloved pet. These paintings are so lifelike and realistic that they will become the showpiece anyway.
21. Stocking stuffer key fobs
Choose from photos, whistles, and other charms to remind your loved one of their pet right on their house keys.
Pro-tip: key fobs work for any budget, so you may be able to afford two or three if this is a gift for, say, a friend or sibling and their partners.
22. Christmas ornaments
If you haven’t been online recently, you’ll be surprised to discover the number of Christmas ornament options now available to remember your deceased pet. Look online for engraved wood, etched glass, life-like paintings, photo options, even some engravable silver hearts.
23. Custom smartphone cases
Once you find a provider that can make a case for the phone in question, ordering is easy. Place your item in the cart and add any written personalization necessary. Once you’ve paid, all you need to do is send the vendor a photo with an attached order number.
Reminders of Those No Longer with Us
The luminous, well-lit fires of holidays work as backdrops to the darkened and cold nights that fill us with memories of loved ones. Each season, we remember those we’ve lost, those we’ll never forget, and those whom we encourage into our thoughts as long as our eyes are open.