When you leave a decorative item on your loved one’s grave, it won’t be there forever. The decoration can blow away at the first strong gust of wind or a member of the grounds crew will remove the item as a part of routine clean-up.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Are Grave Accessories?
- How Much Do Grave Accessories Cost?
- Practical Grave or Cemetery Accessory Ideas
- Decorative Cemetery or Grave Accessory Ideas
- Where Can You Buy Grave Accessories Online?
Even if the grave decoration stays put, most things lose their beauty after being in the natural elements for any length of time.
While you want to remember your loved one, you know that spending a lot of money on grave accessories is a bad idea. Here are some budget-friendly decorative grave items to consider.
What Are Grave Accessories?
Many families feel moved to leave a grave decoration, or grave accessory, behind to adorn the headstone of a loved one.
Some grave accessories are permanent. They include such things as vases that are attached to the headstone or emblems that adhere to a casket. It may also include lights, such as solar-power grave lights. Other examples include benches or stepping stones. You might also consider perennial plants as a permanent grave accessory.
Other grave accessories are temporary. Those include flower bouquets (both real and artificial), flags, balloons, and small gifts.
When you search for the term “grave accessory” online, the results are typically temporary items that you would use to decorate a cemetery plot. Most would refer to these as grave decorations, and the rest of this article will be about such products.
At the same time, realize that casket and vault companies also sell items enabling you to personalize the burial items of your loved one. These could also be referred to by the term “grave accessory.”
How Much Do Grave Accessories Cost?
Most temporary grave accessories are relatively inexpensive and range from a few dollars to around $50.
Some grave accessories might include small trinkets found in the home that have special significance to the deceased’s family. For example, you might leave some of your grandfather’s pipe tobacco that you found next to his favorite chair at his grave.
Other inexpensive or free grave accessories include homemade gifts, perhaps items made by children who are grieving the deceased.
Bouquets made from cut flowers from a garden can also be a free way to decorate a loved one’s headstone. If flowers aren't in season, you might also use ornamental grasses or branches off flowering bushes or evergreens.
Artificial flowers are often used as grave accessories. You can purchase these at discount stores for just a few dollars a stem. Some cemeteries also offer a grave decorating service for those who live far away from the burial site.
Most people don’t spend much on grave accessories or grave decorations because they aren’t protected from the elements and will weather over time.
No matter how much you spend on your loved one’s grave accessory, make sure you follow the cemetery's rules. Many cemeteries have strict rules regarding what can and can’t be left behind on a loved one’s grave.
Practical Grave or Cemetery Accessory Ideas
Was your family member not one for frivolity? Perhaps you tend to be more practical as well. Since you probably wouldn’t consider leaving a full bottle of booze or a dozen long-stemmed roses on your loved one’s grave, here are some other ideas.
Not a groundbreaking idea, no, but leaving artificial flowers at your loved one’s grave is extremely practical. Flowers secured in a cemetery flower holder stay put.
Artificial flowers also last a long time. While they may fade and become damaged after spending time in the elements, you can still leave them in the headstone’s vase for months.
Consult the cemetery’s policies before purchasing artificial flowers. Some eco-friendly cemeteries have banned their use and require that only fresh cut flowers are left at graves.
2. Solar-powered grave lights
Is the cemetery where your loved one is buried not well lit? Consider purchasing solar-powered grave lights to help you find your way to the gravesite. Solar-powered lights are the perfect practical accessory for your family member’s grave.
Solar-powered grave lights come in a variety of styles. Even though the lights are practical, they look pretty, too. Purchase lights shaped like a butterfly, praying hands, or fairies. Many lights can be programmed to change colors periodically.
3. Shepherd’s hook
Are you the type of person who likes to change grave decorations with the seasons? Make it easy on yourself by purchasing a shepherd’s hook to place into the ground near your loved one’s headstone.
You can hang a variety of decorative items from a shepherd’s hook. Hanging plants and decorative lanterns can be switched out in a matter of minutes. You may consider suspending a bird feeder or wind chimes from the hook as well.
This item only needs to be purchased once, but it can be used to hang decorations for your loved one for years.
Let other visitors to the cemetery know that you are thinking of your loved one on a special day.
Balloons (consider using an eco-friendly balloon) are inexpensive and can be easily removed by cemetery staff. Placing a balloon on a loved one’s headstone also makes you feel as if you are doing something to commemorate the event.
5. Flag holder
Much like a shepherd’s hook, a flag holder is a very practical purchase. Once you insert the flag holder in the ground near your loved one’s headstone, you only have to return a few times a year to replace the actual flag.
You may be able to purchase a flag for each season and rotate through them for several years. This shows that the grave is attended, and you won’t have to buy something new every time you visit.
Outdoor flags are usually very durable. While they may fade over time, you may be able to stretch their use for several seasons.
6. Decorative rocks
If the cemetery allows, consider placing an ornamental rock garden near the headstone of your loved one. Rocks will never need to be replaced, and you may be able to find them for free.
7. Empty alcohol bottle or can
Some people leave full containers of alcohol on loved one’s graves. While this gift to your loved one in the afterlife may make you smile, it is not practical. If you want a more suitable alternative, consider enjoying the beverage yourself while toasting your deceased family member. Then leave the empty bottle or can near the headstone of your loved one.
Before purchasing any of these practical grave accessories, please consult the cemetery’s policies to make sure they are allowed. No matter how practical the purchase is, it would be a waste of money if the cemetery staff removes the decoration within hours.
Decorative Cemetery or Grave Accessory Ideas
Have you ever seen an item at a store that immediately reminds you of a family member who is gone? While the practical side of you would think that it is a waste of money to buy something to place on a grave, your heart may say something different.
Here are some other inexpensive cemetery decorations that are more frivolous and less practical.
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8. Stuffed animals
Stuffed animals do not last long out in the elements, but you may be inclined to leave them at the grave of someone you love.
People tend to leave this and similar comfort items, especially on the graves of children.
9. Grave blankets
Grave blankets are not popular in all areas of the country. They consist of artificial or real boughs of greenery and are placed on the gravesite during the winter months. Grave blankets can provide comfort to those grieving a loss.
10. Holiday decorations
Some people like the idea of buying inexpensive decorations for every holiday.
For example, you can buy a floral arrangement in the shape of a cross for Easter and a small decorated tree for Christmas.
Would you feel better getting some of your emotions off of your chest?
Consider leaving a sign or plaque at the grave of your loved one. It may be a simple message, such as “forever in my heart” or “you are not forgotten.” If you have more to say, you may decide to write a letter to the person you are missing and leave it by the grave.
12. American flag
Your loved one did not need to be a veteran for you to place an American flag on his or her grave.
If he was proud of his country, place a small American flag in the flower vase or the ground near his headstone.
Laminate a copy of a special photo and leave it at the grave of your loved one. This would be an inexpensive way to show others that you are still celebrating the special moments of the past.
Was your loved one obsessed with a particular action hero? Place a figurine of the action hero on his grave.
You know that these trinkets may be removed by a visitor or staff of the cemetery, but you may leave them behind anyway. The gift may not be practical, but the best gifts usually aren’t.
If buying such trinkets gives you pleasure and makes you feel closer to the one you lost, do it.
Where Can You Buy Grave Accessories Online?
Grave accessories can be bought from most big-box discount stores. However, here are some online retailers to consider when purchasing a grave accessory.
Searching for a grave accessory on Amazon yields a wide variety of results, including Halloween decorations. You will also find solar power lights, wind chimes, small decorative items to stick into the ground and glow in the dark lights.
Searching for grave accessories on Etsy leads to small, personalized signs that can be placed in the ground at the burial site. You’ll also see small statues to place by the headstone, crosses to attach the monument, and stepping stones.
More permanent grave accessories can be purchased through Legend Urn. This website sells vases for headstones, sculptures, and permanent photo blocks to attach to the monument of a loved one. This company also sells artificial flowers and beautiful remembrance lanterns.
Although it isn’t recommended to leave items at a cemetery with value, Everlasting Memories sells memorial items, such as photo-engraved jewelry that you may consider leaving behind.
Everlasting Memories also sells items enabling you to personalize the urn of your loved one.
This website sells headstones, urns, statues, and other pieces of art to leave at the burial site of a loved one. For example, take a look at the bronze butterflies – these items can be installed on memorial walls or concrete and personalized with a loving message.
Graveside Flowers sells premium silk floral arrangements meant to be used to decorate a headstone. You can buy arrangements to match the season or holiday. Graveside Flowers also sells memorial photos that can be adhered to the monument of your loved one.
If you prefer to decorate with natural items, consider purchasing engraved, polished stones to leave at the burial site of your loved one. This company sells bulk rocks too, which some families distribute during a funeral.
Although known for making personalized photo gifts, Shutterfly also can help you create a garden stone with a personalized message. Make sure the cemetery allows such decorations before paying for the customized item.
Are you looking for wind chimes, garden benches, or lanterns? Personal Creations sells various memorial items – some that would be appropriate to leave at a cemetery and others that you might want to purchase for your home.
We like the memorial garden stones offered by Gifts For You Now. This simple decoration can be personalized with your loved one’s name.
Other Inexpensive Ways to Remember a Loved One
You may feel like having a big birthday party for your deceased loved one every year. This may assure you that others still remember your husband, sister, or aunt.
Start a scholarship fund for someone you lost. You may like the idea of having an event every year where you announce the winner. In this dream scenario, you would be able to talk about the person you lost and keep her memory alive.
If you want to have a party, consider having a kite-flying event. Meet at a local park and share memories of the deceased as you watch the kites dance in the breeze.
Or you can remember your loved one by volunteering at a charity event that was important to him or her. This doesn’t cost anything, but it honors the person you are missing.
The most important way to celebrate a person’s life is to keep his or her memory alive. Share stories and photos on social media and ask others to do the same. Memories don’t cost anything, but they are certainly priceless.