It’s hard to celebrate the holidays when someone is missing from the family table. In fact, you may not feel like observing the holidays at all. You may long for a fast-forward button so that you can zip past late fall into early winter.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Memorial Ornaments for Parents
- Memorial Ornaments for Children
- Memorial Ornaments for Siblings
- Memorial Ornaments for Friends
But, other members of your family may still want to celebrate. How do you do this when you are not feeling the holiday spirit?
Though you might not want to join in with everyone in the merrymaking, you can find your own ways of coping with grief during the holidays. Even if you’re not ready to jump in all the way, you can contribute to the holidays while still memorializing your deceased loved ones. Here are some ideas for memorial ornaments to have handy during the holiday season.
If you're interested in other unique ways to honor a loved one, you can consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.
Memorial Ornaments for Parents
Making or purchasing a commemorative ornament for your parents may be therapeutic for you, but your siblings may also appreciate it. Here are some ornament ideas for your mom and dad.
1. Photo ornament
Most photo-printing websites also have photo-related gifts for sale. Scan in your favorite photo of your parents, and opt to have an ornament made with the image. Consider using a black and white image if you want your decoration to have a vintage look.
Some websites will allow you to get creative with the picture, such as adding a line to say how long the marriage lasted or engraving “together forever” on the ornament.
2. “Never Forgotten” ornament
Search online for ornaments with these specific words or other similar phrases to help you honor your parents.
Although you may not be able to personalize each ornament, you may find some that say, “Mom and Dad, Never Forgotten” or “Forever In Our Hearts.”
3. White feather ornament
Search your favorite craft idea website for a white feather ornament. This is a project that would be easy enough for even a beginner DIY crafter. Simply place a white feather in a clear, glass ornament and decorate it with a small, etched tag that commemorates your parents’ lives.
Feathers are often used as an end-of-life symbol. You may also be able to find metal ornaments in the shape of a feather.
4. Charm ornament
Do you always think of your mom when you see a film reel or some fancy shoes? When you think of your dad, do you recall his fondness for gardening or soccer? Consider making a personalized ornament that honors your mom or dad’s interests and hobbies. Search online for charms to place in flat, glass ornaments.
If you find some really thoughtful and unique ornaments that remind you of your parents, perhaps you can buy multiples as memorial gifts for others during the holidays.
5. Small urn ornament
Some families choose to divide up the ashes of their loved one. If you have a small amount of cremains, consider putting it in a piece of cremation jewelry to hang on a tree.
6. Bible verse ornament
Do you know your mom’s favorite verse from the Bible? Consider having it engraved on an ornament. Even if you don’t add your mom’s name to the decoration, you will forever be reminded of this special woman by the verse that was important to her.
Memorial Ornaments for Children
The loss of a child is devastating, and the holidays may be particularly difficult without your excited child by your side. You may feel some solace by focusing your grief on a creative project to remember your child’s life.
Here are some projects to consider or ornaments to search for and buy.
7. Prism ornaments
Imagine how beautiful a prism would be near your Christmas tree lights. This type of ornament can be personalized with your child’s name along with the phrase, “look for me in rainbows.”
You may be able to find someone to make the ornament on Etsy or another online marketplace.
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8. “Parents of an Angel” ornament
If you know a couple who lost a child sometime in the last year, consider purchasing a “Parents of an Angel” ornament. Show the parents that you remember their tragedy by giving them this simple memento.
Don’t feel that giving this gift will “remind” the couple of sad times. Their little one is probably always in their hearts, so they don’t need a reminder. Giving this gift will show that you remember the life of the little one as well.
9. Angel ornament
Many images of angels are child-like. Consider finding one of these ornaments to commemorate the life of a person who is gone too soon.
You may be able to find such ornaments that say, “my angel” or other such sentiments. Consider adding a photo of the child to the decoration.
10. Baby items ornament
Consider placing those treasured newborn items in a glass bulb to create an ornament. Include the baby’s hospital cap, ID bracelet, or other small items. Label the bulb with the child’s name, as well as birth and death dates.
11. Teddy bear ornament
Some parents choose to place the cremated remains of their deceased children in teddy bear urns. These bears can be personalized with the name of the child taken too soon.
You may also consider purchasing a teddy bear ornament for members of the extended family. They are grieving the loss of your child, too.
Memorial Ornaments for Siblings
Siblings can be one’s best friend and enemy at the same time. As children, you and your siblings may have engaged in some funny holiday hijinks such as silly prank gifting or fighting over who gets to eat the candy canes before the holiday feast.
If you’re missing your sibling, consider creating an ornament to put on your holiday tree in honor of those memories. Here are some memorial ornaments for siblings.
12. Cardinal ornament
Some people say that a loved one is visiting from heaven when a red bird appears. Whether this is true or not, consider buying an ornament with the image of a cardinal on it to memorialize your deceased sibling.
13. Butterfly or dragonfly ornament
Butterflies and dragonflies are also associated with the deceased. You can find a lovely glass butterfly or dragonfly by working with a glass or ceramic artist.
By making a one-of-a-kind ornament, you can further personalize your butterfly or dragonfly ornament with your loved one’s name.
14. Wind chime or bell ornament
You will love to be able to walk by your Christmas tree and ring your wind chime or bell ornament. It may remind you of the phrase from everyone’s favorite Christmas movie, It’s A Beautiful Life. “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”
15. Religious symbols
If your sibling was a person of faith, consider purchasing an ornament that reflects their beliefs. Buy an ornament that looks like praying hands, a cross, a Star of David, or another religious symbol.
16. Cremation glasswork ornament
Many decorative items can be made using the cremains of a loved one. Search for a company that will create a beautiful glass ornament out of a small portion of your loved one’s ashes.
Sometimes, these companies give discounts if entire families purchase the same item, so you may consider getting duplicates made for your parents or other siblings. These could also work as optional sympathy gift ideas other than flowers during the holidays.
Memorial Ornaments for Friends
Friends become family to us. Losing a friend can leave a hole in your heart that is not easily filled. Remember your special friend during the holidays by creating a memorial ornament.
17. “First Christmas in Heaven” ornament
It sometimes helps put death in perspective if you think of your friend celebrating Christmas in heaven. You can buy Christmas in heaven ornaments for family members, too.
18. Heart ornament
Sometimes it is the most straightforward image that carries the most meaning. Get a simple heart ornament and personalize it with the deceased’s name or photograph.
If you sew one yourself made out of a friend’s clothing, it can become a lovely DIY memorial gift for their parents or other family members.
19. “The heavens are brighter with you there” ornament
Make an ornament in the shape of a star and inscribe it with this statement. Whether you choose to make one in a pottery class or draw stars on a clear ornament, you’ll have another unique ornament to put on the tree. You could also consider giving one to your friend’s family members as well.
20. Cancer ornament
If your friend died of cancer, consider remembering his or her struggle with an ornament that gives awareness to the specific type.
For example, purchase a pink ribbon ornament to remember the friend who died of breast cancer or a gray ribbon to commemorate someone’s fight with brain cancer.
21. “There are special people in our lives who never leave us, even when they are gone” ornament
Will your friend forever be in your heart? Consider purchasing an ornament with this phrase or a similar sentiment to commemorate the life of your friend.
Let his or her family know that you are thinking of them during the holidays. Many people struggle in silence because they don’t want to feel as if they are forcing someone to offer words of sympathy.
Ways to Remember a Loved One During the Holidays
The holidays can feel like the colors around you are ramped up to max, with pine trees festooned in red ribbons, lights, and sparkly ornaments. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it can feel impossible to match that kind of excitement and energy.
Remember that grief is something that can last a while, but it won’t last forever. Taking time to make something unique in loving memory of a treasured loved one can give you an opportunity to feel the holiday spirit at your own pace.