Do you have a memory box, drawer, or tabletop in your home that you reserve for memorabilia, pictures, certificates, or funeral programs? Within that box, you may also find a printed obituary for someone you lost.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Obituary Keepsake Ideas to Display at Home
- Obituary Keepsake Ideas to Give Loved Ones
- Other Memorial Items to Use as Gifts
It’s common for people to keep obituaries and funeral programs for people who have died. Unfortunately, saving paper, especially newsprint, is difficult. As it ages, it begins to crumble, crease, and deteriorate.
Here are some ways to preserve obituaries. Keepsake obituaries could be used for display in your home. You may also use some of these tactics to preserve the item so that it can be stored without worry.
Here are some keepsake obituary ideas.
Obituary Keepsake Ideas to Display at Home
Are you mourning the loss of a loved one? Here are some ideas for turning your loved one’s obituary into a keepsake.
1. Create a memorial shadow box
Shadow boxes are glass-fronted wooden boxes that are displayed on a wall or a shelf. Some people use shadow boxes to display memorial items, such as the obituary, funeral program, prayer card, dried flowers, funeral buttons, and photographs.
A shadow box is a perfect choice if you would like to preserve something besides paper, such as a funeral button, a dried flower, or a token that reminds you of the deceased. These items wouldn’t fit inside a typical frame. You can make your own quickly and simply if you'd rather save money on buying one.
If this is your method of preserving your loved one’s obituary, be sure to use archival-quality glue to adhere the obituary to the display.
2. Frame the obituary
If you have nothing other than paper to preserve from your loved one’s funeral, you can create a display of the items and frame it. One easy method is to use 12x12 scrapbook paper and a coordinating frame.
Look for ideas on how to create an attractive display—simple design techniques make a big difference. Designers would recommend using a couple of high-quality photographs instead of dozens of small pictures. Consider mounting the obituary on a solid piece of cardstock before adhering it to the background paper.
3. Laminate the obituary
Another way to preserve paper is with lamination. Before you laminate the obituary, first place it on high-quality cardstock. Office supply stores and shipping stores offer laminating services. Opt for the highest-quality lamination possible.
You can display the laminated obituary in your home by propping it up on a bookshelf or taping it to a mirror. You might even use your loved one’s obituary as a placeholder in your Bible or another special book.
4. Create a tabletop display
You might consider using an end table or side table to create a display in loving memory of your loved one. Place framed photographs, a copy of the funeral program and obituary, a candle, and/or some flowers on the table. This will give you a beautiful spot to visit in your home several times a day to reflect on the life of the one you love.
Obituary Keepsake Ideas to Give Loved Ones
Is a friend, co-worker, or extended family member mourning the loss of a loved one? Here are some memorial gift ideas that you can create or buy.
While most people give sympathy gifts around the time of death, you might want to wait until the death anniversary to offer your keepsake. Few people remember death anniversaries. Giving a gift at this moment will tell your friend that you care enough to pay attention to the details of their lives.
6. Professionally designed story card
There are several sellers on Etsy that will design a life story/obituary card for the deceased. These are much more attractive to display than a cut-out from a newspaper or printed obituary from the funeral home’s website.
The remembrance item can include several color photographs, and the designer uses attractive typography to tell the story of the deceased.
7. Keepsake obituary
Several companies make keepsake obituaries. This particular company makes booklets, tri-folds, posters, and other beautifully designed items.
This would be the perfect gift for someone whose loved one’s life was too full or complex to describe in a short obituary.
8. Wood-transfer obituary
Search YouTube for videos on how to transfer photographs onto wood. You might be able to use this technique for your loved one’s obituary. Consider practicing on a scrap piece of wood to see if the font size or style needs to be altered to make the finished product easy to read.
9. Write a book
As we discussed earlier, some people’s lives cannot be adequately summarized in an obituary. If you are looking for a gift idea for the family member of such a person, consider hiring a freelance writer to write that person’s life story.
A project of this scope will require access to family stories and perhaps other historical research. Hire the writer with the promise that such details are coming.
Such books can be self-published at a high quality. They can even include photographs.
10. Wooden remembrance box
Purchase a beautiful wooden remembrance box for your friend to hold the obituary, funeral program, and other memory items from their loved one’s funeral. The container may be personalized with the deceased’s name, but you might want it simply labeled “in loving memory” so additional funeral programs can be placed inside.
Other Memorial Items to Use as Gifts
Here are some additional ideas for items you can purchase for a loved one in mourning.
You may not be familiar with the idea of giving windchimes as sympathy gifts, but there are a lot of memorial gift companies that sell them. Many of these wind chimes can be personalized with the deceased’s name or a favorite verse.
Some people prefer hanging wind chimes on their porch to having an obituary displayed prominently in the house. The tinkling of the wind chime is a constant reminder of the deceased, and others will enjoy it for more aesthetic reasons.
It’s common to give someone a houseplant or floral arrangement when someone dies. However, if your friend has outdoor space, you might consider purchasing a flowering bush or small tree as a sympathy gift.
This gift is a perfect one for gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts. It is also the ideal environmentally friendly gift.
Does your friend not have a yard or outdoor space? Purchase a tree in their loved one’s name. There are companies that oversee the planting of trees in deforested areas. The company provides a certificate to give to your friend informing them of the gift.
In the age of digital photos, many people don’t bother printing out pictures for display. Peruse through your friend’s social media page and find images to print and frame.
Of course, you could also give your friend a digital frame so they can load the pictures that are most important to them.
Christmas tree ornament
In addition to acknowledging the death at the time of the funeral, you might also want to give a friend a personalized Christmas tree ornament when the winter holidays approach. Many companies specialize in such products, but you can also make an ornament on your own if you are crafty.
Memorial ornaments come in all sorts of styles, such as crosses, angels, cardinals, wings, or butterflies.
Is your friend or family member’s home full of tchotchkes? They may not have room to display another memorial item. If this is the case, you can give your friend something unique to display outside, such as a stepping stone or an outdoor flag.
These items can be personalized, but they could also show the image of something related to death, such as a cardinal, dove, or heart.
Before your friend scatters or inters their loved one’s cremated remains, consider giving them a piece of cremation jewelry made by a company like Eterneva. These necklaces, bracelets, rings, or keychains have tiny receptacles to hold a small amount of cremains inside. This gift may not appeal to everyone, especially if their faith dictates that the cremains must remain together.
Just Do Something
If you are new to sympathy gifts, you might be struggling to pick something appropriate. For some, the act of losing someone makes them more attuned to the right gift versus one that misses the mark.
Purchasing or making an obituary keepsake is a thoughtful gift. Your friend will undoubtedly want to keep their loved one’s obituary for the rest of their lives, so finding a way to preserve the text is helpful. But don’t overlook the things that you can do for your friend that can’t be purchased.
If possible, go to the visitation and funeral. No one feels comfortable at these events, but your friend will feel better knowing you are there to offer support.
Don’t avoid talking about the deceased. Your loved one may want to share memories and express their grief.
Finally, make an effort to reach out to your friend more often than usual. They may not want to jump back into your everyday routine, but keep trying to connect—perhaps in some other way.
The sympathy gift you choose may not be as important as the amount of support you offer your friend following the death.