Celebrating the holidays without all of your loved ones by your side can be hard — after all, the holidays are supposed to be the most joyful time of year. It can be harder still if your family is suddenly smaller due to the loss of a pet.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Pet Memorial Ornaments for Dogs
- Pet Memorial Ornaments for Cats
- Other Types of Pet Memorial Ornaments
Many families don’t feel complete without one, as our pets often feel as important to us as family members. With some creativity, planning, and reflection, however, it’s possible to preserve their memory and keep their presence near.
Wondering how to keep your pet around during the holidays in a tasteful way? Decorating your home with memorial ornaments in your pets’ likeness may help you feel like they’re still here with you. Below, we’ve provided the 15 best types of holiday pet memorial ornaments — for cats, dogs, and more. You may also be interested in these unique pet memorial and remembrance ideas.
Pet Memorial Ornaments for Dogs
When coping with the loss of a pet, you may not be thinking about the best ways to remember him or her. However, there are resources available, such as this guide for planning a pet funeral.
When things settle down a bit and the holidays kick into high gear, you can consider the following pet memorial ornaments for dogs. The ideas below can help you express support for someone who’s recently lost a dog or can be bought for your own family when you all are ready. Of course, all of these ideas can also apply to cats, horses, or really any pet.
1. A paw print ornament
When some dogs pass away or have to be put down, some veterinary specialists offer casts of their paw print to have as a keepsake. You can use this cast later on to make other items, such as a custom ornament for your Christmas tree.
You can also carefully copy the cast and create different forms of art to have around your home. If you don’t have access to a cast of your pet’s exact paw print, no one will know the difference. It’s a subtle way to remind you of your pet and can easily be replicated.
2. A plush ornament
Some online creators offer custom stuffed animals that copy any pets’ likeness if you provide a photograph. This is a great option to help you create an ornament of your pet, yet there might be size limitations. You can always add a bow or a hat to a custom stuffed animal and bring it out during the holidays, too.
If you enjoy DIY projects, you can also look up how to make your own sewn or plush ornaments out of felt or other materials.
3. A clay ornament
Clay, such as fimo or polymer clay, is easy to work with in most cases. You can likely buy a good amount of clay for an affordable price. These types of products are also easy to finish at-home in your own oven or just through air-drying.
Clay is also fairly versatile, and you can always paint your creation for some extra flair. Paint your own pottery places also offer a wide variety of items to work with if you’re more comfortable with your painting skills versus your sculpture skills.
4. A simple glass ornament
Making your own glass ornament may sound complicated, but you can create a very simple memorial for your pet in this way. Find a globe ornament in a nice color, size, and weight, and then purchase a paint or permanent marker.
You can also likely find stencils or stick-on letters to write your pet’s name, birthdate, and anything else you’d like to include. You can paint a portrait of your pet on the ornament as well. Custom etched or blown glass ornaments are also likely available with a quick search.
5. A nametag ornament
You may find it hard to part with your pet’s collar and other personal effects — but that doesn’t mean you have to store them or throw them away.
Consider repurposing part of your pet’s collar or tags into an ornament you bring out during the holidays. That way, it won’t always be on view and can feel a bit more special.
Pet Memorial Ornaments for Cats
Dealing with pet loss can be incredibly tough. You may find it difficult to lose a cat since they are often in our lives even longer than dogs.
However, if you didn’t feel inspired by the ideas for pet memorial ornaments for dogs above, here are some more ideas for cats. You may also be interested in these valuable tips for coping with a pet loss.
6. A wreath
Wreaths are incredibly versatile. They can come in all sizes and deal with just about any subject matter you can think of. Wreaths can also be made out of just about any materials out there. Creating a unique and custom wreath to commemorate your cat is a great way to showcase your love,
7. A knitted ornament
Cats and yarn often go together. Creating a knitted ornament — or ordering one to be custom-made — is another unique memorial idea for your cat.
If you can’t create a full-out yarn version of your cat, creating just about any ornament out of their favorite yarn will do nicely. You can also create a garland for your tree, banister, or mantle out of a yarn your cat liked, too.
8. An urn or vase
If you cremated your pet, reserving some of his or her ashes and placing them in an urn or vase — either on your tree or with your other holiday decor — can help you feel as though they’re close. You can create a special area to put your pet’s urn along with a photo or a candle or two.
9. A mini picture frame
Mini picture frame ornaments are often easy to find. It’s easy to customize this type of ornament with a small photo of your cat. You can also likely find matching sets of these frames and even create a dedicated tree with photos and other ornaments dedicated to your cat.
10. A “gingerbread” ornament
Did you ever make gingerbread ornaments as a kid and still have them years later? By making a special type of dough that won’t spoil, you can keep a nicely scented reminder of your pet around for years to come.
Other Types of Pet Memorial Ornaments
Ornaments don't just have to mean fragile decorations that you hang on a Christmas tree.
There are other types of ornaments and décor that you can fill your home with during the holidays to better accommodate your festivities and aesthetic. Of course, all of these ideas can easily be customized to honor your late pet.
11. A stocking with your pet’s name
Stockings are a traditional piece of décor at Christmas, whether or not you have a fireplace. Getting a new embroidered version in your pet’s honor is a nice way to keep them around at the holidays if you didn’t already have one. You can always place a smaller one in a different area of your home on a cabinet or doorknob.
12. A menorah with a pet’s name
Having a separate menorah to remember your pet is another nice way to honor them. Consider placing it in his or her favorite window to look out of or another area of your home they liked to lie in.
13. A dreidel with a pet’s name
Since a dreidel has multiple sides, you can also paint different scenes or nicknames associated with your pet. As the years go by, you can add different items to your collection to bring out at the holidays.
14. Mugs or dessert plates
Though not ornaments per se, creating a set of dessert plates or mugs with your pet’s name or picture on them is a nice way to tie them to a specific aspect of your celebrations.
You can also hang these mugs or plates on the wall where other decor normally goes to add a festive touch if you don’t necessarily want to use them.
15. A custom cookie-cutter
Buying or creating a custom cookie-cutter is a fun way to incorporate your pet’s memory into holiday traditions such as baking.
You can purchase a few different options — such as a paw print, a face, a cutout of their silhouette, and more, so you can get even more creative with the designs.
Remembrance Is Part of the Healing Process
Remembering a loved one — especially a pet — can be painful at times. However, it’s possible to grow and heal without them there, even during the holidays. Surrounding yourself with a few thoughtful items to represent your pet can add meaning to preserving his or her memory.