Thoughtful Holiday Gifts to Honor Loved Ones

Respectfully honor loved ones during the holidays with these clever memorial ideas.

If you have a bereaved family member, partner, or friend, ask them if they want to exchange gifts this year. If so, there are several ways to honor lost loved ones. 

These memorial gifts are also appropriate if you are grieving but want to mark the holidays in their memory. 

Keep Them Close with Memorial Jewelry

Memorial jewelry lets you keep your loved one close to you. You might be a friend or relative who wants to give a thoughtful gift, or you are selecting memorial jewelry for yourself. Hundreds of high-quality keepsake jewelry items are available, including pendants, bracelets, rings, and even keychains. 

  • Cremation Jewelry uses lockets, pendants, or cylinders that discreetly hold a small amount of cremated ashes, a lock of hair, or dried flowers.
  • Photo Engraved Jewelry transforms a picture into the ultimate personalized tribute. 
  • Fingerprint Jewelry uses your loved one’s unique print on charms, pendants, rings, and more.

Create Memorial Diamonds from Ashes

Whether you have cremated ashes at home or recently lost a loved one, you can celebrate their life by making a diamond from their ashes or hair. Like diamonds found in nature, lab-created memorial diamonds use carbon, heat, and pressure to create stunning one-of-a-kind gemstones. Memorial diamonds in rings, pendants, bracelets, or earrings can be passed down to children and grandchildren as a loving tribute that will be cherished for generations.

Start a Scholarship or Make a Donation

Donating in someone’s memory to their favorite charity helps keep their legacy alive. A charitable donation is appropriate for all relationships: friends, family members, neighbors, and work colleagues. 

You can also start a scholarship for a loved one at their alma mater or in their professional area. Parents who lost a child may find comfort in knowing that a local or deserving student will receive financial assistance for college.

>> Click here for our holiday grief survival guide

Lay a Holiday Wreath at Their Resting Place

Consider a seasonal gift such as a holiday wreath or poinsettias to brighten a loved one’s resting place. If your loved one enjoyed decorating, you might want to place a small evergreen potted plant with ornaments (always check with the cemetery or maintenance staff). If your loved one is a former service member, Wreaths Across America is a non-profit agency that places wreaths on veterans’ headstones and memorials. 

Give a Memorial Candle

Memorial candles and candleholders either have a loved one’s photo, dates of birth and death, an inspirational quote, or a combination of all three. You might opt for a simple votive candle holder, lantern-style, or hurricane globe holder. Memorial candles make a lovely holiday gift in either traditional candles or LED for safer, long-term illumination. A memorial candle called a yahrzeit is a thoughtful gift for Jewish families in mourning. Traditionally, family members light a memorial candle at the year anniversary of a loved one’s passing.

Transform Ashes into Touchstones 

Parting Stone offers a clean alternative to storing or scattering a loved one’s remains. Cremated ashes become smooth, natural stone-like spheres that are safe to hold, carry, display, or spread. No two are the same. Whether in a home setting, within a glass-front niche, or on top of a headstone, these memorial spheres provide years of meaningful contact with a loved one.

Plant a Memorial Tree in Their Memory

Planting a tree in memory of someone’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, or friend is a loving gesture that celebrates the cycle of life. Trees release oxygen, help reduce soil erosion and contribute to a healthier ecosystem. ShareLife partners with American Forests, a non-profit agency that restores and protects forests throughout North America. Whether you plant one tree or ten, memorial trees are appropriate and appreciated. 

Memorialize Them Online

If your loved one used social media, you can use their accounts to create an online tribute. Facebook and Instagram allow authorized individuals to transfer an active account into a memorial state. Friends, family members, and the public can post messages, stories, photos, and videos. 

Easy DIY Memorial Ornaments

If your family celebrates the holidays with a tree, here are three ideas for a memorial ornament:

Pillow Ornament

Use one of your loved one’s shirts to create this heart-shaped ornament. To make it even easier, use pinking shears to cut out the fabric (so it won’t fray) and use fabric glue instead of sewing the sides together. 

Paper Ornament 

Your loved one’s signature becomes a beautiful keepsake ornament. You’ll find inexpensive plastic ornament globes at any craft store. 

Photo Ornament

Use a copy of your loved one’s picture and signature (if you want a different design on each side) to create this homespun photo ornament

When in Doubt, Ask About Memorial Gifts

There are many appropriate gifts and tributes to give someone mourning a loved one. Your ShareLife care advisor is a great resource who can steer you in the right direction for memorial jewelry, Eterneva Diamonds, Parting Stone, and other keepsake items. 

Since some of these require physical cremated remains, ask the gift’s recipient for permission. If you are the bereaved and want to personalize jewelry or create a memorial diamond, talk to your siblings, parents, and other family members. Listen and respect the gift bearer and recipient to help ensure a positive outcome for all. 

>> For more on grieving during the holidays, click here