A Holiday Gift Giving Guide for Grievers

December 9, 2015
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Article originally appeared on What’s Your Grief?

Whether you are shopping as a griever or for a griever (or both!), shopping at the holidays can be tough.  You are surrounded by all those happy people at the mall, struggling to find the motivation to shop, struggling to find the ‘right’ gift for someone who has suffered a devastating loss this year, all to the soundtrack of holiday music that may be bringing more tears than joy.

So today we have a quick holiday gift giving guide for grievers.  This is just a handful of ideas of grief gifts you can buy for someone grieving, or as someone grieving.  We know there are many other great ideas, so please leave a comment with your ideas to keep our list going!

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Memorial Jewelry – the variety when it comes to memorial jewelry seems to grow every day. You can never go wrong with jewelry, and memorial jewelry allows someone to remember the person they’ve lost.  You can get creative and make your own, or below are some great examples of memorial jewelry you can purchase online.

handwritting memorial pendant
memorial necklace
memorial necklace 2

Photographs – If you have a nice photograph of the person who died that other friends or family may not have, a framed photo can be a lovely gesture.  Things Remembered is always a great option for getting frames engraved (or almost anything else engraved, including memorial candles, memory boxes, jewelry, etc).  A google search will also bring up a ton of memorial frame options.

Memorial Ornaments– decorating at the holidays can be tough, especially in the first couple years after a loss. Giving someone an ornament in memory of their loved one can bring the memory of their loved one into the holiday and can become a holiday tradition, giving a new ornament each year.  It could be an engraved ornament, it could be one with a photograph, it could just be something that reminds you of the person who died.  This may be something you create, or something you purchase.  If you would like to purchase, etsy is  a great place to look.  Also, Hallmark puts out an annual memorial ornament (this year’s is the second ornament below).
sympathy gift ornament

sympathy gift ornament 3

sympathy gift ornament 4

Items that belonged to your loved one – Parting with a loved ones belongings can be difficult, which we have written about in the past. If you are responsible for the belongings of someone who died, one thing you can do is give select, meaningful items to others as a holiday gift.  It can be jewelry, cuff links, a piece of artwork, or anything else that a friend or family member would treasure.

Framed Recipes, Letters, Notes, etc – when someone dies their handwritten notes, recipes, and letters take on a new significance. If you have something like this it can be framed and turned into a nice gift.
recipes 4

Tammy Bears – No, that is not a typo! A Tammy Bear is a bear made out of an article of clothing.  If you visit the Tammy Bear website you can order a custom bear made from whatever piece of clothing you wish.  This is a meaningful way to do something with your loved one’s clothing, while also giving a meaningful gift.  I am sure that if you are more crafty than I am you could probably make a bear like this yourself.
tammy bear 3

 Quilts – Like a Tammy Bear, you can make quilts out of someone’s clothing. Check out some amazing examples of memorial quilts here. This takes more resources, but can be a very meaningful gift.  This is an item you can have made or make yourself.
memorial quilt collage

Massage or Spa Gift Certificate – when we are grieving it becomes very hard to take care of ourselves. Our bodies physically hold on to the stress that comes with a loss.  A gift certificate for a message or other spa treatment can encourage a griever to take care of themselves

Memory Boxes – a memory or memorial box is a classic grief gift.  There are many online, ranging dramatically in size and style.  A small memory box that I personally like is below.  A google search will bring you plenty of other options!

memory boxThings your loved one would have loved – one of the things that can be tough about holiday shopping is seeing things your loved one would have loved.  It is a painful reminder they are gone.  Consider that you can still buy those items and give them to someone else who would love them too (even if it isn’t someone you would normally shop for).  You can also donate these items to a charity in memory of your loved one.

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