Memorial keepsakes are precious items that connect us, in both small and profound ways, to those who have passed. Sometimes, memorial keepsakes are deeply personal, such as a favourite piece of clothing someone close to you used to wear. On other occasions, however, they are less intimate (if no less special) and intended for all that knew the individual in life, given out as small mementos of remembrance as funeral favours to attendees.
Whether you are trying to choose a meaningful funeral favour to hand out to your guests, or wish to create something for yourself or another close family member that can act as a poignant reminder of someone lost, in this article we explore some creative ideas for memorial keepsakes and funeral favours.
For Funeral Attendees
Funeral favours are small, thoughtful gifts for those invited to a funeral to take home with them, expressing gratitude for their attendance while also acting as a tribute to the departed. There is no pressure or obligation to provide funeral favours – many people choose not to – but if you are organising a funeral and would like to give your guests something, there are plenty of options available to you.
Jewellery and Charms
Using jewellery as a funeral favour needn’t be extravagant. Whether it’s a cord bracelet, pewter charm or memorial coin, small, inexpensive pieces of jewellery can be the perfect way to honour a loved one.
Seeds and memorial plants
Flowers have long been a part of funeral services, and using them as favours for guests is becoming increasingly popular. One option that is often used are seed packets (or plantable seed paper) containing wildflowers or forget-me-nots, which grow into a beautiful tribute. This is particularly appropriate for people who loved nature and cared for the environment, as flowers benefit pollinators, as well as making lovely additions to our verges and gardens.
Many of us will light a candle in honour of people we have lost – with this small ritual helping us to connect with our memories and draw comfort from the love we still hold for them. For this reason, it is not unusual to see votive candles used as a memorial keepsake, and these are sometimes imprinted with words of remembrance.
Mourning cards, bookmarks and order of service booklets are all examples of funeral stationary, and all can be used as a memorial keepsakes by attendees. You may choose, for example, to create a beautifully printed memorial poem which people can take home with them to act as a reminder and comfort.
Bubble funeral favours
This may sound unusual, but for many people funerals are as much about celebrating the life and personality of their loved one as mourning their passing. Giving out bubble bottles can add an uplifting and meaningful element to the service, and are especially favoured by children, creating a peaceful moment of reflection as people blow bubbles up into the sky.
For Close Family and Friends
Funeral favours are a considerate way to help honour someone’s life, but if we were particularly close to someone who has passed away, we may be looking for memorial keepsake ideas that are more personal and profound. We may also want to give something to another family member or close friend that they will treasure.
If a child has lost a parent, the adults in their life can be at a loss for what to do in order to provide comfort to them, especially when they are coping with their own grief. A small gesture that is often used in the US is to create a “memory bear“, a cloth bear made from some particularly loved pieces of clothing worn by the parent in life.
This bear can then be hugged or talked to by young children, and even act as a talisman and memento for the whole family.
Similarly to memory bears, memory quilts are made from pieces of clothing, and can be embellished with phrases, photo-printed fabric and charms. A family may choose to commission a memory quilt from a seamstress, or it could be taken on as an individual or group project, with people making squares to add to the quilt that are meaningful to them. This kind of focused work, while not for everyone, can be comforting to some, and help them process their grief.
Memorial art can take the form of portraits, collages or even “DNA art” (the visual rendering of someone’s unique DNA). In fact, there are few limits on the potential of memorial art, and it offers the opportunity to create something as unique as the person it is commemorating.
Christmas is a time where we tend to think about family and loved ones lost, and for some, placing a memorial bauble on the Christmas tree is an important tradition. A fictionalised example of this can be seen in a poignant moment in the otherwise comedic Royle Family episode The New Sofa, where it transpires granddaughter Denise has a bauble dedicated to her beloved Nana.
Memorial jewellery for close relatives and friends tends to be substantial and intimate than that used as funeral favours. Heirloom jewellery is perhaps the most common example, where someone wears pieces once belonging to the individual who is no longer with us, but it can include original jewellery as well. For instance, you can choose to have ashes set into glass or resin, or commission an inscribed ring or pendant. It is also possible to turn cremation ashes into diamonds.
When we want to keep the memory of a person lost nearby, it is only natural that we suffuse certain objects with special meanings. Memorial keepsakes are by their nature intensely personal, precious things, and we hope that if you were looking for something special to memorialise your loved one or give out as a funeral favour that you have found some inspiration here.