When someone we love passes away we often want to decorate their grave or wall niche with something a little more meaningful than the typical bunch of flowers. Maybe we want to find items that showcase their personality, tell a story about who they were and what they achieved, or maybe we want to adorn their grave with something subtle but special.
Flowers are a popular choice for good reason – they’re beautiful, grown from the earth, and can be carefully selected to highlight something special about your loved one (for example, their favourite colour, their favourite type of flower, or maybe the very fact that they loved gardening). Adding flowers to the grave of a loved one can seem ‘typical’ or ‘not-very-unique’, but you can definitely find ways to add a personal touch to the flowers you choose.
Items that represent milestones
Each wedding, birthday, engagement, school graduation or celebration feels different when your loved one is no longer there. Grappling with their absence is often one of the hardest parts of grief. Finding new ways to bring your loved one into those moments – even though they aren’t physically there – can help you cope a little better with that grief and absence.
Try bringing a photo of you on your birthday to their grave, or a wedding invitation – a memento of special moments can be a beautiful way to show their headstone some love, while also bringing your loved one back into your world for a moment.
Craft sentimental pieces
Whether you’re already pretty handy with a needle and thread or you’re keen on learning something new and creative, crafting items like quilts, knitted pieces (scarves, gloves, blankets, etc), banners, flower holders or more, can be a lovely (and colourful!) way to decorate your loved one's burial plot or wall niche.
Celebrate holidays and festivals at their grave
Is Halloween coming up? Christmas? Easter? Consider bringing festive decorations to their grave! While a Christmas tree might not be the most practical grave decoration, a Christmas stocking, crocheted rabbit and some festive flowers might be the perfect addition to their grave in the lead up to the holidays.
Bring a coin
This is a rarer grave decoration choice, with origins in Latin America. Symbolising the fact that you’ve visited the grave of a deceased loved one, this tradition is often reserved for those who have served in the military (or used by members of the military themselves when honouring a grave of one of their military friends).
Your loved one didn’t have to have an affinity for collectibles in order for this to be a meaningful way to decorate their grave! Figurines come in all shapes, sizes and themes, and they’re a lovely way to talk to some of your loved one’s hobbies, passions or personality traits.
You can often find figurines on online marketplaces like Etsy, or you can get a little craft and make one yourself! The choice is yours.
Some cemeteries allow you to place small bird feeders on graves. This can be a lovely way to bring life to your loved one’s grave while also providing you with some peaceful entertainment every time you visit the site.
Create a container garden
Just like a bird feeder, some cemeteries allow you to create small container gardens that can remain on the grave of your loved one long-term. This allows you to grow special plants and flowers on the grave of your loved one, and can also provide you with a more positive incentive to visit their grave (so not every visit needs to be one of sadness and grief).
Grave decorations can be boring if you want them to be, but there’s nothing more meaningful than spicing things up a little and adding a personal touch to your loved one’s resting place. There’s no need to stick to the status quo – feel free to create unique decorations of your own if none of the above options tickle your fancy. As long as the cemetery allows it, your options can often be endless.