How to decorate memorials throughout the year
Many bereaved people like to keep their loved one’s memorials looking fresh and cared for; placing a variety of accessories and ornaments in the vicinity to brighten it up and demonstrate that the departed is never far from their thoughts.
We know it’s not always easy to visit the memorial regularly, plus it’s simply not practical at certain times of the year. That doesn’t mean that the memorial shouldn’t be adorned, though. Here are a few examples of commonly seen memorial decorations that will endure, year round.
It’s not unusual to see a vase of flowers next to a plaque or gravestone; many people purchase a memorial vase after the funeral has taken place. Usually made of marble or granite, these smooth and polished adornments not only compliment a memorial, but they keep your flowers upright and secure.
That’s unlike the jam jars that some people use, which can so easily topple over in the least breeze and smash. No one wants to have to clear up broken glass, do they? The vases are sturdy and can be fixed to the ground or incorporated as part of a kerb set. What’s more, some vases are big enough that they can be engraved with some meaningful words – so if there’s something you didn’t or couldn’t say on the memorial itself, then the vase makes for a lovely addition.
You have your vase, but what do you put in it? Silly question: flowers, of course. Fresh flowers are beautiful, but they don’t last very long and are susceptible to the full-blown forces of nature. There are alternatives, however. We’ve all seen artificial flowers, which can vary considerably in quality, but make a good option. Another option is wooden flowers, which you can easily find online. These are pretty and a nice idea for the warmer months. When the year starts to become more drizzly, ceramic flowers will make an attractive effect. Again, these can be bought online and usually supplied as individual stems which will fit in your vase easily. Or for that really personal touch, how about using beaded flowers? These intricate and gorgeous alternatives are waterproof and so last for a long time without needing to be replaced.
Perhaps this isn’t the most common sight in the UK, but some people take comfort brightening up a memorial with seasonal decorations – it makes them feel like their departed loved one is still part of the celebrations and is remembered at that time of year. It’s possible to create Christmas floral arrangements which incorporate pine branches, holly berries and ribbons simply by purchase a headstone saddle frame. Others like to use tree baubles and tinsel for something fun. It’s not unlikely that you’ll see special arrangements for Mother’s or Father’s Day, too.
Do bear in mind that churchyards do have rules around what can be placed on or near a memorial, so check before going ahead.
It’s heart-breaking to lose a child, and whether it’s a big kid or a little one, placing a favourite toy besides the memorial can be a nice idea. From cars and dolls to LEGO sets and that much-loved teddy, a toy can bring comfort to those who have been left behind – it’s almost as though it’s guarding the memorial somehow. Again, some cemeteries have strict rules about what you can leave by a graveside so do check what is and is not permitted.
While you’ll need to ask the churchyard or the cemetery for permission, it may be possible to plant a small tree or place some potted shrubs or a flowering plant close to the memorial. Although this will require some maintenance throughout the year, this is a lovely, natural option which can last for many years in some cases.
You’ll probably spend a long time deciding on a memorial and an inscription which best represents your loved one; decorating it with pertinent items can just add that little something reassuring and provide you with a sense of solace that they are always in your thoughts.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of memorials, please do get in touch.