No matter the holiday, jewelry gifts for Mom can be some of the most meaningful – if you think carefully about your gift. Whether you’re giving Mother’s Day jewelry or a necklace to honor Mom’s birthday, consider her tastes, her interests, and what might have special meaning. Rather than just choosing a piece of jewelry because it’s trendy, put some careful consideration into the woman who will be receiving your gift.
What Jewelry Does Mom Already Have?
Before you go out to buy anything, take a few days to look at what the woman you’re buying for is wearing. Does she tend toward pearls and conservative pieces? Is she into sparkly necklaces and dangly earrings? Does she have a quirky sense of humor and likes fun, trendy items? While a simple, heart-shaped pendant might appeal to most moms, taking the time to consider what she really likes and already wears shows how much you care.
If you have the opportunity, take a look inside her jewelry box. This is even more important if you or other family members have bought her jewelry before – not even Mom wants to get the same bracelet twice! Does she tend toward simple pendants or big, chunky pieces? Gold or silver? Maybe you’ll find lots of bracelets but not so many necklaces. Just like looking at what she wears shows you her preferences, seeing what she already has can give you a bigger picture of what jewelry gifts for Mom are likely to be most welcome.
Consider Your Family and Mom’s Interests
Once you know the type of thing your mom likes, consider how you can incorporate additional meaningful elements. If your mom enjoys sports, maybe she’d like a pendant with the logo of her favorite team. A great idea for Mother’s Day jewelry is to commemorate a recent family trip with a charm bracelet highlighting the places that you visited. Mother’s rings and necklaces with the birthstones of all the children in the family are wonderful traditional jewelry gifts for Mom.
Honor the People Mom Loves
Most of us have lost people in our lives that we love, and honoring those loses can be especially meaningful. If your mother has lost someone special recently, why not choose a piece of memorial jewelry as a gift. Choose from necklaces, rings, earrings, and more, all designed to honor those we’ve lost. If you have a photograph of your mother and her mother, why not have it engraved on a photo engraved pendant and give it as a Mother’s Day jewelry gift. You’ll show your mother how much you’re thinking of her.
Have a Budget Before You Shop
Most of our mothers don’t want us spending too much or going into debt to give them a gift. Show Mom that you’ve put her good advice on saving money to work by setting yourself a budget and sticking to it. If you know what you have to spend and stick to looking at jewelry options only in that range, you’ll be able to narrow your search more quickly. You can find a great deal of beautiful, quality jewelry for less than $100, so there’s no need to break the bank.
Customize Your Jewelry Gifts for Mom
Once you’ve picked out a meaningful jewelry gift for Mom that’s in your budget, why not see if you can have it engraved? Many jewelers and online jewelry retailers offer custom engraving at an affordable price. Add a special message for your mom or simply your initials and the date. It’s the little extra touches that make a gift special.
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Choosing the best jewelry gifts for friends or family can seem simple, but once you start shopping, you’ll find that there are so many options to choose from. So how do you choose the best gift jewelry? Consider the following tips to make your shopping trip an easier one.
1. Set Yourself a Budget
Before you start shopping for any jewelry gifts, set yourself a realistic budget. The price range for jewelry is extremely large; you can find many pieces that cost as little as $20 or less, while many others cost well into the $1,000s. If you know what you can honestly afford to spend, you’ll instantly narrow down your options. And just because you set a relatively low budget, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to low quality. Many good quality jewelry gifts can be found in the $100 – $150 range.
2. Educate Yourself
As you consider jewelry gift ideas, make sure that you know what you’re buying. If you’re considering jewelry with gemstones, do you know the difference between natural, laboratory-created, and imitation stones? What should you look for in a gemstone? What type of metal does the person who you’re giving the gift to prefer? If he or she is allergic to nickel, for example, you’ll want to make sure that the piece you choose doesn’t include this metal. If she likes “silver” jewelry, should you buy white gold, sterling silver, stainless steel, or platinum?
Clearly, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to buying jewelry. Here are some quick tips to guide your search:
- Save money by avoiding big name brands. You’ll pay extra for the name. Shop in local stores or from reputable online retailers.
- If you want gold, 18k typically offers the best combination of color and price, but 14k and 10k are also good options and will cost less. Gold is expensive, however, so you might want to consider plated or gold vermeil, which is sterling silver coated in 14k or 24k gold.
- Sterling silver is a beautiful option when considering “silver” metals. Platinum is a rare white-silver metal that’s significantly more expensive. An increasing amount of jewelry is being made with stainless steel; it’s affordable, rust proof, and extremely durable, but it’s more commonly found in casual, everyday pieces.
- Think beyond gold and silver – cultured pearls are a lovely option, for example. Other jewelry gift ideas include natural or synthetic (lab-created) gemstone jewelry, or semi-precious stones that offer a similar look to more well-known gems but for a much lower price.
- If you’re considering a diamond, make sure that you get everything in writing, including information about the quality. Ask for an appraisal that includes the qualities of the diamond or a certificate of replacement cost along with your sales receipt.
The more you know going into your purchase, the less likely you are to spend more than the gift jewelry is worth.
3. Research the Recipient
The best jewelry gifts often reflect the preferences and interests of the person who is receiving them. What type of jewelry does that person already wear? Have you been in a situation with them where they’ve mentioned not having jewelry that would go with their outfit? Knowing what a person has and what they like to wear can give you great guidance for choosing a new piece. For example, one man might love a pair of attractive cufflinks or a tie clip, but another might put them in a drawer and never wear them.
Knowing the person’s hobbies or interests can also give you more jewelry gift ideas. If he or she enjoys football, for example, you might choose a pendant with their favorite team’s logo. A pair of paw print earrings might be great for that dog or cat lover in your life. Choosing a gift that shows that you’re paying attention to your friend or loved one’s interests gives it that much more meaning.
4. Know What Your Gift Is Saying
This is an area where some men, in particular, get into trouble. Although giving jewelry to family members is usually pretty straightforward, jewelry gifts to people with whom you have a casual or romantic relationship can potentially send the wrong meaning if you’re not careful. Spending a lot of money on a gift – giving diamonds, for example – is usually only appropriate for a serious relationship. Jewelry that includes hearts is usually fine for most personal relationships, but is usually not a good idea for someone you just met or with whom you have a very casual connection. Unless you have a clear understanding with the person you’re giving the gift to, it’s best to avoid giving a ring, especially one that might be confused for an engagement ring.
Surprising someone you care about with romantic gift jewelry can create a wonderful moment that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Or, if you’re not really sure about where the relationship stands, it can be awkward and unwelcome. Don’t give an expensive or romantic gift unless you and the recipient are clear about your relationship.
5. Give a Gift With Meaning
Jewelry can be a great gift to commemorate a moment in a person’s life. Rather than choose a generic piece of jewelry, why not look for something that reflects the event? For a new job, maybe a pair of classic pearl earrings that would be appropriate for the office. An attractive pair of cufflinks could be the perfect choice for the groom, best man, or father of the bride at a family wedding.
If the person you are giving the gift to has recently suffered a loss, then memorial jewelry can be an especially meaningful gift. You can find a wide range of memorial jewelry options, including those depicting angels, crosses, dolphins, and more. In most cases, this type of jewelry can be engraved with the name, birthdate, and date of death of the deceased. Many animal lovers find that pet memorial jewelry also brings a measure of comfort during their time of loss. With either type of jewelry, you’re showing your love and concern for the recipient.
6. Personalize Your Gift
Memorial jewelry isn’t the only type of jewelry that can be engraved. Many types of jewelry can be personalized with engraving or other details. You might add a Swarovski crystal charm to a necklace, for example, or have not only the person’s name engraved, but also an image or symbol. Personalized jewelry gifts are unique, giving the recipient something special to treasure.
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For most people, the loss of a parent at any age is devastating. We are often left feeling alone and full of grief, as this person who has been there for us for all of our lives is suddenly gone. If a friend or loved one has experienced such a loss, there are sympathy gifts for the loss of a mother that can be meaningful and show your support.
Give Your Time
In many cases, simply being present and available to the person who is grieving can make all of the difference. The loss of a parent can make us feel like orphans, alone in the world, and having a loving friend nearby can be a quiet reminder that there are still people who love us. Small gestures, such as a card, phone call, or visit, may be very welcome. Pay attention to the cues your friend is giving you – they may be looking for an outlet to discuss their feelings, or simply want to feel “normal” for a while and not talk about the loss. Giving them the freedom to react and interact how they need to may be the best sympathy gifts for the loss of a mother they can receive.
It’s important to remember that different people grieve in different ways, however. If your friend or loved one chooses not to reach out to you or wants to take some time to be alone with their grief and loss, that’s OK. You should still check in and make sure that the person knows you’re available, but don’t be offended or suggest that they are not reacting in the “right” way if they don’t want to spend time with you. If you notice that your friend’s behavior has become extreme, such as drinking heavily or staying in bed for multiple days at a time, you may need to step in. Your friend may need professional help before he hurts himself or others.
Give Your Actions
Many people who experience the loss of a parent have a difficult time engaging with “normal” life again. It may seem difficult to cook dinner or clean the house or pick the kids up from school. People who have experienced loss also often need to deal with the administrative tasks related to that death, such as making funeral plans and meeting with lawyers, which can be time consuming.
Consider taking actions to help make life a little easier as bereavement gifts for the loss of a mother. Offer to make dinner, pick the kids up from school, or babysit while a parent goes to talk to the funeral director. You could offer to help clean up the house before or after the memorial service. Gifts of food are often welcome, but if the friend has been overwhelmed with casseroles and pies, maybe now isn’t the right time. Wait a week or two before offering your gift – once the first rush of sympathy has passed, your friend might be feeling like everyone has moved on or forgotten them. Showing that you’re still present and thinking of their loss may help soothe that pain.
Give a Memorial Gift
If you’d like to give more tangible memorial gifts for the loss of a mother, consider small keepsake gifts. You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a gift – a simple, small, personalized item may be more meaningful. Consider the following sympathy gift ideas for the loss of a mother:
Give to a Meaningful Cause
Rather than something tangible, you may want to give your time or money to a meaningful cause. If your friend – or his or her mother – was a volunteer at the local animal shelter or food pantry, for example, donating to that cause is a wonderful way to show your support. These sympathy gifts for the loss of a mother show that you are thinking of the things that are important to your friend and his or her family.
Of course, you can still make a donation of your time or money even if the deceased wasn’t connected to any specific cause. Try to choose an organization that means something to the deceased or his or her family, however; this isn’t the time to trumpet your own personal causes, unless you think they are also ones that the family supports. Any donation you make should be in support of them, not yourself.
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While the loss of any loved one is usually very difficult, the loss of a husband or father can leave a gap in our lives. When a friend or loved one has lost a parent or spouse, we often want to reach out to offer sympathy and support in a tangible way. If you’re looking for sympathy gifts for the loss of a father or husband, consider these suggestions.
Be Present and Give Support
For many people, the loss of a father or husband may feel like a major source of strength and support has disappeared. While you can’t replace that loss, showing your friend or loved one that they aren’t alone can be a great gift. If your friend has lost a parent, you may want to give sympathy gifts for the loss of a father that include simply listening to them talk about their dad or sharing stories about him. It’s important to let your friend know that he or she is not alone.
The loss of a husband can give rise to similar but different feelings. A husband is often not only a source of support, but also a partner and friend. If your friend has lost a spouse, you might consider sympathy gifts for loss of husband such as offering to pick up or babysit any children. Listening and offering words of sympathy can be extremely helpful, but so can offering to make dinner for the family or straighten up the house.
It’s important to never suggest that a friend of loved one is grieving in the “wrong” way. We all deal with grief differently, so if your friend’s reaction is not what yours would be, that’s OK. If you’ve gone through the pain of losing a father or husband, sharing your experiences may be valuable, but don’t assume that your friend will react the same way. Some people have complicated relationships with their parents, especially, and letting your friend know that all of their feelings are OK may be the best gift you can give.
If you’d like to give a memorial gift for the loss of a husband or father, consider items that reflect the interests, hobbies, or personality of the deceased. For an avid hunter, you might give an engraved memorial pendant in the shape of a bullet. There is a great deal of sports-themed memorial jewelry, and many items can be engraved or personalized. Consider giving a gift that helps the recipient remember their loved one fondly.
In addition to jewelry, there are a range of meaningful sympathy gift ideas for the loss of a father or husband. Photo memorial stones include an image of the deceased, and can be placed on a mantelpiece or bookshelf. A personalized stone garden bench is a lovely gift for a spouse whose husband was an avid gardener. Other gift ideas include memorial ornaments and candle holder stones. You don’t have to spend a lot to give meaningful memorial gifts for the loss of a husband or parent.
Share Favorite Experiences
Other memorial gift ideas for the loss of a father or spouse include sharing experiences with the friend or loved one. If your friend loved to go fishing with his father, for example, suggest that you go together as a way to remember what his dad loved. A spouse who regularly attended baseball games with their husband might welcome the idea of having a friend go with them to share the experience. Take the opportunity to share happy memories of the deceased during the trip or event.
Remember that offering to travel or accompany the child or spouse of the deceased may be welcomed, but other people might not want to share the experience. A friend who regularly took cruises with her husband might find great joy in sharing a trip with you, but another friend might feel that the experience is a personal one and feel uncomfortable with someone else there. There is nothing wrong with offering this type of experience as one of your sympathy gift ideas for the loss of a father, but don’t be offended or push if your friend or loved one declines.
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Over the past century our society has become distant from both death and the tending to our dead. According to Gary Laderman’s book Rest in Peace: a Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Industry in Twentieth-Century America, “The divide was produced by three social factors: changes in demographic patterns, the rise of hospitals as places of dying, and the growth of modern funeral homes” (p 1). Our mental, emotional, spiritual, financial and societal health has been negatively affected directly and indirectly by this disconnect. Because our relationship to death is at the core of what it is to be human, this detachment affects both individual and societal health.
But there is good news! A revolution to reconnect with the final rite of passage has begun. More and more organizations, community events (e.g. Death Cafes, TedTalks) articles, blogs, books, are addressing this issue. The National Home Funeral Alliance reports membership has grown over 200% in the last two years. The time has come for nurses (and others involved in end-of-life care) to take leading roles in assisting communities to reclaim the human and inalienable right to care for their own deceased loved ones.
Nurses are in the unique and profound position to strengthen the power and improve the health of this neglected link. According to Olausson and Ferrell in their 2013 study of nurses’ perspectives on the importance of after-death care, “across all settings, nurses are generally the only professionals whose care extends beyond the time of death” (p. 1). We have not only an opportunity but a responsibility to facilitate care beyond the time of death that is beneficial and empowering to those grieving. Bedside ritual is an example of such care. In Cacciatore’s and Flint’s poignant study of rituals and their “evolutionary benefits” (p 158), ritual can be described as “out of the ordinary activities that act as a bridge, crossing thresholds from one status to another” (p. 159). These acts “can help families make sense of chaos, cope with loss, and facilitate grieving” (Berry and Griffie, 2010, as cited in Olausson and Ferrel’s study, p.1).
As nurses who have journeyed with hundreds of dying people and their families, the cofounders of One Washcloth know how precious and transformative hands-on after-death care can be for those beginning the grieving process. Once given a washcloth, loved ones require little (if any) instruction. The simple act of wiping the brow or hands of a friend or family member who has died is intuitive, can be extremely therapeutic and is a ritual in its own right.
Through the simple gift of a washcloth, we hope for movement toward healing in our society as a whole, as we come to accept death as an important, honored part of life.
One Washcloth would like to hear from you! We hope to build community among those who value the importance of reconnecting our families, friends, clients, and culture with care of our loved ones in death. Our hope is that through sharing our stories, a qualitative research study might be undertaken to demonstrate the healing benefits of involvement in after-death care of loved ones.
(Editor’s note: Nurses have a powerful opportunity to transform end-of-life and peri-mortem care. Take it! The One Washcloth Project is a great way to start. Please share any other ideas you have, regardless of where you are in the healthcare spectrum. -Monica Williams-Murphy, MD)
Losing a child is likely to be devastating for any parent. If you know someone who has experienced this type of loss, you may have the urge to try to take away the pain or soothe it away. It’s important to remember that each person has their own grieving process, and that experiencing and working through grief can be very important. Instead of trying to take away the pain, offer your time and support to the parents and other family members. Knowing that they have your help if they need it may be one of the most welcome sympathy gifts that you can give.
Let the parent know that you are available to listen or simply be present while they grieve. You never know how valuable a simple word or gesture of kindness can be to someone who has experienced such a painful loss. Try not to impose yourself into the life of the person who is grieving, however; we all have our own ways of dealing with pain, and the parent may need some time to grieve, pray, or be alone with their memories. Grief takes time, and you shouldn’t try to rush someone else’s grieving process.
You should be on the lookout for extreme behavior or signs of severe depression. Even if the friend or loved one has close family around them, they may be too caught up in their own grief to realize how poorly the person is coping. If you notice that the person is drinking heavily or staying in bed for days in a row, they may need professional help. Reach out to the person’s family, a minister, or a counselor for assistance.
Memorial Gift Ideas
Before you give any sympathy gifts for the loss of a child, consider your relationship to the parent. If you don’t have a close personal relationship with the bereaved, you may want to consider a slightly less personal gift. You may want to send a card or flowers to the family, or make a donation in honor of the child to a cause you know they support. It’s likely that the parents have close friends and family around them, and while an honest expression of sympathy is likely to be welcome, it’s best not to intrude more if you don’t already have a close relationship.
If you do know the parent or parents well, however, think about what you know about them, their lives, and their interests. Families with several children may need help with the other kids, for example, and you could offer to babysit while the parents deal with making funeral arrangements. Food items are common sympathy gifts for the loss of a baby or child, but be sure that you consider what the family likes. Healthy dishes that can be frozen are a good idea, although comfort foods, like casseroles and desserts, get their name for a reason. If the family has been overwhelmed with food gifts, offer to help clean out the fridge or freezer and consider bringing your gift a few weeks later, after the initial outpouring of support has lessened.
Personalized Memorial Gifts
There are a range of sympathy gifts for the loss of a child that can be personalized for the family. If you want to give a gift to an individual parent, you might consider a piece of memorial jewelry. A mother who is religious might appreciate a memorial cross or angel pendant, for example. Many jewelry pieces can be engraved with a brief message or the name of the child. Other options include photo engraved jewelry, which has a photo of the child or family engraved directly onto the items, or print jewelry, which includes a fingerprint, handprint, or footprint of the deceased.
In some situations, such as a miscarriage or stillbirth, you may have no pictures or prints available. Jewelry can still be a good choice for stillborn memorial gifts. You may also want to consider a memorial garden stone, wind chimes, or stone statuary. Most of these items can be placed outside, and they may be used to create a special garden memorial to the child. Memorial candles and keepsake boxes can also make good gifts.
One unique and special sympathy gift that you may want to consider is a soft teddy bear keepsake holder. This bear comes in several sizes and has a zippered pocket in the back where cremains or other keepsakes can be kept. There is also a small pocket on the front. The teddy bear is soft and easy to hold, and a parent may find that it offers a physical source of comfort.
Give Patience and Understanding
No matter what type of sympathy gifts for the loss of a baby or child that you give, one of the most important things that you can do is give your patience and understanding. Consider your words and actions carefully, but try not to tiptoe around the grieving family. Unless you’ve actually lost a child yourself, telling a parent that you “know how they feel” may not be welcome. People grieve in different ways, and the person may be angry and scream or lash out. Remember that their reaction is likely not about you, and try not to take it personally.
If you’ve given the family a sympathy gift, they may choose not to display it. Some families appreciate having a memorial to their child in a special place where they can go and think about happy memories and experiences. Others simply find that type of reminder too painful. Remember as well that, just because the parent doesn’t want to display a gift when the loss is new, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be appreciated in the future when the grief is not so fresh.
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