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Displayed Cremains and Holiday Decor

Are you trying to decorate for the holidays but already have an urn on display? Here are some tips for displaying cremains and holiday decor.
How to Decorate for the Holidays If an Urn is on Display
How to Decorate for the Holidays If an Urn is on Display

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The majority of people are cremated today, which means more people have the cremated remains of a loved one than ever before. Around 20% of people currently have cremains stored at their home. The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) has done surveys to figure out what happens to cremated remains after they’re given to the family. It turns out a third of people keep the cremains at home. Most people that store the cremains at home choose to do one of two things:

  • Prominently display the urn with the cremains in a living space.
  • Hide the cremains away in a closet.

Dealing with a death during the holidays can be extremely difficult, but some people who keep cremains at home will run into an issue months or years down the road. The problem is – how do you decorate for the holidays with an urn on display?

If you’re faced with this issue there are a few ways to approach it so that you can be festive without feeling like you’re disrespecting the deceased. 

Move the Cremated Remains or Holiday Display

The simplest option is to plan the holiday decor so that it isn’t around the urn or move the cremated remains somewhere else during the holiday season if it’s located where the decor will be displayed. Try to find a special spot for the urn that’s out of the way but not shut in a closet. It may help to simply put the urn up higher than where it is now. For instance, if an urn is usually on the shelf of a hutch where holiday knick knacks go, then put it up on the top of the hutch instead.

The only thing is some people feel like moving an urn from its regular spot is slighting the memory of their loved one. Plus, many people choose to keep cremains because it makes them feel close to their loved one. If you’re one of those people you probably want the urn to be out so it’s as if the deceased is still there in a way during the holiday festivities. If that’s the case, move on to the next suggestions.

Decorate Around the Cremains

If you don’t want to relegate the urn to a bedroom or closet during the holidays you can choose to simply decorate around it. Treat the urn like any other part of your regular decor like a picture on the wall or a lamp. 

You may decide to put the holiday decor in an entirely different area of the home and draw attention away from the urn. Or you may want to make the urn a focal point by strategically placing decorations around it. It’s all a matter of how little or how much you want to incorporate the urn.

Camouflage the Cremains With Decor

Some people don’t want to move the cremains, but they also don’t want them to stick out amongst the holiday decorations. Instead of working around the urn you can incorporate it into the holiday decor so that it blends in. That way the urn can be front and center without detracting from the holiday display.

For example, if you keep an urn on a fireplace mantle you can drape garland across the mantle and wrap it around the urn so that it’s not a focal point. Or you can put potted poinsettias on either side of the urn so that it’s somewhat concealed by the foliage. Have an extra stocking? Then why not stuff the stocking with the urn.

Make the Urn Part of the Holiday Decor

Have you ever considered getting a special holiday receptacle? Or decorating an urn for the holidays? 

Rather than camouflaging the urn or working around it, you can make it a part of the holiday decor. This may be the easiest option, and it could actually help with managing grief during the holidays. Get a green tinsel garland and turn the urn into a Christmas tree. Or use a red metal urn during the holidays. You can even get a wooden urn that can be painted to look like it belongs in any holiday display. 

You’re only limited by your imagination. If you need a little inspiration, think about what your loved one would do if they could incorporate the urn into the decor. 

Things to Keep in Mind When You’re Decorating Around an Urn

If you’ve decided that you want to keep the urn in its usual place and decorate around it there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re decorating:

  • Keep cords and chains away from the urn. Anything that could catch on the urn should be kept far away.
  • If possible, anchor the urn so it won’t be knocked over.
  • If the urn is made of wood or another combustible material make sure candles and heat sources are a safe distance away.
  • Keep the cremated remains out of the reach of young children and animals.
  • Make sure that anyone who is helping put up or take down decorations is aware that the urn is among the decor. 
  • Minimize who handles the cremated remains, especially if cremains are being moved from one receptacle to another. 

The goal is to ensure that the cremated remains are safe during the decorating. Holiday decorations are replaceable, but the cremains of a loved one are not. Ultimately, you may find that the best option is simply to relocate the urn for the time being so that you don’t have to worry about decorating damage. 


At Cremation.Green we are able to handle cremations in a timely manner during the holiday season. We offer stress-free, eco-friendly funeral services that are easy to schedule. Just select a service, and we’ll handle the rest!

Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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