50 Celebration of Life Ideas for Sons

Losing a loved one is never easy—especially a cherished son. Though planning his celebration of life is likely something you never imagined, a funeral or cremation memorial can deeply reflect the life he lived and the beautiful person he was.

Dignity Memorial® providers are experts at helping families create unique tributes with attention to detail like no other. From remembering your son’s hobbies and passions to his personality and career, we help you capture the little things that made him the little boy you adored and the man you admired.

We’re here to help you honor him in the most special of ways. Here are 50 celebration of life ideas for sons to get you started.

Be inspired by his passion

Animals: Your son loved animals as a boy. He worked at the local shelter every summer and hoped to one day become a service dog trainer. Partner with the nearby animal rescue to establish an adoption event in his name.

Barbecue: He was the family pit master and looked forward to his annual road trip to try new spots around the state. From small-town favorites to big-name smokehouses, he loved to savor the smoky flavors and never missed a chance to learn from the best. Host a cookout in his honor and give guests a taste of his secret sauce.

Disney: From his toothbrush to his T-shirt drawer, Mickey Mouse was his favorite. He and his brothers would belt out the lyrics to Disney songs, and he couldn’t wait to visit Disney World one day. Hand out mouse ears at his memorial service and invite everyone to participate in a singalong.

Fitness: After losing more than 100 pounds, fitness became an integral part of his life. He was passionate about sharing his health and wellness journey with others, and he even convinced the whole family to participate in the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, a memory you will always hold dear. Invite his gym buddies to share some stories at his service.

Football: To your son, football was much more than a sport. As a high school senior, he was named captain of the varsity football team, an honor he wore both on and off the field. He never missed an NFL game in his hometown and was equally enthusiastic about Sunday Night Football on TV. Host his celebration of life at the field and have guests dress in team colors.

Gardening: Your son cultivated the most beautiful garden. He loved working in the yard and spent hours tending to his favorite plants and flowers. Bring his passion for gardening to those who loved him most by giving guests small succulents in his memory.

Mixology: A budding mixologist, he was passionate about developing his own cocktail recipes and dreamed of one day opening a bar of his own. Host a cocktail hour at his memorial and serve his signature drink.

Puzzles: What began as sensory therapy quickly became a passion for puzzles. He focused so beautifully on finding the right piece. Over the years, the puzzles he completed became works of art framed in his room. Turn the funeral home to a local art gallery to showcase his completed puzzles. Ask for donations to sponsor a child whose family can't afford the therapy they need.

Race cars: With tracks winding around his room, his Hot Wheels collection could rival them all. He loved watching NASCAR on TV and couldn’t wait to go to the car show every year. Drape a checkered flag across his casket and put together colorful, race-themed centerpieces for his funeral reception.

Road trips: No one loved road trips quite like your son. His free spirit took him across the country, cruising coast to coast in his vintage Mustang. Hand out mini license plates emblazoned with his initials and play his favorite driving music.

Rodeo: His energy inside the arena was contagious. Climbing the charts in statewide roping competitions, he was poised to compete in the regional rodeo next spring. Host his celebration of life at the arena and have his horse lead the procession.

Running: Your son relished every chance to go fast on his feet. He was a star on the varsity cross-country team and was training for his first marathon. Create a memory wall of medals he earned and invite his teammates to say a few words at his service.

Space: He was fascinated by the cosmos. The planetarium was his favorite weekend activity, and every night at bedtime he wished upon a star. Plan an outdoor candlelit evening and have guests send well wishes into the sky with memorial lanterns.

Star Wars: The biggest Star Wars fan there ever was, your son dreamed of traveling to a galaxy far, far away. Incorporate iconic aspects from the series into his celebration of life by encouraging guests to dress in costume, including quotes about life and legacy into the program or hiring Stormtroopers for photos during the reception.

Swimming: An avid swimmer, he lived in the water and dreamed of one day becoming an Olympic champion. Showcase his passion for swimming by putting his trophies, goggles and swim team photos on display.

Theater: From a young age, your son set his sights on Broadway. He graced the stage of over a dozen performances, including leading roles in both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Wizard of Oz. Design his program like a Playbill and usher friends and family in with velvet ropes and a red carpet.

Travel: His wanderlust took him around the globe. From studying abroad in Asia to backpacking throughout Europe, nothing made his heart happier than adding new stamps to his passport. Create a slideshow of his worldly travels and display his most prized souvenirs as centerpieces at the reception.

Video games: A video game enthusiast through and through, he would spend hours laughing and playing with friends online. He owned a variety of gaming systems, including original classics from the 1980s, and always had his eye set on the latest and greatest. Host his celebration of life both in person and online, paying homage to his love of the virtual world.

El servicio perfecto celebra los detalles. Empiece a planificar con Imagine: Una guía de inspiración conmemorativa.

Be inspired by his hobby

Bowling: Friday night bowling league was his favorite night of the week. With his custom bowling team shirt, shiny bowling bag, shoes and ball, he’d strut into the alley ready to rule the lanes. Create a bowling tournament in his name with proceeds benefiting a youth sports charity.

Breweries: Your son could usually be found socializing at a brewery on a sunny Saturday afternoon. He always looked for the small-batch brews that would never hit the grocery store shelves, enjoying the newest flavors with friends old and new. Toast to his life by serving a flight of his favorites at the reception.

Camping: He loved the Boy Scouts, going on camping trips and practicing his outdoor skills. He could start a campfire in record time. Pitch a tent, invite his troop leader to speak at his service and give guests s’mores kits to enjoy at home.

Card collecting: After receiving his grandfather’s extensive baseball card collection, he was hooked. He spent hours learning about the greats and saved $5 from his allowance to buy a new pack every month. Organize a card show to share the breadth of his collection with those who loved him most.

Concerts: Music was his middle name. He’d drop anything to see a live performance and never missed a festival of his favorite bands. Host a memorial concert in his honor and bring everyone back to his carefree moments among the music.

Fishing: If they weren’t home, he and his dad were fishing. He could sit for hours, patiently waiting for a bite and was never disappointed about coming home empty-handed. Display his poles and design colorful, personalized lures to honor his legacy and love of a good catch.

Golf: Whether he was participating in a tournament or taking a weekend golf trip with friends, the green gave him a place to relax. He was teaching his children to love the sport, too, and hoped to attend next year’s PGA Championship. Invite his golf buddies to share stories and distribute custom golf balls with his initials.

Grilling: His grill was his happy place. From the annual July Fourth cookout to backyard get-togethers, he loved to gather with friends and family, grill and entertain. His bison burgers were a neighborhood favorite. Serve his beloved burgers at the reception and send everyone home with his recipe.

Hunting: The pride of his trophy room was his very first eight-point buck. Weekends spent on his deer lease gave him quality time with his sons, something he cherished greatly. Invite guests to the family ranch and share highlights from his hunting adventures.

Legos: He’d spend hours building spaceships, skyscrapers, cities and more, and couldn’t wait for his upcoming birthday trip to Legoland. Now his memory is built into your heart forever. Bundle up his bricks and give guests pieces of him to hold forever.

Magic: Fascinated by the world of magic, he was mastering tricks of his own, often testing them out on family members. Hire a magician to entertain guests during your catered reception.

Model airplanes: He was a regular at the local hobby shop and spent countless hours meticulously crafting the model airplanes that lined his shelves. Display his work and send guests home with balsa wood airplane kits to remember his happy hobby.

Movies: The movie lover of the family, your son never missed a Saturday night at the show. Old classics were his favorite, and vintage movie posters lined the walls of his room. Hang them at the funeral home, host a black-and-white movie marathon in his memory, and serve all the buttered popcorn and Junior Mints your guests can eat.

Ping-Pong: He asked for a table for his 10th birthday and quickly became the table tennis champion of the neighborhood. It was a place where he and his friends would gather to laugh and have fun. Have guests decorate their own paddles at the reception with a do-it-yourself station.

Poker: He learned to play poker in college and spent every Wednesday night betting against friends in the neighborhood. Invite his fellow players for a tournament with personalized chips.

Reading: From fiction and fantasy to mystery and history, he loved getting lost in a good book. His nightstand always held a stack of new reads, and he enjoyed sharing his love of literature with young readers. Host a children’s book drive for the local library in his memory. Gift the books from his shelves to our troops.

Skateboarding: The house rule was skateboarding after homework, and your son was committed to his studies in order to make that happen. He’d ride to the nearby skate park and practice until the sun went down. Ask his skater friends to perform a few tricks for guests at the reception.

Woodworking: Though it was always just a hobby, he crafted the most beautiful pieces over the years, including a farmhouse table and desks for his children. Carve his initials on leftover wood pieces from the garage to give guests as memorial keepsakes.

Be inspired by his career

Architect: Analytical and meticulous, inventive and creative, your son designed significant buildings in cities around the country. His work was revered, often photographed and published. Detail some of his most prized projects and accolades in the memorial program with a slideshow at the service.

Artist: His life was as unique and interesting as his works of art. Let us turn the funeral home into an art gallery where guests can admire and remember the exceptional artist he was. Take it one step further and sell his work, donating proceeds to a children’s art charity.

Author: Words were his specialty and his lifelong career. He put pen to paper so perfectly, and his memory will live on through his published works. Ask family members and friends to read passages from his books aloud at his service.

Coach: He led the men’s hockey team for 20 years, mentoring and guiding young men in ways far beyond the ice. Invite players to speak at his memorial and share special memories they have of their beloved coach.

Farmer: Bring in family heirlooms from the farm, from bookkeeping ledgers to empty milk bottles from the old dairy. Decorate with bales of hay covered in muslin and bouquets of fruits and vegetables.

First responder: He lived every day to serve and protect others, and now it’s time to salute the man who made his family, friends and community proud. Display his uniform and invite fellow responders to speak at his service.

Learn about honoring first responders.

Flight attendant or pilot: Your son logged many miles above the clouds. Invite airline colleagues to share stories of their time in the friendly skies. Supply guests with wing pins and plenty of snacks.

Lawyer: His determined, disciplined personality was perfect for law. No one ever won an argument against him, and he made a name for himself protecting and defending others. Hold a butterfly release at the courthouse in his memory.

Mechanic: You could always find him in the garage, tinkering with his latest set of wheels or fixing up a friend’s. Host a hot rod show in his honor.

Musician: No family event was complete without your son on his guitar. Ask his bandmates to play at the memorial and display his guitar collection for all to see.

Military veteran: Honor his sacrifice to our country with flags and patriotic musical selections. Display his uniform, medals and photographs from years in the service. Have "Taps" played graveside.

Read about planning a veterans memorial.

Nurse, doctor or healthcare provider: Taking care of others came so naturally to him. Collect donations for a hospital or healthcare organization in his memory.

Photographer: He was a highly sought-after photographer, capturing special moments and memories for many. Highlight his work with a photo gallery of images spanning the walls of the reception room. Do as he would have done and don’t forget the photo booth!

Professor: In over 25 years of teaching, he never missed a day of lecture. Poised at the podium, he drew his students in with his candor and compassion. His love of knowledge was infectious, leaving his pupils enlightened and inspired to learn. Interview his former students and create a memorial video of their fondest memories of their professor.

Was your son also a father? Get more inspiration with 50 Celebration of Life Ideas for Dad.

Plan with us

Dignity Memorial planners are experts at helping families create personalized funerals and cremation memorials. We take the time to listen and discover what made your loved one special and what your family values—and we work within your budget.

We're always here for you, and we offer a range of benefits you won't find anywhere else, including up to 13 months of professional grief counseling for your family.

Contact us to speak with a compassionate planner today.

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