Give the Gift of Death this Holiday Season!

Festivus Pole‘Tis the season to give and receive meaningless gifts built for one purpose: trashing regifting. That hibiscus-banana-Febreeze scented candle you received from Mindy at the office holiday mixer? That puppy has made the rounds before your grubby hands ripped it open. And if you plan on wrapping that monstrosity back up and putting it under the tree/ Festivus pole for your Great Aunt Carole, well, let me stop you right here. You can do so much better.

You can’t control what you get (other than maybe lumps of coal, you dirty rotten sinner you!), but you can control what you give. And you’re going to give some seriously meaningful gifts this year, friends.

You have the opportunity to wake your family and friends up … to rouse them from their slumbering, take-life-for-granted existences. Why not bestow the gift of memento mori this year? (Refresher for those of you who skipped the first day of class: memento mori means “remember we must die” and before you scoff at it, remember that I’ve devoted my personal and professional life to this philosophy. No eye-rolling permitted.)

Reminding your loved ones of their inevitable, no-way-out-alive lot in life (i.e.: THEY ARE ALL CAREENING TOWARDS INESCAPABLE OBLIVION!) really is the gift that keeps on giving. Subtle (and not-so-subtle) reminders of our mortality can provide the motivational fuel to start living with more intention and purpose, with a greater sense of urgency.

You don’t have to dwell on the morbid side of mortality … giving your Great Aunt Carole an adorable skull tea set isn’t so much about the death part as it is about the LET’S GET ON WITH THE LIVING part. You might have some explaining to do after your family and friends unwrap your rather macabre gifts, but that’s okay. It’s the thought that counts anyways.

FYI: I don’t make commissions if you buy any of these morbid-ish gifts (other than one … guess which one it is!); I offer them to you out of the goodness of my purely evil heart.

51+ morbid-sounding gifts to spark a livelier life:

WeCroak AppThe best app ever: For $1.99 a month, the WeCroak app will conveniently remind your gift recipient—five times each day—that they are going to die. This means that you, too, will be thought of five times a day as your friend swipes the creepy (but effective) notice away on his or her phone. You and death, intertwined, together!

Mohawk Skull Candle


LED skull: Look how gaudy this little bugger is, what with his kaleidoscopic mohawk? The website says he’ll “add a little punk to your desk” but I’m thinking he’s got more of a trippy psychedelic motif going on? We’ll obviously call him Jerry. Give him to your most obnoxious friend.

Your Life in Weeks Calendar


Calendars: Gift the “your life in weeks” calendar to the people you a) care about (because the calendar will help them prioritize their precious time), and b) the people you wish were dead already (because the calendar will spark an existential crisis). Everyone wins! (Buy one for yourself while you’re at it.)

Memento Mori NecklaceSkull earringsSkull bracelet



Skull jewelry: You can give 14-memento-mori-karats to the chain-wearing goon love of your life… for just $1,495. If a medallion isn’t quite right, how about a classy pair of diamond skull earrings for a fraction of the cost? Or a bracelet in a charming rose gold?

Skull ice moldsSkull Decanter


Drinking fun and games: $19.95 will elevate the boozehound in your life to a whole new level of douchbagness. As they sip on their bougie bourbon, they’ll delight in the trendy skull cube looking back at them. (This gift scores extra points for its powerful metaphor: the ice melts away over time … just like life … drowning in a bourbon-soaked stupor.) While you’re at it, why not get the skull decanter? And the skull shot glasses? And the skull drinking glasses? (Someone stop me please.) (But don’t forget these cute skull straws as a stocking stuffer.)

All My Friends are Dead

Skull Blazer

Skull sweaterDeath-inspired clothing: This All My Friends are Dead shirt is a personal favorite (based on the excellent book of the same name), and comes in a long-sleeved version for your friends dying slow deaths in chillier climates. Or how about a deathly blazer? Or a cozy cashmere sweater to snuggle up with the Reaper on a cold night?

Sea Turtle Biodegradable Cremation UrnCremains: That’s right: cremation + remains = cremains. You know what else is right? Giving a gift certificate for the coolest cremation of all time! Check out my 16 aforementioned ideas to deal with pesky cremains here, and tell me you won’t be Great Aunt Carole’s favorite great niece/ nephew ever by turning her into a biodegradable sea turtle. (After she dies, ideally.) It’s the gift of a lifetime!

Sour skull candySkull gummy candy packageSkull candy: Any sweet n’ sour lovers in your life? Other than me? Set them up with these colorful candies and watch them want to die as they eat them, because as the manufacturer says, “they’re our most sour candy yet!!” (inclusive of the double exclamation points). I looked up the ingredients and because they were all in German, I was lost, but I assume Surhetsreglerande medel means “death by candy”? You could also try these menacing-looking gummy skulls if you prefer to read ingredients in English. Your call.

Tombstone cookie cutters

Skull baking pans galore


Baking stuff: I’m having a hard time deciding whether to present the cookie cutter, the cake pan, or the cakelet pan to you. It’s the holidays so I’m feeling generous. Buy the Great British Baker in your life all three!

OMG this is a SCYTHE!


Scythe: This ain’t no plastic Halloween version! For $109, “this ergonomic scythe is ideal for cutting grass and weeds for a tidy garden, and it is great for cutting wheat, oats, barley and other crops.” You know what else it’s good for? HEPLING PEOPLE REMEMBER THAT THE REAPER IS COMING FOR THEM. Ho ho ho!

Penny Turco MasterclassDeath planning: What’s there to buy for the controlling, uber-organized types in your life? Oh, I know! How about 6-week interactive, virtual workshop with guest speakers to guide you every step of the way in the creation of a personal end of life plan? Let’s get this holiday party started!! My friend Penny does this killer (hahaha—my description, not hers) Purpose Driven Peace Plan Masterclass, which means you’ll score points with your maniacal mother-in-law by having her plan her death. (That may or may not have come out wrong.)

You Only Die Once for the holidays!


Bestest book ever: Why not give the bookworms in your life something thought-provoking this year? You can preorder MY BOOK! It’s called You Only Die Once: How to Make It to the End with No Regrets. You can email me at Jodi at fourthousandmondays dot com for a gift card that says something witty and weird, like “you’ve been gifted death! But it won’t come until May 7th so live it up in the meantime!” (I’ll probably make the message less weird than that.)

Cute little skull socks

Skull socks: We’ve got low end ($9), medium end ($28, pictured below), and high end ($95) … something for every caliber of feet you’re buying for.

Skull BootsSkully footwear: How about these sandals for those who like to show their talons to the world? Or these sparkly skull boots that prove death really can be bedazzled?


Five Wishes Family ConvoA life-or-death conversation: The people over at Five Wishes have put together a package to help you have the “dun dun dunnnnn” conversation with your family. For $50 you’ll have a framework to answer key questions like, “what is an advance directive again, and why should I care?”. It’ll be so festive, especially with seriously spiked egg nog greasing the skids.


The Biodegradable Woven Willow Casket Caskets: Looking to fill that empty corner in the living room? Why not give your special someone a biodegradable woven willow casket to chill out in? Is this gift idea extreme? Absolutely. But you want something memorable this year, no? Perhaps your special someone has a penchant for heavy metal? Look no further than the custom KISS casket! And they sell clear caskets now—were you aware? Maybe it’s for the claustrophobic types? Please don’t ask me questions about this kind of casket because I don’t understand it either. KISS Casket

Clear casket (WHY?)




Eulogy: What about penning a preemptive eulogy for someone you care about, and framing it? I wrote one for my Dad on his birthday, and he didn’t disown me! This is a more heart-felt kind of gift, so if you’re in the mood to just buy a skull keychain and call it a win, then maybe move on from this one. But if you want tears, you’ve landed on the perfect gift!

Skeleton artMemento mori wall artWall art: Why not redecorate your gift-recipients’ homes—replacing their tired family portraits with skeletons in compromising positions? Or a minimalistic memento mori ode on the wall?


Skull bookendsSkull lampSkull planterHome decor: Why not give the gift of a home makeover to your most décor-challenged friend? (OMG, doesn’t HGTV need a Memento Mori Home Makeover show?! Ty, let’s do this!) Try these snazzy bookends, an ultra-cool table lamp, a skull planter,

Baby's Skull Stroller Blanket


Stroller blanket: Because babies need memento mori reminders, too. This $88 blanky will keep the wee ones feeling warm but looking cool as they launch into their 4,000 Mondays.

Skull HatSkull GlovesWinter wear: Keep the chill of death away from your loved ones! This skull hat is impossibly cool, and this biker jacket means business. I’m partial to these cute fingerless skull gloves; they’re perfect for the smokers in your life who need to be reminded about what smoking will do to them. So convenient!

Dog skull sweaterSkull pet collarPet gifts: Because pets will die someday, too. Give the pet-obsessed person in your life a personalized dog sweater, or this cute little tag in one of 10 colors.


Death doula stuffDeath certification: You’ve heard of a death doula, right? Like a baby doula … but the polar opposite. How about you pick your most responsible loved one and get them a gift certificate to become a certified end-of-life specialist? That way you’re guaranteed to have an expert whisk you through hospice and the dying process, when that pesky time comes. Hot tip: maybe select a recipient quite a bit younger than you for this special gift? You don’t want your doula dying before you; that’d be such a waste of money.

Skull journal

Skeleton Yoga MatMortality mindfulness: Any meditating friends out there? Up their game with a death meditation. Any journalers in your family? Have them write about their pending demise in a cute skull notebook. And what yogi doesn’t want a mat with a bunch of uber-flexible skeletons in warrior pose? Don’t let $52 get in the way of helping your yoga-loving Mom appreciate the scarcity of life.

Death Valley Vaca: Yep, plan a trip to Death Valley and try to stay alive!Death Valley Here We Come

Skull tooth gemAnd finally: For those in your life who like to steal the show … an 18-k tooth gem. You can’t make this shit up.


So there you have it.

What a majestically overwhelming array of memento mori-inspired gift choices to initially confuse and ultimately delight your loved ones this holiday season!

When your family and friends breathlessly tear open their gifts and then raise their eyebrows/ get all quiet/ whatever they do when they are on the verge of being offended, you’ll want to quickly pivot from the “I want you dead” implication to the “I want you to carpe the heck out of this diem!” narrative.

And if none of these gifts seem “appropriate” for your Great Aunt Carole (or any other gift-requiring leeches in your life), can I suggest that you buy a few ghoulish goodies for yourself? At least a stocking stuffer. Life’s too short to not treat yourself to skully diamonds.

Jodi Wellman

P.S.: I was being for real above when I suggested you preorder my upcoming book, You Only Die Once: How to Make It to the End with No Regrets!

P.P.S.: Let’s do Instagram together.

P.P.P.S.: Oh and just in case you missed it… I’d love you forever if you took 16 minutes out of your life to watch my TEDx talk!


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