When a loved one is grieving, it can be difficult to know what to do or say to make them feel better. One of the most comforting gestures you can make is to give them a sympathy gift to let them know that you’re thinking about them and that you care.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the ideas and why they are excellent options as a gift for someone who is grieving.
One of the most common sympathy gifts is a bouquet of flowers. In fact, according to a survey by Candice A. Shoemaker and P. Diane Relf, 85% of American consumers surveyed had sent flowers as a sympathy gift at least once. Flowers symbolize the love and care one has for the bereaved, so they are a thoughtful and appropriate gift to give to someone who’s grieving.
2. Money for the Funeral
Funerals can be quite expensive, so a thoughtful sympathy gift is to contribute monetarily to the funeral expenses. It is customary to donate between $50 and $100 depending on how close you are with the family, although you can do more or less depending on your financial situation.
3. Charitable Donation
Another monetary gift you could give is a donation to a charity or organization that the deceased supported during their lifetime. Additionally, you could donate to research if the person passed away from a certain illness or disease. For example, if the deceased died after battling breast cancer, you could donate to breast cancer research in their memory.
4. Gift Basket
There are many different kinds of gift baskets that you could send to someone as a sympathy gift. Whether the basket features foods such as fruit, meat, and cheese or self-care items such as bath salts and candles, it is guaranteed to make the receiver feel comforted and loved.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may not be able to afford a fancy sympathy gift. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a simple card that expresses how much you care about the grieving person. Simply being aware that you’re thinking of them can provide some much-needed comfort during a difficult time.
When someone is grieving, cooking and eating may be one of the last things on their mind. By preparing a meal for someone, you are not only demonstrating that you care about them, but you’re also giving them a gift that is practical and will help sustain and energize them.
There are many different options for sympathy jewelry available, so you can personalize the jewelry to the recipient’s style and pick a piece that honors who was lost. One great option is to give someone a locket with a picture of the deceased. However, make sure you’re familiar with the receiver’s tastes and preferences first.
8. Weighted Blanket
If someone is grieving the loss of a loved one, they may have difficulties sleeping. A thoughtful sympathy gift is a weighted blanket, which will provide comfort and may help the bereaved with their insomnia. This isn’t only a thoughtful gift, but a practical one as well.
9. Garden Stone
A garden stone memorializing the deceased is a great thoughtful gift for anyone who has a garden and spends a lot of time outside. Every time they see the stone, they’ll remember their loved one. In a way, you’ll be immortalizing their memory through this simple and fairly inexpensive gift.
10. Painting From a Photo
Certain online retailers allow you to choose a photo and recreate it using paint, charcoal, watercolor, or whatever else you’d like. This creates a personalized piece of artwork that you can give to the bereaved for them to hang in their home and memorialize who they lost.
11. Book About Grief
Someone struggling with their grief may need additional help to get through this difficult time, and books about grief can provide some comfort and advice that they may find helpful.
I recommend Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitemore Hickman, which you can get on Amazon.com. This book provides thoughtful words to help someone work through their grief and learn how to move on.
Candles can provide a soothing and pleasing scent to help someone feel more comfortable in their own home. You can opt for a personalized candle with a custom photo or quote printed on the jar to make the gift more meaningful. Either way, the receiver is bound to feel comforted.
13. Soothing Stone
Soothing or worry stones are smooth gemstones that typically have a thumb-sized indentation that someone can rub when feeling anxious. This is a simple gift, but it can provide endless soothing to someone who needs it. You can only imagine how much a grieving family member could use this simple stress-reliever.
14. Memorial Bird Feeder
A personalized bird feeder is a great way to keep someone’s memory alive, as every time a bird lands on the feeder, the bereaved can be reminded of their loved one and that life carries on. With a bird feeder, the deceased’s memory helps nourish other life, which honors them uniquely and thoughtfully.
15. Picture Frame
Someone grieving the loss of a loved one will likely want to hang a photo of the deceased to remember and honor them, so giving them a high-quality or personalized picture frame is practical and meaningful. However, this is a gift best reserved for close family members.
The bereaved may wish to memorialize their loved one by creating a scrapbook, so you can give them the blank scrapbook and craft supplies to help them get started. Alternatively, if you also know the deceased and have access to photos of them, you can create a scrapbook yourself and make that your gift.
Someone grieving will have a lot of thoughts and feelings that they may feel the need to get out, and journaling can be a therapeutic and effective way to handle their emotions. A journal is an appropriate gift that the grieving will likely get a lot of use out of.
A wind chime is a common sympathy gift because everyone will be reminded of the deceased whenever the wind blows through the chime. This gift can comfort someone grieving by ensuring that the deceased will not be forgotten and that their memory will live on through beautiful chimes.
19. Personalized Ornament
If the grieving decorates for Christmas, you could give them a personalized ornament that memorializes the deceased. This way, they’ll be reminded of their loved one every holiday season. However, beware that this isn’t a gift for everyone, so make sure you know the receiver well before deciding on it.
20. Flower or Plant Seeds
Many people like to honor the deceased by encouraging new life through planting trees or other plants. If you give them the gift of seeds, you can help them find comfort in the circle of life and introduce new life into the world. Not to mention you’ll be bringing beauty and freshness to their home or garden.
21. Coffee Mug
Many people drink coffee daily, so a personalized coffee mug memorializing the deceased is a gift that will help the bereaved remember their loved one every day. It is also a practical gift that they will most likely use regularly. Therefore, if you’re on a tighter budget, this is the way to go.
22. Bath Bombs and Bubble Bath
It can be difficult to relax when going through the grieving process, so any gift that will help provide some comfort to the bereaved is appropriate. You can give them different bath bombs and bubble bath to encourage them to rest and take a relaxing soak in the tub.
Planning a funeral is stressful, but it could be made less so with a glass of wine. People grieving may not think to treat themselves, but if you give them a nice bottle of wine, they may be encouraged to give themselves a break and sip on some delicious vino.
24. Neck and Back Massager
Anything that provides comfort, pain relief, or relaxation to someone who is grieving is an appropriate sympathy gift, so you might want to consider giving them a massager to help them relieve any tension caused by grief and funeral planning.
25. Stuffed Animal
If you know a child who recently lost a loved one, a stuffed animal is a great gift that will provide comfort and snuggles as they navigate difficult emotions. You can even personalize the stuffed animal with a comforting quote. Alternatively, if you think the toy itself isn’t enough of a gift, you can always include it in a gift basket along with other self-care items.
26. Gift Card for House Cleaning
Cleaning is likely one of the last things on the mind of someone who is grieving, so their home may soon become dirty or disorganized. A gift card for a housekeeping service relieves the grieving of the overwhelming task of cleaning and ensures that they are living in comfortable conditions.
27. Tea, Hot Chocolate, or Coffee
What’s more comforting than a warm drink? The bereaved may just want to cuddle up with a warm beverage and cry as they grieve their loved one, and you can be the one to provide them with the drink. As mentioned, grieving family members rarely have the mental or emotional capacity to treat themselves, so gifting them a comforting beverage might just provide them with the relief they need.
Gifting baked goods is a great way to show someone you care. If you’re a good baker, you can make the cookies yourself, or you can purchase cookies from a bakery if you’re not so good in the kitchen. Either way, the bereaved will appreciate the comfort food during this difficult time.
29. Custom Star Map
A custom, framed star map of what the sky looked like when the deceased passed (or was born) is a beautiful and thoughtful gift that memorializes the dead uniquely and subtly. The recipient can hang the artwork in their bedroom or office and think of their loved one whenever they look at the print.
30. Embroidered Portrait
If you need a sympathy gift for someone who lost a pet, a great option is to get an image of the pet embroidered on a pillow or wall hanging. That way, they’ll be able to honor and commemorate their beloved pet while also adding some light and color to their home.
Someone grieving a loss may find comfort in taking care of other types of life, so you can give them a succulent that they can focus their attention and care on while they work through their grief. Succulents are especially appropriate in this context as they don’t require excessive care or time.
32. Memorial Lantern
The bereaved will think about their loved one whenever they light a personalized lantern, so this is a great sympathy gift option. The lantern will be a light source, just like the memory of their loved one is a light source that guides them through their life.
33. Religious Figurine
People who practice religion may find comfort in their religious symbols during grief, so you can give them the gift of a religious figurine they can keep in their home to guide them through their difficult emotions. Again, this is a gift best reserved for those you know well.
34. Coloring Book
Coloring is a great way to relieve stress, so if you notice that your loved one is struggling with feelings of anxiety after losing someone, you can give them the gift of a coloring book and colored pencils to encourage them to relax and release some negative emotions.
Someone working through the grieving process might not emphasize their self-care, but you can help encourage them to take care of themselves by giving them products, such as lotion, that require them to slow down and take some time to take care of themselves.
36. Framed Quote or Decorative Sign
One way to honor someone who has passed is to hang something in one’s home that memorializes them in some way, so you could give someone the gift of a framed quote or sign that relates to the deceased. That way, the grieving will feel like the deceased is still part of the family.
37. Gift Card for a Spa or Massage
After planning a funeral and grieving, the bereaved will likely hold a lot of tension and negative feelings in their body. A massage is a great way to relieve stress and release these uncomfortable emotions.
38. Named Star
You can name a star after the deceased and give the certificate to someone as a sympathy gift. Every time that person looks at the certificate or the night sky, they’ll think of their loved one. This is an inexpensive yet unique gift idea that’s bound to make the grieving feel a bit better.
Sometimes distraction is the best way to get through a stage of grief, so giving someone a puzzle can provide them with something other than their sadness to focus on. The gift can be especially helpful to families with lots of children to help the little ones turn to normalcy by trying to work together.
40. Prayer Bowl
For those who pray, a prayer bowl in the memory of the deceased is a gift that someone can use every day and a gift that they can use to seek comfort during times of grief. However, you should be sure of one’s religious beliefs before choosing this gift.
41. Pottery Kit
An at-home pottery kit will give the bereaved something hands-on that they can focus on instead of their grief. They can also create a vase, bowl, or other piece in memory of the deceased. A pottery kit is an especially great gift if the grieving family is particularly creative.
42. Flower Vase
Anyone who has lost someone recently is likely to receive lots of flowers, so they’ll need vases. Giving someone a vase as a sympathy gift is practical and thoughtful, and you can customize the vase with a comforting quote or the deceased’s handwriting.
43. Personalized Cutting Board
If someone lost someone who loved to cook, a unique sympathy gift idea is to give them a personalized cutting board. You can engrave the cutting board with the deceased’s favorite recipe or a meaningful quote. Every time the recipient uses the cutting board, they’ll remember the deceased and their passion for cooking.
44. Memorial Bench
Memorial benches are wonderful ways to keep the memory of the deceased alive. You can opt for a small bench for someone to keep in their backyard, or you can see your options to get a bench installed in a public park. Either way, the gift will show love and compassion.
45. Zen Garden
Zen gardens, such as this Ostranenie The Life Zen Garden on Amazon.com, are soothing tools to help with relaxation and tranquility, which someone who is grieving will need. I like this particular zen garden because it features six rakes, attractive white sand, rocks, a bridge, a stone lantern, and other aesthetically pleasing pieces.
An embroidered pillow is a thoughtful gift that someone can display on their couch or bed and will help remind them of their loved one every time they see it. However, if the grieving family is still extremely emotional right after their loss, this might not be the best gift choice, so tread lightly.
When people are sad, they often want to eat chocolate, as the dessert provides some much-needed comfort and sweetness. A box of chocolates is a simple but thoughtful gift that is sure to provide comfort to anyone experiencing grief.
48. Essential Oils and Oil Diffuser
Certain essential oils can help relieve stress and tension, so you can give someone the gift of relaxation by giving them a diffuser and oils. I recommend giving them lavender, bergamot, and lemongrass, as these are the most calming scents out there.
49. Stained Glass Suncatcher
A beautiful stained glass suncatcher will not only make someone’s house more beautiful but also remind the grieving of their loved one every time the sun shines through the stained glass and illuminates the colors. You can choose a suncatcher in a shape that reflects the character or interests of the lost one. For example, if the deceased loved birdwatching, a bird-shaped suncatcher would be a thoughtful sympathy gift.
50. Memorial Tumbler
A tumbler is a practical item that someone can use every day, so gifting someone with a tumbler with the image of their loved one or a comforting quote is a great way to memorialize the deceased while also showing your concern over their overall well-being.
- American Society for Horticultural Science: Attitudes of Consumers and Recently Bereaved Toward Sympathy Flowers
- 4Funeral: How Much Do You Give for a Funeral? Monetary Gift Guide