If you’re shopping sympathy gifts, it’s because your friend or family member has lost someone they love. We’re sorry that happened, but we do have some special ideas that go beyond the well-worn gifts like sympathy cards and flowers.
1. Food Gifts Are Always Welcome
Sadly, when folks are mourning they tend to go “off their feed”. They may be so wracked with grief that they have lost any appetite at all. Or they may be too busy trying to pull it all together (dealing with the funeral home, working out the funeral details, writing the obituary and so on). High stress situations like these can overwhelm someone to the point they just don’t have time to eat, or they forget to eat entirely.
Food gifts are awesome sympathy gifts because they are available in so many forms, they’ll suit any budget. You know a food gift will get used! Consider these ideas:
- “Snacky” Gift Baskets – Edible, affordable, and a gentle reminder to your friend to eat a little something. Even if your friend is mourning too hard to eat right now, many snacks will keep for a few weeks at least. They’re also full of great little goodies that can be handed off to fussy children, if your friend needs a moment to get it together before meal prep.
- Homemade Foods – Lasagnas, casseroles and the like are a true boon to grieving families. Put together the dinner and cover it with foil, with reheating instructions for later. It’s a chance to show your homey affection for a family by providing them with a homemade meal to share.
- Order Them a Pizza or Other Takeout / Delivery – Sometimes the best gift you can give will make your friend’s life easier. Pizza or other delivered food items and some paper plates might be just the thing he or she needs. It’s simple and takes one task off their to-do list.
- Fruit of the Month Club or other Luxury Gift Basket Subscriptions – If you’re concerned that your gift will get lost in the fray and forgotten, consider a Fruit of the Month subscription. Harry and David’s is recognized all over the world for their thoughtful, delicious fruit gifts. You can sign up for three months, six months or a year.
2. Memorial Jewelry or Engravables
Jewelry can make a subtle statement about your sympathy, and also about the relationship the mourner had with the deceased. The human race has a long history of gifting jewelry at funerals, and it’s likely your family has some significant tradition too. If not, why not start one now?
- Special memorial jewelry is available at most crematories and funeral homes which is designed to hold just a small amount of cremated remains. You could offer to purchase this for your friend, just be sure to do it rather quickly, before cremated remains are scattered or interred.
- Personal jewelry that once belonged to your friend’s loved one would be a cherished gift. Know that cost or perceived value really doesn’t matter. This gift is all about being personal, not expensive. Even small, seemingly insignificant trinkets like lapel pins or favorite keychains can become incredibly meaningful after someone passes away.
- Custom engraved items like a picture frame holding a photo of the deceased would also be appropriate and long-lasting. It’s easier than ever to order custom engraved items online and get a picture from your cell phone printed at Walmart.
3. Comforting, Cuddly Things & Weighted Blankets
Comforters, teddy bears, soft hoodie jackets, quilts or throw blankets are all excellent sympathy gift ideas. Sometimes a gift of creature comfort is the most loved present of all!
New research suggests that weighted blankets can calm and soothe all sorts of people. Once these were used strictly with special needs individuals who benefited from the calming, soothing all-over weight. Anecdotal evidence on the internet seems to prove that many people are finding weighted blankets to reduce their stress and anxiety, and provide them with a deeper, more restful night of sleep. This might be exactly what your friend needs!
4. Make Your Own Unique Gift
You don’t need to be crafty to make a completely personalized sympathy gift for your friend. Consider these ideas:
- Create a collage using photos and comments from social media.
- Make a calendar or slideshow using software.
- Sew or quilt a sympathy gift made from the lost loved one’s clothing.
The most important thing to remember about sympathy gifts is this: it’s not even about the gift. It’s about supporting your friend who has suffered a horrible loss. If all you can afford to do is be there with helping hands and a shoulder to cry on, sometimes that’s the most meaningful gift of all.