The Best Sympathy Gift Ideas


The best sympathy gift ideas depend on the bereaved's personality and needs at the time of the loss, your relationship to the bereaved and budget. A sympathy gift provides comfort and hope to the bereaved. It can range from a floral arrangement that brightens the home to a meal that you prepare and walk to the bereaved's front door. You may want to assemble a scrapbook of photos that capture joyful moments with the deceased.


  • The family of the deceased is typically preoccupied with arranging the funeral. They will welcome a gift that cuts down the hours spent on chores. Sending food as a sympathy gift takes some of the burden of shopping and preparing meals off their shoulders. The family also needs to maintain their physical strength and health during a time of loss. Select a sympathy gift among various foods, including baked goods, fruit, chocolates, candy or a selection of cheese, meats and wine. Buy a chef-prepared meal from a local restaurant or order food online and have it delivered. If the bereaved needs companionship and an opportunity to talk about her loss, take her out to dinner or prepare a home-cooked meal.

Flowers and Gift Baskets

  • Send a floral arrangement or a gift basket with items that would comfort the bereaved, such as a basket filled with chocolate or soups and crackers. Add items that suit the personality of the bereaved. If that person enjoys watching late night television, include a set of pajamas and slippers. If the person engages in sports, send him a basket filled with new socks, towels and sweat bands. Consider items that would help the bereaved to focus on positive feelings.


  • Find a gift that can be personalized and turned into a memorial for the deceased. Have a plaque engraved with the name of the deceased. Send the bereaved a wind chime made of bamboo, shells or glass, with a memorial scroll. Have the name of the deceased embroidered on a large teddy bear. If the bereaved family prefers not to receive gifts, make a donation to a charity in the name of the deceased.


  • A pet can make a wonderful sympathy gift, particularly if the bereaved is living alone after the loss. Search for a puppy or kitten in need of a home. If the bereaved prefers birds or fish, visit the local pet store and find the appropriate animal. Pets can provide companionship and unconditional love. The bereaved will also focus her attention on caring for the pet, which may help the healing process.

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