The grieving process can be as unique as one’s fingerprint. Each person brings their individual personality, their connection to the person who passed away, their religious / spiritual beliefs, their feelings about death, and their life experiences to the trip. When it comes to choosing a thoughtful sympathy gift, one size doesn’t fit all.
Finding the perfect gift of condolence to express your deep concern and provide the recipient with a lasting gift that honors the memory of your loved one is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either.
When considering what might be an appropriate sympathy gift for your loved one, here are some things to consider:
1. What are your religious beliefs? If you are religious, take a few minutes to consider the customs and norms of your religion. Some religions have specific beliefs about giving gifts after the death of a loved one. If they are not religious, be sure to steer clear of religious gifts that may offend them. Remember, this is a time to be supportive, not a time to push your own belief system.
Gift idea: I received a beautiful angel with a candle that includes Psalm 27: 1 – The Lord is my light and salvation. This angel sits by my bed and reminds me that through the ups and downs of life I am not alone.
2. What are the circumstances? The cause of death and the importance of the relationship between your friend and the deceased are important factors to consider when choosing a sympathy gift.
Gift idea: A friend who lost a pet may appreciate a step with the name of the animal to place in their garden. A mother grieving the loss of her child may welcome a thoughtful journal and keepsake box personalized with the child’s name on it. Sending flowers and listening well to a husband whose wife has been murdered may be the best way to offer your support.
3. How old are you? A grandmother may want a different type of gift than a friend in her twenties.
Gift idea: When my mother passed away, a good friend gave me a Calvin & Hobbs cartoon book. Life was so heavy at the time that having something to make me laugh was just what I needed. I was 25 when I passed away and for me it was the perfect gift.
Four. What is your gender? Gender plays an important role in the type of gift that is appropriate. A friend can enjoy a round of golf with you much more than a candle or a jewel.
5. What do you like? Try to find activities that bring them joy and help them reconnect with life. A relaxing day at a spa, a pleasant afternoon at a baseball game, or a good afternoon tea are just some of the gifts you can share with your loved one.
Gift idea: A few weeks after my mother died, my friends took me on a trip to Disneyland. What a wonderful gift this was to help me bring joy back to my life!
6. Do they have allergies or food restrictions? When choosing a food gift basket or bringing food to the family, be sure to check for food allergies or a restrictive diet. You don’t want to buy a bottle of wine for someone who doesn’t drink. Or take peanut butter cookies to someone with a peanut allergy.
Gift idea: If you don’t have time to cook, Sympathy Food can provide a complete nutritious meal for a grieving family.
7. Do you have pictures in your house or scrapbooks? If your friend likes to display memorabilia in their home, a personalized photo frame or decorative scrapbook in which they can keep memorabilia can be a appreciated gift.
8. What kind of book will you get? If you choose a book, consider the stage of grief your friend is in. The first few months after a loss can be extremely difficult, and it can be difficult to focus. Books that are easy to digest and provide coping skills for people in similar situations may be the best.
Gift idea: I received a very meaningful but simple book after my mother’s death called “How to survive the loss of a love”.
9. Think out of the box. Gifts don’t have to be traditional; they can be as unique as your imagination.
Gift idea: When my friend Dan passed away, I was unable to pay for last minute airfare to attend the funeral. A friend of the mind paid for my ticket using his frequent flyer miles.
10. Offer your support. Some people do not need or want trinkets, books, or movies; they just want a friend who is there with a listening ear, a hug, and a warm heart.
Buying a special gift basket, inspirational book, personalized picture frame, memorial ornament, or sending flowers to a grieving loved one can brighten their day and lift their spirits during a difficult time.