Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Whatsapp

10 ideas for condolence gifts

Be inspired with these 10 presents to send as sympathy gifts instead of flowers.

After someone passes away, it’s traditional to send the bereaved family sympathy flowers to express your condolences. But sometimes a thoughtful bereavement gift can be an even better way to say, ‘Sorry for your loss’.

The type of bereavement gift you choose should depend on how well you know the person who is grieving and how well you knew their loved one. If you’re very close, gifts like memorial jewellery and photo albums can be a thoughtful memento, but if you’re not as  close, a candle, plant or donation might be more appropriate.

Here are 10 ideas for condolence gifts to send to someone who is grieving instead of flowers.


1. A memorial candle

Memorial candle as a bereavement gift

Candles are a traditional decoration used in many funeral services, but they’re also a beautiful sympathy gift. You can buy special memorial candles with thoughtful quotations written on them – or choose an aromatherapy candle with a soothing scent.

2. A cuddly toy

Teddy bear as bereavement gift

This is the perfect bereavement gift if you can’t be there to give someone a hug in person. It’s something that they can keep to remember that you’re thinking of them. There are also lots of companies that will embroider custom lettering on teddy bears, if you want a special message

3. A potted plant

Houseplant as a bereavement gift

Some people don’t like receiving sympathy flowers because they will quickly wilt and need throwing out. A potted plant is longer-lasting and can brighten up a room. Try to choose a variety that needs little care, as grieving people can be forgetful or distracted. Good Housekeeping recommends succulents, snake plants and begonias as low-maintenance options.

4. Pre-prepared meals

A pre-prepared casserole for someone who is grieving

When you’re grieving, everyday chores, like cooking and cleaning, can feel impossible. Take some of the strain by giving your bereaved friend some pre-prepared meals that can be frozen and easily reheated. Casseroles, soups and lasagne are classic choices. BBC Good Food has a collection of easy freezable meals.

5. A personalised picture frame

Personalised memento picture frame

In the coming days and weeks, your friend or relative will want to find ways to remember their loved one. Giving them a special picture frame can be a thoughtful bereavement gift. You can even find special memorial frames with remembrance messages on them.

6. Memorial jewellery

There’s a large range of memorial jewellery with special messages to mark the loss of a loved one. From necklaces and bracelets, to charms and keyrings, this could be a beautiful sympathy gift that they keep for years to come.

7. A journal

Writing in a grief journal

Finding a way to express your thoughts through grief is really important. A journal or notebook might be a good bereavement gift for someone who likes writing things down. When the time comes that they want to process what they’re feeling, they’ll have somewhere special to record their thoughts.

8. A special photo album

Photo album

Buy them a beautiful photo album as somewhere they can keep all their favourite snaps with their loved one. Alternatively, if you have access to photos of their loved one, you can order custom-printed photo books online, full of precious memories for when they need to reflect and remember.

9. Make a donation to charity

Making a donation to charity online

Many families now ask people to make a charitable donation rather than buy sympathy flowers. Often this is for a cause that was important to the person who died – ask if there’s a particular charity they’d like you to donate to. Some charities allow people to set up a memorial page to raise money in someone’s memory, so you may be able to donate directly online.

10. A memory box

Memory boxes to keep mementos

A memory box can be a special place to collect and keep mementos that remind that person of their loved one. Etsy has many handcrafted memory boxes that can be carved or decorated with a personalised message.


About the author

With a Masters from the University of Bristol, Jessica Hanson has worked in the funeral sector for several years, following the latest industry trends and writing about end of life planning. Jessica has previously written as a blogger for the Huffington Post, covering topics such as death positivity, understanding grief and how funerals are changing. You can find Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.