Be inspired with these 10 presents to send as sympathy gifts instead of flowers.
1. A memorial candle
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.