Supporting those you care about after the loss of a loved one is challenging. After all, everyone responds differently to grief. It can be difficult to understand what support they might need from you. The good news is—even if you’re not sure how to help directly—you can send a sympathy gift.
For those unaware, sympathy gifts are small yet powerful gestures that show those in mourning that you’re thinking about them and they have your support. With that said, there are a few things to consider before sending a sympathy gift to those grieving. We’ve provided some valuable information about sympathy gifts in this comprehensive guide.
You must select the perfect sympathy gift before sending it off. It’s wise to consider who will receive it as you choose the most appropriate gift. Doing so will ensure that you:
Below we’ve spent some time elaborating on the proper etiquette and types of sympathy gifts for family, friends, and coworkers. This way, you’ll have an idea of how to approach each situation.
If the dearly departed is a member of your family, then traditional, more significant sympathy gifts are the best way to go. For instance, you may offer to pay for things like casket flowers, standing wreaths, floral standing crosses, or a combination of all these things.
You could also cover the cost of keepsake items like a guest registry book for the funeral if you prefer. Additionally, it’s best to make your selections based on what you know the deceased would’ve liked.
For instance, if they loved pink chrysanthemums, a casket bouquet that reflects that would make a wonderful sympathy gift. The idea here is to provide your family with something that will be meaningful during the funeral and alleviate the weight of some responsibilities associated with someone’s passing.
Traditionally, acquaintances or friends of the dearly departed’s family will send flowers to the home handling funeral arrangements. But of course, levels of friendship are wide-ranging and varied. If you are particularly close to those grieving, you might decide to do something more.
For instance, you may offer to chip in on some of the ceremony expenses. You might also provide acts of service like cooking, cleaning, or running errands.
You might also consider:
With gifts that are a bit more intimate, it’s best to send them to the family’s home.
Sometimes, our coworkers are the ones struggling with losing a loved one. Unless you are personally close with those grieving, the most appropriate thing would be for you and your colleagues to send a group gift to the service. This could mean purchasing a standing or fireside basket or a standing flower spray.
If you and your colleagues choose to send a gift to your coworker’s home, sympathy flower arrangements, gourmet baskets, or dish gardens are excellent choices. You may also decide to donate to the deceased’s favorite charity or organization if the option is available.
In these situations, the most important thing is to reach out to your colleague and let them know they have your support. You can do this through email or phone calls—whichever is most appropriate for your level of closeness with your mourning coworker.
Understanding the etiquette for who you’re sending sympathy gifts to is just one part of the equation. It’s also crucial to consider what type of gift you want to send. Moreover, you’ll want to consider what makes your gift thoughtful, unique, and meaningful for the recipient.
It’s always best to ask the family, friend, or coworker who’s lost their loved one what gift would be most helpful and supportive for them. With that said, we’ve described some gift ideas that we think are particularly unique and meaningful to give you some inspiration for your gifts.
Acts of service are excellent ways to support those who are in mourning. If you are a family member or close friend of the person grieving, offering to volunteer your time can be a wonderful gift. Ask if they might need help with cleaning, organizing, and other housework.
You might also cook meals for them a few times a week so that they have one less thing to worry about as they navigate their grief. If those grieving have children, you may offer to babysit to give them some alone time.
If you’re close enough to those in mourning, you might even offer to cover a utility bill or other payment while they deal with funeral expenses. Even though you can’t send acts of service through the mail, volunteering your time and helping out are still very helpful.
You could also offer to make donations to the deceased’s favorite charities and organizations. This type of sympathy gift is an appropriate choice for colleagues of those grieving. It’s also the perfect complement to bouquets, gift and gourmet baskets, and even memorial keepsakes. Making donations to the dearly departed’s beloved organizations is a tremendous acknowledgment of their personhood and memory.
Moreover, it shows those grieving them that they have your support and that you are genuinely thinking about them. If you wish to make a personal donation to the family of the deceased, this also makes a beautiful and thoughtful sympathy gift. Funeral expenses are nothing to scoff at.
Thus, if you feel that covering the expenses of a floral arrangement wouldn’t be sufficient, ask the family if a personal donation is appropriate. If they say yes, consider sending them a donation to cover some of the arrangement expenses. It may help them in ways other sympathy gifts might not be able to.
In short, sympathy gifts are an excellent way to show those grieving that you care and that they have your support. That said, it’s crucial to understand the etiquette for sending them. Moreover, ensuring that what you’re sending is thoughtful and meaningful for the recipients is essential.