What is an Appropriate Sympathy Gift?

As a sympathy gift, there are gifts that are considered universal and are appreciated globally and we take a look at some of these.




A sympathy gift is one that is sent after a loved one has passed away. Although sympathy gifts come from the depth of one’s heart, it's possible to offend someone by sending a gift that may not be appropriate. The sense of appropriate gifts can vary across religious belief systems, cultures, and values. It's therefore important to do some research regarding the type of gift you wish to send and the person receiving it, particularly if you don’t know the person well. You can visit some funeral home websites or websites helping those who lost someone dear, and read about appropriate sympathy gifts. There are, however, gifts that are considered universal and are appreciated globally. Let's take a look at some of these appropriate sympathy gifts.



Flowers are a universal expression of emotion for almost any occasion. You can order sympathy flowers to express your condolences for instance. Flowers are appreciated because of the sentiment that they symbolize, and their beautiful nature that lets them brighten any space or mood. You can send flowers when you would have initially discovered about the death, at the funeral service, memorial, and sometime after the funeral processes are finished and those remaining continue to deal with the grieving process. Sympathy flowers are appreciated at any stage of the grieving process and show you care and concern for those dealing with grief.


Memorial Plant

A memorial plant is one that you send as a gift to symbolise the life of the deceased. The plant is then nurtured and cared for by the receiver as an expression of fondly remembering the life that was lived. You can send a pot plant with seedlings or a plant that has already bloomed. Alternatively, you can offer to plant a tree in the deceased’s memory. The tree will have to be equally nurtured and will be enjoyed in the garden. This expression is heartfelt and may be received with such gratitude.



Condolence Note

You can write a condolence note expressing your care for the bereaved. In your note, you can talk about how their loved one was a beautiful soul and how you wish for them to find peace through the process of grieving. Try not to make the note read about you and your experiences with the person or how you have dealt with grief in the past. Try to keep yourself out of the note as much as possible as the point is to have the grieving members feel acknowledged, appreciated and comforted.


Self-Care Kit

The process of grieving is draining and can cause one to forget about nurturing themselves. A self-care kit is a gift that will gently remind the grieving that they have to take care of their health during the process so that they don’t fall ill or experience depression, stress, and anxiety that can come with grieving.

A self-care kit can be a box that contains essential health oils, herbal teas, fragrances, and healthy snacks such as nuts, almonds, and raisins. You can attach a note that shows that you are thinking of them and hope that they get well and process the grief in the best way possible.


Frozen Food

Grieving is a process that can drain the energy required to do chores such as cooking. The act of eating itself can become unbearable. Sending frozen food as a gift will be appreciated by the receiver. They can then stock the fridge and only worry about heating it when ready to eat, compared to having to prepare a meal on their own.



Photographs of the deceased are captured memories that will be appreciated by those grieving. You can have photographs that you have of the person printed out and place in an album. You can also make a canvas collage that can be displayed in the home. Try to include photographs that exclude other people that the receiver may not know. The point is to give them the gift of the person in the captured memory form.



Appropriate sympathy gifts that may not offend receivers based on cultural or belief system differences include flowers, a plant, a letter, self-care kits, frozen food, and photographs. Keep in mind that grief is a process that doesn’t just end when the funeral proceedings are over. The remaining loved ones will continue to process the pain long after the initial shock and funeral. It is therefore a heartfelt gesture to follow up on them and send another sympathy gift after a period. This gesture shows that you are invested in their process and are wishing them to process and heal from the loss.



back to top