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15+ Sympathy Gift Ideas

When people think of a sympathy gift or a gesture of solidarity after someone has lost a loved one, their mind usually goes to flowers. Flowers are an incredibly popular sympathy gesture to make after someone has lost someone -- but they’re definitely not the only type of gift you can send. Looking for funeral gift ideas instead of flowers? You’ve come to the right place.

Best sympathy gifts

The best sympathy gifts are often thoughtful sympathy gifts, ones that you spent some time and care into choosing. While your funeral gift ideas don’t have to be grand and extremely unique, it can mean a lot to a family when it’s clear some thought went into the gesture.

When thinking of gift ideas for someone who lost a loved one, it can be difficult to land on a specific item. What does one give someone after they’ve experienced a loss? How can an item sum up the feelings and grief that go along with losing someone? The good news is, the gift doesn’t have to. The sympathy gift you choose is to show your support to a loved one during their time of need and to let them know you’re thinking about them. So if you’re looking for unique funeral gift ideas or are unsure of what to send when someone dies (instead of flowers), you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at some of these modern sympathy gifts below.

Housecleaning: Families in grief are often overwhelmed with a long to-do list, purchasing them a cleaning service to help them check some items off of that list can be a huge help.

Books on grief and loss: There are tons of resources and books available to families or individuals who have lost someone and the right book can be a great way to show your support (and help someone) who has lost a loved one.

Charitable donation: A charitable donation is a meaningful and easy way to share your sympathy and honor the legacy of someone who has passed away. You can make a donation on a memorial website the family has set up or make a separate donation on an organization’s site that you deem relevant to the life of the person who passed away.

Self care basket: Grieving individuals and families are often in need of self-care, something that’s frequently overlooked due to the amount of things to do and emotional weight of their loss. A self-care basket is an affordable and kind way to nudge them towards rest and relaxation.

Professional family portrait or painting: Find an artist you like the work of or who is open for commissions and commission a family painting be professionally made. This is an extra special gift if you can give the artist a reference photo from a favorite family moment. Portraits can be done in a variety of mediums and some families can appreciate the artist’s touch when it comes to recreating a favorite moment of theirs.

Encouragement jars: An encouragement jar is a jar filled with small notes of encouragement or words of comfort that the recipient can go through over time. You can purchase these or make these on your own by purchasing a jar and writing out your own words of encouragement on cards. Once you’ve finished, fill the jar and give it to the recipient with instructions to open it whenever they need a word of encouragement.

A remembrance book: If you have mementos, photos, stories, and other memories you'd like to include in book form, you can create a customized remembrance book easily with a few online vendors, such as Shutterfly. A remembrance book is a wonderful idea for anyone that likes the physical feel of a book (even though being able to see photos online is wonderful and easily accessible).

Sympathy gift ideas for loss of a father

Personalized keychain: Keychains are always near and easy to keep close, making these one of the condolence gift ideas that your loved one can have near them at all times. Keychains can be personalized with words, quotes, dates, and names and can come in many different shapes and styles.

Custom plaque: Plaques can come in many different styles, shapes, and sizes. Purchasing a memorial plaque in honor of a father is a great expression of sympathy. You can include a photo on the plaque, a favorite quote or words of sympathy, or other elements of the person’s life. A plaque can come in many forms, including a glass plaque that sits on a desk and a wooden plaque that hangs on a wall.

Custom recipe book: A custom recipe book is an excellent choice when it comes to unique sympathy gifts. If the individual who passed away was passionate about cooking or had a lot of family recipes, creating a custom recipe book out of these is a great way to memorialize their efforts and work.

Sympathy gift ideas for loss of a mother

Personalized quilt: If you know of someone who lost a mother who was a fan of quilting or sewing, a personalized quilt is a unique and thoughtful funeral gift idea. You can also purchase a personalized blanket that features a family photo or a photo of the person who passed away so that they can keep them close.

Personalized jewelry: In terms of sympathy gift ideas other than flowers, personalized jewelry is very close in popularity to flowers. A personalized bracelet, necklace, or other piece of jewelry is a great way to allow the recipient to keep a memory of their loved one close to them at all times.

Memorial candle set: Was there a specific perfume or scent the mother enjoyed? A scent that reminds the recipient of good memories spent with their mom? A memorial candle set (or any candle) is a great way to remind them of better memories.

Sympathy gift ideas for loss of a husband or wife

Memorial ornament: Memorial ornaments can be customized and engraved with many elements, making this an excellent gift to give in lieu of flowers. Ornaments can be hung anywhere and are great for those who love holidays and wish to remember their husband or wife during these times.

Customized musical box: Did the couple have a favorite song? A song that reminds them of their partner? You can find a custom musical box online that plays the couple’s favorite song when opened, reminding the recipient of something special to them.

Photo lantern: Photo lanterns make great funeral gift ideas, especially for a grieving husband or wife. You can customize a photo lantern with photos of the couple and any text you’d like to include. The photos will light up any time the recipient turns on the light, brightening their day.

Anniversary plaque: You can purchase customized plaques out of stone or wood (especially on sites like Etsy) and have it include the name of the couple as well as a brief quote, saying, or words of comfort.

Now that you have some gift ideas for someone who lost a loved one, you should feel better equipped to find the right gift for the person you have in mind. Try to remember that many people appreciate the gesture regardless of what you give and that having you there in a support role will be useful and helpful on its own.

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Last updated June 15, 2022
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