What Can You Give Someone Who Lost a Loved One: 12 Sympathy Gift Ideas

By  //  November 21, 2022

When someone loses a loved one, they feel like their world is crashing down, and the best thing you can do is cheer them up during this difficult moment.

There are many simple things you can do: sending flowers or a sympathy card, helping in planning the funeral or a memorial gathering, donating in honor of the deceased—the list goes on.

Here are 10 sympathy gift ideas that will help ease the pain of loss:


Sending along a batch of sympathy flowers to the bereaved will show them that you care. The recipient of the flowers will appreciate them even more if there is a message attached that says something like: “I’m thinking about you.”

If you want to send flowers but don’t know what kind would suit the recipient’s personality or culture best, do some research online or consult their closest friends. You might also consider picking flowers from your garden instead of going out-of-town shopping.

Potted Plants

Potted plants are a classic sympathy gift and a great alternative to sympathy flowers. They can be a good way to remember the deceased person, their favorite color, or season.

For example: If you know that your friend lost their loved one in December, potted Christmas cactus would be an appropriate plant for them to have in their home. Or if you’re looking for something not so common, try potted poinsettias.


There are many options when it comes to food. You can give a grieving family a box of their favorite cookies, a tray of freshly made cupcakes, or even just a package of the deceased’s favorite foods.

If you’ve got any recipes that were special favorites of the deceased person—or if they were especially skilled in the kitchen—then why not share them with their loved ones? But be careful not to hurt the recipient even more; some people don’t want to be reminded about the deceased’s favorites this early.

Donation to a Cause

Donations should be made in memory or honor of the deceased person. If someone has recently passed away and their family is still reeling from the loss, consider giving them something they’d enjoy: music albums or movies, books or games, toys, candy bars—whatever the deceased would have enjoyed while they were still around.

Sending clothes, money, and hygiene packs to the bereaved family can also be an incredibly comforting gesture.

A Special Memory With the Deceased

This is a great idea when you want to honor someone who has passed away, but you don’t have anything tangible like a photo or video. You can do this by creating something that represents their life and personality—a scrapbook or letter, for example.

Or perhaps you’d like to make a montage of photos from the life you or the recipient shared with the deceased.

A Teddy Bear or Stuffed Animal With a Note

A teddy bear or stuffed animal with a heartfelt note attached is a classic sympathy gift. The note should be personal and heartfelt, acknowledging that you share the loss with the bereaved person.

The teddy bear is a timeless toy that offers children some comfortable squeeze, but it can also give adults companionship and a “friend to talk to”. The best part about giving someone a teddy bear is that it doesn’t have to cost much money—you can find them at most craft stores at a cheap price.

Alternatively, you can make a stuffed animal yourself with materials from around your house.

A Framed Quote

You can find quotes to frame on the internet or you can write your own and frame it yourself. Regardless of the option you choose, ensure you print the quote in a large size and that it fits nicely into the frame.

Sympathy Plants

Plants, especially flowering ones, are yet another valuable gift for someone who lost a loved one. The recipient will enjoy the plant for years to come. Plants are therefore an excellent way of remembering someone who died.

They will also purify the air in the recipient’s home and provide beauty—and even therapeutic benefits. There are many options, including succulents, herbs, and flowers.

The Gift of Time and Companionship

Offer to help with chores or other tasks that need doing around the house. This can be especially helpful for people who are recovering from a loss and may feel overwhelmed by having to do everything themselves.

You may also have some helpful suggestions on how best to tackle those tasks (for example: “I know that it’s hard for you when you’re not feeling well, so maybe we could make dinner together?”). This will make your friend’s life easy during this difficult time.

Customized Photo Cushion

Create a personalized photo cushion to express your sympathy. Find a photo of the deceased and have it printed onto a cushion cover fabric like cotton, silk, rayon, or satin. You can even use faux fur if you’d like.

Condolence Book

A book of condolence is a way to keep alive the memories of the deceased. It’s also an opportunity for you to show support for their family members who are grieving — it shows you’re thinking about them.

Sympathy Gift Basket

You can choose from many different types of sympathy baskets, including:

■ Sympathy flower bouquet

■ Sympathy fruit basket

■ Sympathy food basket (with soup, crackers, and cheese)

There are also several other options available if you’d like something more creative than flowers or fruit. For example:

■ A sympathy candle holder 

■ A handcrafted wooden box containing homemade cookies


The best gift you can give someone who has lost a loved one is time. They need support, compassion, and understanding to heal after the loss of their loved one.

Sympathy gifts can help ease the pain of grief by providing comfort, but they are also just a way of showing your love and respect for the deceased. Your gift should be thoughtful and practical. For example, choose meaningful flowers like carnations that symbolize sympathy and remembrance.