Gifting Occasions Sympathy

Best Sympathy Gift Ideas for Any Reason

white sympathy flower bouquet

The best sympathy gift is one that comes from the heart and takes into account who will be receiving the gift. Whenever a loved one, friend, or colleague experiences a loss, it’s a tough time. We want to ease their pain and show support. Choosing an appropriate gift to send your sympathies can feel challenging. Just remember that showing kindness and support is the most important thing for a grieving friend.

Your relationship with the grieving person makes a difference as well as the receiver’s relationship to the person who passed away. Because sending sympathy gifts usually arrive as an unexpected need, it can be difficult to come up with the right thoughtful gift with a limited amount of time. Let us help you choose the right gift for a bereaved or grieving loved one. They will appreciate the thought behind a helpful gift.

General Sympathy Gifts

No matter what your relationship to the grieving person or their relationship to the deceased, there are some universal sympathy gifts that can always show compassion and support. Select a gift from this list and you can’t go wrong. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have as much time, we offer same-day flower delivery and next-day flower delivery available. Try not to stress over finding the perfect gift. People will remember the effort and gesture more than any specific gift.


If you’re unsure what gift to send for sympathy, you can’t go wrong with traditional sympathy gifts.


white sympathy flowers on a wood table

Sympathy flowers are one of the most common gifts for a reason. Flowers for expressing sympathy can symbolize everything from love to friendship to remembrance to sincerity. Whether you’re sending a sympathy bouquet thousands of miles away or taking them to the wake yourself, your gesture will be almost universally recognized as a thoughtful gift that shows you are thinking about them.

Keep in mind cultural traditions when sending flowers as a condolence gift. For Jewish mourners, avoid sending flowers to the funeral service and ask if it’s appropriate to have sympathy flowers sent to the home. In Buddhist traditions, avoid any bouquet that includes the color red. Red flowers at funerals and memorials are considered poor etiquette.


potted plant with white blossoms on a wood shelf

Plants make a great sympathy gift because they can symbolize life and serve as a great memorial. Sending a potted plant makes a great choice because the recipient can choose to either keep the plant in the pot and display it in any room that gets sunlight or they can even plant it outdoors and let the plant flourish as a memorial.

Gift Baskets for Sympathy

Gift baskets are a versatile gift for sending condolences and support. Food and drinks are a great traditional gift for sympathy. They will be appreciated by people who don’t have the time or desire to cook or bake food and everyone can appreciate a gift that symbolizes sustenance. Depending on the preferences of your loved one, you can opt for a sweet gift basket.


If you’re looking for a more personal sympathy gift or you want to complement that bouquet with something personalized, try one of these great gifts.

Everyone can use and appreciate some self-care, especially during a difficult period. Bereavement can be a draining and exhaustive time. A little self-care can go a long way but sometimes we don’t take that time for ourselves. Gifting a spa day helps a loved one recharge their energy and emotions and relax at a time they need it most but might forget to take the time.

Professional housekeeping/organizer services

Related to self–care is cleaning and organizing. Especially for someone that hosted a memorial event at their home, hiring a professional housekeeper or organizer can work wonders. Cluttered spaces can contribute to anxiety and stress so professional help at keeping their space organized and clean is always appreciated.


stack of books in library lit by sunlight

Books can be a great way for people to unwind during stressful times. With books though, it’s important to know the person you’re gifting to. An avid fiction reader might appreciate a new book by their favorite author or a pick from their preferred genre of choice. Others might benefit from a memoir that addresses loss and grief. And even others might love a more visual coffee table type book that they can display and enjoy. We love reading and would be happy with any of those selections (or all three!). Don’t hesitate to ask a friend or family member what would be a great choice.

Wind Chimes

Wind chimes are a great memorial gift. They help instill a sense of peace and calm whenever the wind blows, reminding the recipient of their loved one. They can also be personalized in a lot of ways from a photo or a favorite quote to a personal item to remember someone by. Especially for people into gardening or spending time in their yard, they make a great gift along with flowers. If you need to send something quick, you can send a sympathy arrangement and then follow up a few weeks later with a personalized wind chime.

Personalized Memorial Candle

Memorial candles are a tasteful and caring sympathy gift. Having the candle personalized gives the recipient options. They can choose to slowly burn the candle in memoriam at important dates or they can simply display the candle in their home.

Sympathy Gift Ideas for Specific Occasions

If you want to get a little more personal and customized consider some of these sympathy gifts.

Gifts for the Loss of a Spouse

The loss of a spouse will be a very trying time in someone’s life. To show support for someone mourning the loss of their partner, personalized gifts are usually fitting.

Memorial Framed Photo

Framed photos will always be treasured by someone who lost a spouse. Photo are one of the most important keepsakes that someone can have of someone they love. For a variation on the memorial framed photo, you can try creating a locket that can be worn as a necklace so your loved one can always keep an image of their spouse close to their heart.

Digital Picture Frame

As we are fully immersed in the digital age, a lot of our pictures are now digitized and kept on computers and smartphones. A digital picture frame lets someone show their favorite photos of their loved one. The best part of a digital picture frame is that it’s easy to switch photos or create a slideshow of favorite pictures.

Custom Journal

For the avid journaler, few gifts will be more appropriate than a fresh, personalized journal. You can select from specialized leather covers to other custom prints with someone to memorialize the lost spouse.

Tree Sapling

small tree growing in a pot ready to be planted

For a different type of gift consider a tree sapling. Especially if the survivor is a lover of plants and trees a tree sapling can make a long-lasting, meaningful gift. See something grow in memory of a loved one is often an important part of the healing process. Trees can help create a calm, stabilizing atmosphere around the home or other important space.

Loss of a Parent

Unfortunately, losing a parent is something the majority of us have to experience at some point in our lives. What makes a good gift for someone who lost a parent will greatly depend on the age of the person who lost their parent. While it’s always difficult, finding an appropriate gift for the loss of a parent is easier for someone in their 40s than a child who just lost a parent.

Blankets and Stuffed Animals

While nothing can replace the embrace of a parent for a child, a gift that helps keep them cozy at night and that they can hold onto will help with the healing process. The tactile nature of stuffed animals and comfortable blankets does help soothe the pain in small but important ways. Children can derive feelings of comfort from not physically being left to their own devices at night.

Photo Coffee Mug

For an older adult that lost a parent, a different type of gift can help keep them warm in the morning. A photographic coffee (or tea!) mug is a great way to help a friend or family member remember their loved one with a favorite photo that reminds them of the good times.

Loss of a Friend

Losing a friend can make for some difficult days. Friends are the family we choose and help us through the toughest times in life. So losing a friend can feel like losing part of yourself. Its tough to really replace what is lost when a friend passes too soon, that empty space in your heart and mind. But some gifts can help comfort and support when a friend is lost.

Bath Bomb

Bomb bombs are great for people that love to take baths. There is nothing like sitting in a hot tub and letting the water relax you. But this type of sympathy gift could take other forms if someone doesn’t have a bathtub at home. Pillows and throw blankets also help provide comfort, rest, and relaxation, some of the things people need most when processing the loss of a friend.

Sympathy Gift Box

A comforting reminder that you care about a friend can take the form of any number of gift boxes. It really depends on the grieving friend’s personal interests. We offer artisan-designed flower gift sets and a few non-floral gift boxes. If your friend is into a specific theme, Loot Crate has many types of themed gift boxes. If your friend is into cooking, Curio Spice Company has some great gift sets and who wouldn’t appreciate a box of artisan curated cheese.

Gifts that Keep Giving

Many people remember to give a gift immediately after a loss but sometimes a month or two months later is the hardest when many friends, family, and acquaintances have moved on yet the family/close friends are still grieving. Gifts that pay off over time are some of the best for grieving friends and family.

Flower Subscriptions

The best thing about a flower subscription is that it can lift the spirits of a grieving person for months after the event. Loss is not experienced just once right after someone passes but can be a long process of mourning and remembrance. With our flower subscription service, your loved one will know you care about them months later. You can even send new personalized messages every month to let them know how much you care.

Yoga, Meditation, Dancing or Cooking Class

Sometimes the best thing to do after a loss is to change up your routine, get out of the house and try some new things. You can pick the best class based on the person you are shopping for. Some people will benefit most from something like yoga or meditation that will help with balancing the mind and body. Others might want to do something more social with their partners like a swing or ballroom dance class. And yet others could prefer learning a new, useful skill like cooking that offers practical benefits in addition to being fun. If someone grieving has shown a desire to learn something in the past, then go for it with a class.

Loss of a Favorite Pet

At The Bouqs, we love our pets. Losing a favorite pet can be a heartbreaking event, especially if that pet helped you through other tough times (or just enjoyed the good times with you!).

Framed Photo

Photos of your pets are wonderful ways to never forget the love you shared. If you can get access to a loved one’s pet photos, a framed photo is a great way to surprise them with a gift they will certainly cherish in the coming years. Just like above, you also might want to consider a digital picture frame if they’ve collected a bank of photos on their phone or tablet.

Pet Art

If you have access to their photos already, consider going a step further and hiring a local artist to paint a picture of their beloved animal pal. A lot of local artists do pet art (try Etsy!) and that way you can help support your local community in addition to finding a treasured gift for your loved one.

A Keepsake (keychain, lockett, etc)

Another good memorial, especially for people on the go, is a keepsake they can take with them. A keychain is always good or a lockett for those that like wearing necklaces are great memorials for favorite pets.

Gift for the Loss of a Job

While losing a job isn’t the same thing as losing a loved one (or even a pet), it can still make for a difficult, life-changing event. People have rent, mortgages and health insurance to pay, and losing a job ranks as one of the largest stress events people experience, especially if it’s out of the blue.

Night Out

This gift idea can take different forms depending on the person. Some people will relish a night at their favorite karaoke bar, others might prefer a weekend in Vegas, tickets to their favorite sports team or Broadway show, or just quiet dinner out. A night out can help relax them and help them unwind before having to get back on the job hunt again.

No matter what gift you ultimately choose to go with, the important thing is that you are showing someone you are thinking about them and you are there to offer support. No matter what type of loss someone is experiencing, a sympathy gift can help ease the suffering. Whether you opt to send a bouquet online or take out for their favorite meal, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness.

Sympathy Gifts For Your Loved Ones

The most appropriate sympathy gifts can vary as much as people. But the important thing is to let them know you care and are thinking about them. Wherever they are in the grief process, they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness. If you need some more tips on which flowers to send to the funeral, we can help you there too. Also, if you’re looking for gifts for retirement, you can read more of our posts about gifting.

Experiencing loss is a difficult time for everyone. We can help you show your support and offer comfort. Love first. Flowers second. Kindness always.

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