Top 25 Grieving Gifts

Thoughtful Gifts For Family & Friends After They've Suffered A Loss

When someone close to you experiences the death of a loved one, it's not easy to navigate helping them cope. A bereavement gift is a thoughtful way to show that you care about your friend, coworker, or family member. It also expresses that you will hold onto their loved one's memory, which is a gift in itself. 

But what type of sympathy gift should you give? To whom should you send it? What is the etiquette surrounding this process? These questions and more can become overwhelming, especially when you're grieving as well. To show your support and compassion for a grieving family member or friend, review the top 25 thoughtful grieving gift ideas in 2021.

What Is A Grief Gift?

When a loved one passes away, grief gifts are symbols of support and condolence. Though nothing will fill the painful hole of someone's grief, a sympathy gift of your choosing could make all the difference for someone in need.

There are many types of bereavement gifts. Traditionally, loved ones offer food and desserts for the grieving family. It can be beneficial to provide prepared meals.

When grieving the death of a loved one, cooking likely will be far from one's mind. Other traditional bereavement ideas stem from religious customs. 

Unique bereavement gifts in 2021 may stray far from traditional expectations. An excellent gift could be an extravagant care package full of self-care items or a small act of kindness by offering to babysit their children for an hour. Grief gifts can be practical, sentimental, and could provide a glimpse of comfort in a heart-wrenching time.

Who Would You Purchase A Grief Gift For?

Grieving friends or family members are generally individuals who would receive bereavement gifts. People also send gifts to colleagues, church members, and school teachers to gesture support, even if they are not as close. When deciding to whom you should purchase a grief gift for, think about how close you are to the deceased or the family, as well as the community you share in daily life.

Here Are Some Things To Consider:

  • If you were very close with the person who passed away, it is appropriate to address your gift to the immediate family.
  • If the deceased was a family member of your close friend, an appropriate sympathy gift could be addressed to your friend's name "and family."
  • When your family member passes away, there are likely many relatives grieving at the same time. Giving sympathy cards to multiple members of the family is a nice gesture. Or consider a donation to the deceased's favorite charity as a unique and memorable gift that may inspire others to do the same. 
  • If a church member or other community member experiences the death of a loved one, consider gathering a group of members to contribute to one large gift.

Where Would You Find A Grief Gift?

There are numerous options to find bereavement gift ideas, even in 2021 when many stores are still shut down and recovering from the pandemic. Here are areas to find the best sympathy gift ideas for you.


Local shops that are open will have floral and other plant selections or unique finds in smaller boutiques. If you know the deceased's favorite store, consider browsing for something personable and show the family you took time and effort to preserve their loved one's memory. 


Shopping online for a remembrance gift is easy, accessible, and still preserves the thoughtfulness in each offering. Many online shops will customize, wrap or decorate, and send your gift for you. Consider purchasing your gift online and sending it yourself with a homemade sympathy card for a more personal touch. 

Websites like Everlasting Memories have handmade and customized selections to preserve the deceased's legacy even after they've passed away. Browse here for photo engraved jewelry, custom fingerprint jewelry, memorial jewelry, and more. Personalized memorial gifts like these will help the family hold their loved ones close to their heart far beyond 2021. 


It is entirely appropriate and meaningful to express your condolences through a handmade gift. This could be preparing meals for the deceased's family, sending homemade jam or chutney, or assembling a care package.

If you have particular skills like scrapbooking or knitting, consider using those talents to create a one-of-a-kind impression. 

Grief Gift Etiquette

Searching for the right gift is one thing, but what about gift etiquette? If you are feeling the pressure to know all the proper logistics and guidelines when it comes to a sympathy gift, there is no need to worry. Below you will find everything there is to know so all you must do is focus on the gift itself.


The best time to send a sympathy gift is as soon as you hear the news of your recipient’s loved one's passing. If there is a funeral, memorial, or celebration of life, it is appropriate to bring the gifts to the service if you are in attendance. If the service is more than a few weeks away after the death, one idea is to send a sympathy card immediately, then bring your gift when you see the family in person. This way, the family knows you're thinking of them in the meantime. 

Often people will think that an immediate bereavement gift is good enough. But remember that after the funeral or memorial, the family is still in pain. One way to inform the family you are still thinking about them is to send a sympathy card or another gift six months after their loved one's death.

Consider another card on the year anniversary. It is a common misconception that most families do not wish to be reminded of their loved one's passing. The truth is that they will never forget the deceased. Cards on significant days will remind the family that their loved one's memory still lives on through others.

Another great way to show your empathy is to pick a gift such as a memorial bench or tree. If you choose this route, it will take some time. Consider sending a sympathy card right away and inform the family of your gift. Then, when the project is complete, you may reveal it to the deceased's loved ones.

What Should I Do If I Missed The Appropriate Timeline To Send A Card?

Not everyone will stay within these timelines. Though it is ideal to send a sympathy gift as soon as you hear about the death, it is okay to send one later on.

There is no particular need to explain why you took so long to send a gift, however. Think about what would make a compelling and memorable impression on the family, even if it is a simple sympathy card and a handwritten note inside.


There are several factors to consider while determining which type of bereavement gift you should send. Answer these questions:

How Close Were You To The Deceased?

Close family and friends may opt for a larger gift such as a customized memorial bench.

How Close Are You To The Family?

If you are very close to the deceased's family, consider in addition to your initial bereavement gift to perform acts of service. This could be something small like offering to do the dishes or helping to organize gifts. 

Did The Family Request A Specific Gift In Lieu Of Flowers, Such As A Donation?

Even if you think a particular flower bouquet is a perfect gift for the bereaved, be sure always to honor the family's wishes. 

Is A Gift Necessary? What About Just A Card?

Sometimes it's better only to send a sympathy card. If you are not so close with the deceased or their family, this is an appropriate gesture.


There are many factors that play into choosing a traditional gift or a more unique grieving gift. Keep the family foremost in your mind and select a grieving gift that you feel best reflects your sympathy and will bring some comfort.

Traditional Grief Gifts

If you genuinely don't know where to begin in determining an appropriate bereavement gift, there is nothing wrong with going by tradition. Unless the family requests otherwise, flowers and prepared meals are commonly accepted as sincere and meaningful grief gifts. However, note that Jewish funerals typically do not receive flowers.

Unique Grief Gifts

More unique gifts for the loss of loved ones could incorporate a personalized aspect. For instance, photo engraved jewelry is a great way to send a grieving friend or family member something to cherish for a lifetime. Check out this Gem Circle Photo Engraved Gold Plated Keepsake. Or you can purchase this Memorial Keepsake Box to store mementos of the deceased.

What About Donations Instead Of A Gift?

Sometimes the family of the deceased will ask for donations instead of gifts. If this is the case, respect the family's wishes. It is appropriate to both give a gift and donate. Keep in mind that the charity the family has chosen is likely something near and dear to their hearts.

For example, if their loved one died of cancer, they may request that you donate to help fund cancer research. Or they may have picked an organization that was highly revered by the deceased.

Top Sympathy Gift Ideas For 2021

Below you will find a list of the Top 25 Sympathy Gift Ideas for 2021.


Gifting flowers and potted plants are a wonderful way to show someone you are thinking about them. Flowers represent love, friendship, and joy. They are gorgeous to look at and provide a little bit of beauty during a dark time.

But flowers die quickly. If you want to purchase a plant as your bereavement gift but want it to last a long time, consider alternatives like succulents. They are low maintenance and will last quite a while.

Keep In Mind:

If the person receiving your gift owns pets, try your best to find nontoxic plants to give. Roses and sunflowers are lovely choices for pet-safe flowers. Sempervivum and Burro's Trail are great nontoxic succulents to purchase as gifts. 

If you want to add a personal touch, consider shopping for a special plant pot shaped like the deceased's favorite animal. Better yet, paint one yourself at a local pottery studio. 

When attending a traditional Jewish funeral, it is not customary to bring flowers as a gift. If the family members are nontraditional or secular Jews, flowers are likely a generous gift to remember someone who has passed.


Bringing prepared meals to the bereaved supports them in many aspects. As they experience the death of their loved one, cooking and eating may be far from their minds.

When all they need to do is pop a casserole in the oven, it will make their day easier. Meals are beneficial to give to parents with children. It will keep their family fed and full of nutrition when they're grieving. 


Gift certificates allow grieving individuals to choose what they want and need to help them get through this painful time in their lives. Gift cards could go toward grocery stores and restaurants. Or, they could focus more on self-care, such as massages and facials.

Keep In Mind:

As the pandemic continues, remember there still may be restrictions for certain services like massages and facials. Make sure the gift certificate you purchase will not expire.


This type of memorial jewelry allows the recipient to carry their loved ones with them anywhere they go. Nothing will ever replace a loved one who has passed. But cremation jewelry for ashes is a constant reminder of someone's life carrying on even if they are not physically there.

Discover this stunning new memorial jewelry 2021 edition Silver Misty Morning Ashes Into Jewelry. For a more masculine piece, consider this Large Truthful Teardrop Memorial Pendant.

For more information look through The Ultimate Guide On Buying Cremation Jewelry. 


Housework, paper filing, finding Tupperware to store all the prepared meals one receives are all details that are frequently overlooked when a loved one dies. 

Consider acts of service such as house cleaning or babysitting as a practical bereavement gift. Small tasks can feel overwhelming for grieving friends and family. Your kindness and support will go a long way.

Keep In Mind:

If you are unavailable to help with household chores but would like to assist, consider a gift card for cleaning services. Bereavement gift ideas in 2021 have become more challenging due to COVID-19. Ensure that you're respectful of COVID-19 safety protocol when offering your acts of service or other practical gifts. 


Gift baskets or care packages are excellent bereavement gift ideas. You can purchase assembled food baskets that contain nonperishable items like nuts and chocolate.

Others, which may be more valuable care package ideas for grieving in 2021, would be household essentials. They could contain toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizers, masks, and other necessary items. 


A tree sapling to plant in memory of the deceased is a thoughtful gesture. They are full of life and encourage the dead's legacy to live on.

This is an excellent idea for those who know their loved ones cared deeply about the environment. It also provides a memorial space in nature for loved ones to visit and remember a lasting legacy. Visiting remembrance trees throughout the years will provide comfort for a lifetime. 

Keep In Mind:

Consider the type of tree that would best symbolize the deceased. Birch trees represent youth and renewal. Oak trees embody strength and persistence. Willow trees symbolize imagination and intuition. 

Another critical component of the selection is the physical environment. Many people select maple trees to plant as a sympathy gift as they thrive in various conditions. Planting a bush or flowers may be a better option for your bereavement gift.


Fingerprint jewelry is a compassionate grief gift to send in 2021. It is a gift that symbolizes the living memory of the deceased.

There are many options of hand-crafted rings, bracelets, necklaces, and other accessories available at Everlasting Memories. This Sterling Silver Round Fingerprint Necklace is perfect for those who prefer a minimalist style. This Rose Gold Plated Loved Rectangle Fingerprint Necklace is a stunning choice for rose gold fans. 


Sympathy books as gifts are a practical way to help your close friends and family cope with loss. They may find new ideas to deal with their grief that will provide comfort. Browse here for some ideas to find the most suitable book for your bereavement gift. 


Purchasing or crafting a custom windchime will sustain peace and comfort throughout the years. Every time the wind blows, grieving family and friends may feel their loved one's presence or remember a story about them.

Consider engraving the deceased's name or favorite quote on the windchime for a personal touch.


Donating to the deceased's preferred charity is an honorable way to celebrate their life. Consider which organization is best. It could be a charity that helps to fund cancer research. Or, consider donating to a local cause the deceased cared about deeply.

If the person who passed enjoyed reading and learning, donations could go to public libraries in their hometown. There are many options to select from. Here is a list of charitable organizations.

Keep In Mind:

Families may request that instead of flowers or other conventional grief gifts, donations are made to a particular charity. If this is the case, follow the grieving family's wishes and honor their loved one with a small or large gift to the selected organization. 

Funeral costs are typically costly. Especially if the deceased was the family's breadwinner, think about if a donation to the family directly is better.


Candles promote a peaceful environment. If you need a cheaper sympathy gift, this could be perfect for you. Customized candle holders with engraved quotes or names will add personal details to keep the deceased's memory alive. 


This is a one-of-a-kind gift idea for grieving loved ones. Find a local or online artist to recreate a unique photo in a piece of art. You can select from realistic acrylic ideas or contemplate an abstract pastel or watercolor painting if more suitable for the deceased. Sand and texture recreations are also available.

Keep In Mind:

Do you love this idea but think that a custom painting will be too costly to consider? One way to get around this is to create your own digital artwork. Discover some of the best photo editing apps of 2021 here. You can recreate a loving memory with a few taps on your phone. 


A wall or desk portrait for grieving people is another idea for a visual reminder of their loved one's memory. Everlasting Memories is not only a helpful resource to find the latest memorial jewelry in 2021.

The company also offers personalized memorial portraits. This Forever Memorial Portrait or this Always Memorial Portrait are spectacular gifts to hang up in the home or office.


An elegant garden stone to place in one's yard is a lovely idea for a sympathy gift. When placed in a garden, it can become a memorial space that the family treasures for the rest of their life.

Consider this grief gift if the deceased enjoyed the outdoors. This way, the family may feel their presence any time they set their eyes on the stone. Think of which inspirational quotes, lessons from the deceased, or other engraved writing that you think will add to the dead's legacy.

Keep In Mind:

If the grieving family members are religious, a cross or other spiritual symbols could be gifted instead of a garden stone. Use this as an opportunity to engrave significant bible verses or additional spiritual quotes into the gift. 


Similar to garden stones, statues are great ways to memorialize a person's legacy. You can find artists to make custom engraved angel statues or other figurines. These can also be ornament ideas to hang on a Christmas tree or windchime.


A blanket is a remembrance gift that will bring a bit of comfort to those who are grieving. Weighted blankets are meant to ease anxiety, which could bring peace to grieving friends and help them get some sleep.

Hand-knitted blankets are personal and cozy. No matter how many throw blankets someone has, something handmade will stand out as memorable. Another idea is to create a custom quilt with squares representing different qualities or life moments of the deceased.

Keep In Mind:

Quilt projects can take a long time. If you need some help, you can make this a group project. If your friends and family are also grieving, this can bring some distraction and quality time with loved ones during such a tumultuous time.


Journals are a great gift to promote self-reflection when coping with grief. Help your grieving friend or family member find a creative way to cope with loss by sending them a well-crafted journal. With the heightened anxiety from the pandemic, there is all the more reason to make journaling a habit for comfort and ease.


A fantastic care package idea for grieving friends and family is to prepare some spa items to help them relax. Bath bombs, cozy slippers, self massagers, and other wellness products make for a gift that brings some peace and calm.


You can give a custom bird feeder or birdbath for yards or gardens. Birds represent freedom, peace, hope, and love. They are a symbol of rebirth.

This is a terrific bereavement gift because you can engrave personalized names and phrases. Plus, any time a bird bathes in the bath or eats from the feeder, grieving individuals can see a living connection to their loved ones. 


Holidays will be tough to get through when grieving. When your friends or family experience the loss of a loved one, keeping a reminder of a legacy during the holidays can be comforting. An ornament is a great idea to purchase or make yourself.

Keep In Mind:

If you're short on cash but want to give something meaningful and personalized, this is a great idea for you. You can purchase an inexpensive and simple ornament. Then, take some construction paper and write a quote or message about the deceased. Another idea is to place a photo inside. 

This is a great project idea for children to participate in. Consider making an ornament for each family member.


Aside from cremation and fingerprint jewelry, 2021 grief gifts continue to lean toward other remembrance jewelry. Photo engraved jewelry in 2021 looks better than ever. 

Everlasting Memories has options for gold, silver, and rose gold jewelry. If your grieving friend or relative enjoys a classic and modern look, try out this Diamond Photo Engraved Stainless Keepsake. For colored photo engraved jewelry, this Gem Circle Color Photo Engraved Stainless Keepsake is a stunning piece to purchase.

For more information, review How To Choose The Perfect Personalized Photo Engraved Jewelry.


Wall decor featuring the deceased loved one's favorite inspirational quotes, or general sympathy quotes is a worthy remembrance gift. It will display reminders of coping with grief and help grieving friends and family get through the day. 

Keep In Mind:

If you're unsure what to have written on the piece, think about ideas from lessons the deceased taught you or the values they lived by. 


A grief gift comes from the heart. You could spend all the money in the world, but nothing speaks more than kind words that make people feel even the slightest bit of comfort when enduring such pain.

Consider filling a jar full of messages as your sympathy gift. You can find general condolence messages online or come up with your own. 


This unique idea is perfect for those seeking a DIY project to make for a compelling remembrance gift. 

If you're new to scrapbooking, don't allow that to hold you back. A scrapbook as a sympathy gift shows you care enough to get creative and put effort into your present.

Keep In Mind:

  1. Gather the basics. Grab some colored and patterned paper, scissors, glue, pens and pencil, and your scrapbook base. 
  2. Select a theme for your scrapbook. This can be anything from color themes or specific themes related to the person who has passed away. For instance, if they were an animal lover, a perfect scrapbook theme can be animals. Perhaps the theme is a timeline of the deceased's life. 
  3. Brainstorm stories you want to share. One idea is to think in chronological order, from childhood memories to stories of when the person who has passed away was nearing the end. 
  4. Compile significant photos you want to feature in the scrapbook. To include relatives in this process for more of a selection, share a Google photos album so multiple people can contribute. 
  5. Think about how you wish to design the scrapbook. Do you want a minimalist and delicate placement of items? Maybe it makes more sense to make a loose collage?
  6. Put together your scrapbook with all these elements. In blank spaces, you may add written snippets from your brainstormed stories. 
  7. Create a title page to show the dedication of the scrapbook. 
  8. Don't forget to add embellishments. Lace, felt, or glitter makes for unique additions. 

Budgeting For Your Sympathy Gift

Read on for ways to figure out how to best budget for your grief gift. 


With regards to sympathy gifts, the motto that it's the thought that counts holds true. There is no rule as to how much you should spend. But there are some things to consider while you decide.


Funeral and memorial expenses can add up. Consider how your sympathy gift may help the family's financial situation, especially if the deceased was the breadwinner. If a family might be financially struggling, it is appropriate to simply give cash and a sympathy card.

Be discrete when handing them the card, so they do not open it right away in front of others. Some may feel embarrassed receiving money, so say something like, "there is a little something else in there." Be sure to respect the family's wishes if they would rather you donate to a charity. 


Keep in mind shipping and travel costs when budgeting for your gift. If you cannot make it to the funeral or other service, you may need to send it in the mail. Remember that it is always best to send the remembrance gift as soon as you hear about the death. 


This will significantly affect your budget depending on your preferred gift. Factors such as your relationship with the deceased's family should help you determine whether or not you should send one or multiple gifts. It is appropriate to send multiple personal gifts if you know the family well.

Top 25 Grieving Gifts Frequently Asked Questions

Read below to see some of the most frequently asked questions regarding choosing the best grieving gift for a family member or friend.

How soon should I give a sympathy gift to a friend?

It is proper etiquette to send your gift as soon as you hear about the death. That is unless there is a funeral where you would bring your contribution there. Keep in mind that families may have special requests when it comes to gifts. If they ask for a donation instead of a charity, do respect those wishes.

This rule can be flexible. If particular circumstances compel you to send a gift later on, do what you think is best. If you miss the initial window to send a gift, that is okay. Send a card and gift anyway to show the family you are thinking about them and their loved one. There is no need to explain why you were late in its delivery. The thought of a grief gift is better than none at all. 

How can I help out a grieving friend?

Selecting a well-thought-out sympathy gift will help your friend know that you care. Other ways to help grieving friends are not to be shy about naming their loved ones. Often people assume bringing up the deceased will only hurt their loved ones more.

Keeping their name, stories, and life lessons alive is a comforting way to cope with grief. However, if your friend explicitly says they do not wish to talk about the deceased, honor their wishes.

Another way to help a grieving friend is to be intentional with your language. Questions like "How are you feeling today?" instead of "How are you?" are small but impactful shifts in language. It is apparent they are not well in general, but asking about a particular feeling or time is a more thoughtful approach.

Lastly, remember to reach out even after the service. Grief does not disappear. It will stay with someone forever. Even if your friend appears to be doing better, don't assume they won't appreciate you reaching out. 

What is an appropriate sympathy gift?

The gift will depend on how close you were with the deceased and how close you are with the family. If you are very close, offering acts of service like cleaning up their home is an appropriate gesture. Anything that requires you to go in their intimate space or a deeply personal gift is appropriate. 

If you are not so close to the family, a simpler, less personal gift makes more sense. Consider a food basket or flowers. If you were very distant from the deceased, a simple card would do just fine.

Should I get grieving gifts for all members of the family?

Suppose you want to send gifts to each immediate family member. If you do not know them well, it may not be appropriate for you to do so. However, if you feel you are close enough to the family members, this is a fantastic idea to show your deepest condolences. 

What is an appropriate grieving gift for a child?

Finding the best gift for a grieving child can be a challenge. But think about it similarly to adults. Children also want to find comfort and help their loved ones stay alive even though their bodies are no longer with them. 

One idea is to give a memory box to a child. It can be used to keep their favorite trinkets and mementos for the child to remember the deceased. Sketchbooks and high-quality pens and pencils are a good gift for older children who may express themselves better through art.

For younger children, consider a stuffed animal. Coloring books and colored pencils are heartfelt gifts for kids to help find a distraction. When in doubt, think about an item or an experience that will keep the child occupied or remind them of their loved one. 

What do I send when someone dies instead of flowers?

In lieu of flowers, thoughtful gifts like donations to the deceased's favorite charity or a personalized item are great alternatives. Express your sympathy by giving your grieving friends or family this Gem Heart Photo Engraved Gold Plated Over Stainless Keepsake. They will treasure this item for a lifetime. 

Should I make a care package for someone that is grieving?

A care package is a meaningful and practical gift to give. If you know the family very well, consider this option with some personal touches. You can create your own care package with essential household items, toiletries, prepared meals, and books. Children's books and grief resources are helpful to add in care packages as well. 

Think hard about what the grieving family might need. When people lose their loved ones, they will be asked how someone can help or what they can do. It might be difficult for someone to specify what they need, or they may be too shy or embarrassed to ask you. Because of this, simply acting upon what you think they may need will go a long way. 

What if I cannot attend the memorial?

There are numerous reasons why you may not be able to attend the service. Especially in 2021, even as vaccines roll out and gatherings become more frequent, it may still not be an option for you. Thankfully, this past year has generated some creative and comforting ideas to interact with grieving family and friends, even from a distance. 

First, if you cannot attend in person, still send a gift. Remember that the best timeline to send a gift is as soon as you hear the news of the death. If you are very close to the grieving family, one idea that may help them is to find a support group online. You can attend with this person and then talk about how you think it went. Another idea is to put together a virtual guest book or photo collage for the family. First, see if the funeral home or event already has a guest book.

For more information on grief during the pandemic, click to read Loss Amidst A Pandemic. 

What if there is no service at all?

Even if the family chooses not to host a gathering, it is still customary to send a gift. Unless otherwise specified by the family, remember that a sympathy gift will show you care deeply about the deceased and their loved ones. 

How many gifts should I send?

As time passes, grief remains. Although your relatives or friends may seem like they are doing better, it does not mean that they are not hurting. One way to continue to show up for them is by sending another sympathy gift months after the death. On the first anniversary, consider sending a sympathy card. 

Showing Love & Support With Personally Selected Grieving Gifts

Nothing in the world will take away the pain of losing a loved one. However, you can help bring peace and comfort to grieving friends and family by choosing a memorable grief gift.

From beautiful floral arrangements to a hand-knitted blanket or even a scrapbook that the family did together, showing family and friends that gone does not mean forgotten can be done with sympathy gifts and grieving gifts that are selected with love and a show of support.

Further reading:

Writing letters as a form of grieving

Losing a loved one or pet: What to expect the first year

Healing after loss through the grieving process

April 28, 2021 by Frances Kay