Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Finding a thoughtful way to offer and show your condolences can be difficult. Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts – what is right?

Whether you’d like to pay your respects, give a memento to celebrate their life, or offer practical support to the grieving family, there are many options when choosing gifts for someone who has lost a loved one.

In this article, you’ll find some ideas for thoughtful sympathy gifts and bereavement gifts, as well as some tips to help you decide what to give and when.

What makes a good Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts

Everyone approaches grief differently, so it’s important to go for a more personal approach and choose a sympathy gift that reflects both the recipient and the person they have lost. Whatever you give, make sure to accompany it with a written card expressing your condolences, sharing a memory of the deceased, and offering support.

Here are a few different bereavement gift ideas to help .

Thoughtful sympathy gifts

Tailoring your gift is a thoughtful way to express your sympathy and ideally personalize it as much as you can.

Personalized sympathy gifts

A personalized Condolence gift focuses on the deceased and helps to keep their memory alive. A Memorial Tree, A Memorial tree with an embedded Donation to a related Charity, photo frames, and jewelry inscribed with the person’s name, photo, and the date of their birth and death are a lovely way for the bereaved to keep that special person close to them.

Practical sympathy gifts

The family will be balancing their emotions dealing with legal proceedings and funeral arrangements, the bereaved family may be struggling to keep on top of things. Even if it doesn’t feel particularly special, a delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables, a freezer full of home-cooked meals, or even a basket of essential household items is sure to be appreciated. But remember to also be around / be in contact when things settle down.

Sympathy gifts for the bereaved

When a loved one dies the family and those nearest to the loss, may feel it is inappropriate to spend time enjoying themselves. Fine wine and chocolates or a mini-break or day out with friends are wonderful gifts that even if a little further down the road, will still be appreciated even if offered and not yet accepted.

Classic bereavement gifts

If you’re not sure what to get, particularly if you didn’t know the deceased or their family very well, you can always fall back on the classic sympathy gift ideas, a Tree, Plants, Flowers, photo frames, jewellery, candles, and gift baskets are all sure to be well received and appreciated.

The etiquette of bereavement gifting

Giving a sympathy gift can sometimes feel awkward – or you may worry about causing fresh upset for the bereaved during an emotional time. Many don’t know what to say, don’t know what to do, but it is important to continue to talk about the person lost and not avoid the subject, that in itself can cause more upset. When someone dies, it’s important to be respectful but as long as your gift comes from a warm heart it will help and always be remembered.

However, following the etiquette behind sympathy gifting is always a good idea.

Is it appropriate to give Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts?

Receiving a gift in a time of mourning can be comforting, the bereaved will be genuinely grateful for the gesture. However, if giving a gift feels uncomfortable for any reason, you can’t go wrong by arranging the planting of a tree and sending the Tree planting Certificate with a simple card that may say. ‘Just to let you know i/ we are thinking about you.’ That can mean a lot!

When should you send a sympathy gift?

It’s best to send your gift as soon as possible after learning about the death, preferably within a couple of weeks, at the one-month anniversary, on the annual anniversary etc, If you’d like to give them something more personal that will take longer to organize, send a card straight away to let them know they are in your thoughts. What to write can be difficult, so maybe something short yet Personal. Our website Irishurns and our website Irish trees both offer some appropriate messages that might inspire you so click here.

Who should you send Sympathy Gifts and Bereavement gifts to?

Sympathy gifts are usually sent to the deceased’s spouse or an immediate family member. If a friend has lost a loved one, sending them a personal gift is absolutely fine and a great way to ensure that you give them something personalized. However, if there is a death in your family and there are many people mourning the loss, a gesture such as planting a tree in the deceased’s name or donating to their favourite charity or with Irish Trees you can do both as well as the tree planting Certificate being accompanied by a handwritten Condolence, on a handmade card.

Choosing thoughtful bereavement gift ideas for someone who has lost a loved one.

It can be hard to know what to buy for a friend or relative who has lost someone. We’ve put together a list of thoughtful bereavement gift ideas to help you choose the right item to send your condolences and honour the memory of a special person.

Memorial Tree Planting

Healing the heart and the planet. A gesture that will be appreciated now but remembered forever. It is probably the most enduring act, and an act that will last a lifetime.

Food hamper

Whether you purchase a pre-made hamper online or put together a selection of their favourite food, drinks, and snacks yourself, this gift is sure to be appreciated.


Flowers are often the first thing that comes to mind when people think of a sympathy gift. They brighten up a room and offer a gentle reminder of the beauty of life but families often get too many or ask that flowers are restricted to family only. The other drawback is that they do fade and die and that may not be the experience they need. So perhaps a plant or a Tree for their garden?

Care package

A care package is a great way to remind someone that they are loved and to support them through their grief. Scented candles, calming teas, poetry books, and comfort food like chocolate and biscuits are just a few of the items that you might include in a sympathy care package.

Personalised gift

Most types of gifts can be personalised in some way, making them even more special. This shows that your gift is from the heart, and isn’t simply something generic that was bought last minute. The Planting of a memorial tree, Jewellery, photo frames, and blankets/ Foxford rugs are just a few bereavement gift ideas that can be easily personalised.

Picture collage

A picture collage is a beautiful way to remember a special person. Choose photos from throughout their lifetime, and make sure to include their friends and family this will be welcome and appreciated and it will help you the giver comes to terms with the loss too.

Keepsake box

A keepsake box can be a special place to gather important mementos, keeping them safe and making it easy to look through when they feel the need.

Sympathy card

If none of these gifts feel right, or you can’t afford to give something more, a sympathy card will always be welcomed. You might like to include a special memory of the deceased, a poem or quote, or simply offer your condolences during a difficult time. Sometimes it is nice note to have the preprinted “With Sympathy” on the front but rather a simple card where you write the message from the heart.

I do hope this helps when you feel you must do something but don’t know what to do.

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