Sympathy Gift Etiquette

Sympathy gift etiquette is often a worry for some. Hopefully this short article along with some ideas about sympathy gifts will be of help to you in this difficult time. You may also find this sympathy card etiquette page helpful, too.

Sympathy Gift Etiquette

It is sometimes hard to know what to say and do when someone loses a loved one.

While flowers are a wonderful gesture, there are times when you want to show your sympathy in a more substantial and long lasting way. Sympathy gifts are the perfect way to give the bereaved something that they can hang onto through the grieving process and then later have as a tribute to the person they loved and lost.

Who Do You Give a Sympathy Gift To?

Normally sympathy gift etiquette dictates that you give a sympathy gift to the closest relative of the deceased. However, there may be situations when you want to give a gift to more than one person. An example would be if your best friend lost a parent. You would naturally give a sympathy gift to the surviving spouse, but you might also want to give a small token of sympathy to your friend as well.

What kind of gifts are appropriate for a sympathy gift?

There is no hard and fast rule as to what you should give as a sympathy gift, but there are some things that make more touching gifts than others.

Memory books or keepsake boxes

For example, giving a memory book or a keep sake box to the bereaved will let them know that you are thinking of them and allow them to store pictures or little trinkets of their loved ones that have special meaning for them. These types of gifts seem to help the bereaved recall the good times they shared with the deceased which helps them to heal.

Commemorative jewelry

Commemorative jewelry also makes a very nice sympathy gift. If the bereaved is at all religious a guardian angel pin or necklace is a gentle reminder that their loved one is in a better place and is watching over them even though they are gone.

Other pieces of jewelry that make good sympathy gifts are lockets, the bereaved can put in a pictured of their beloved one and keep it close to their heart.

Something Personal

If the bereaved is a gardener, you can also give a plant or tree that will continue to grow year after year and serve as a lasting to tribute to the one that they lost.

When is it appropriate to give a sympathy gift?

While most people choose right before or after the funeral to give a sympathy gift you can really give one anytime.

In fact, there are many times when a sympathy gift may actually be more comforting later than near the time of loss. The truth is people grieve for an extended period of time.

Not only in the first few weeks

Those around them normally help for the first few weeks or months and then return to their own lives. This sometimes leaves the bereaved feeling as though they are the only ones who miss the deceased. It can be both heartwarming and healing to receive a sympathy gift on the first anniversary of their loss, the deceased’s birthday or on some special occasion that the couple shared.

Knowing someone else either misses the deceased and is thinking about them too or is at least thinking about you through these difficult times can be a tremendous help to the person who is grieving.

A sympathy gift is a wonderful and thoughtful way to tell the bereaved that you are sorry about their loss.


Thank you for visiting.