Type “What is the best sympathy gift?” into any browser and watch hundreds of listings scroll down your screen. The multitude of choices is overwhelming. Gifts range from funeral flowers, bereavement baskets, and memorial gifts, through to condolences cards and more. So, it’s not surprising buying a sympathy gift raises more questions than it answers. But the critical question is, “What do I want my sympathy gift to say?”


  • Focus on what the message your sympathy gift sends.
  • Ensure the sympathy gift is culturally appropriate.
  • It’s the thought that counts, not the price tag.
  • Popular sympathy gift ideas.
  • Healing from Grief: books encouraging healthy grief recovery habits are important.


What should my sympathy gift say?

Gifts of all kinds are one way in which people can show their intentions. Consequently, sympathy gifts should convey your heartfelt condolences. With this in mind, ask yourself, “What is my gift saying?” Is the message I’m giving communicating “I’m sorry for your loss,” “My family is here for you,” or “I bring comfort in your time of sorrow”?  And, “Is my sympathy gift appropriate?”

Today, society is multicultural and friends come for all over the world. For someone of the Jewish faith, cremation is not an option. So, giving a beautiful ashes urn pendant as a sympathy gift would be inappropriate. But presenting a stylish mourning candle would make a thoughtful gesture.

Cultural rituals regarding death

Each culture has it’s own beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life and what happens after death. Incorporated into these beliefs are customs that ease the chaos and confusion that surrounds the loss of a loved one. If you’re unsure as to the bereaved’s cultural beliefs concerning death, go online or ask a close family friend for advice before you buy.

It’s the thought that counts

At sympathy-gift giving time, there is truth in the saying, ‘It’s the thought that counts’. None more than researchers Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton (1981) know this to be true. In their book The Meaning of Things, they write, ‘Once an individual invests psychic energy in an object, the object becomes charged with the energy of that agent’.

Once an individual invests psychic energy in an object, the object becomes charged with the energy of that agent.

What research says about sympathy gift-giving

Put simply, the researchers are saying that a person who buys a gift with love and consideration transfers that energy into the item. And when the recipient receives the gift, the gift-givers energy passes on to them.

Take, for instance, a child who picks a bunch of wildflowers near his dad’s grave and offers them to his mum. At that moment, the flowers are not of value. It’s the transfer of loving energy from the child to mother that is the real gift.

With that in mind, anything—material or intangible—can be a sympathy gift. Arriving ready to mow lawns, wash dishes, or walk the dog are acceptable expressions of condolences. The thought embodying the sympathy gift far outweighs the price tag.

That being said, most people purchase popular sympathy gifts because of their time-saving convenience. But loving thoughts still embody the gift.

Best selling sympathy gifts include:

  • Stylish ashes urn jewellery:
    Modern ashes pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and keychains show an eye for fashion.
  • Soft, comforting sympathy blankets:
    Plush and huggable these blankets remind the bereaved the gift-givers love and support is with them long after the condolence visit is over.
  • Delightful figurines: Suspended in motion, a beautiful figurine poised in a gesture of love, comfort, or sympathy continues to radiate the gift-givers condolences.
  • Garden memorial plaques: Rituals are essential for healing grief. So what better gift than a memorial plaque and a friend to help encourage a healthy grieving ritual in the garden.
  • Nurturing spa & body gifts: Delicious snacks, gourmet delights or indulgent skincare—who better than a friend to remind the bereaved it’s okay to take time out from the heartache.
  • Enlightening wind chimes: Windchimes make the perfect gift of hope. Although a loved one has passed, you’re reminding the bereaved eternal love visits whenever a gentle breeze blows.


Healing from grief 

Recently published Healing From Grief is the perfect companion book for any sympathy gift. Filled with uplifting affirmations and heartfelt pictures, each page is a gentle reminder to draw on happy memories when mourning the loss of a loved one.

Recovering from loss

Grief recovery books show the gift-giver understands the bereaved need support in the lonely hours when all visitors have left for the day. Newly widowed mourners often feel crushed by loneliness. Many think they will never survive alone.

The good news is research shows that given time, most people can recover from loss on their own. Good social support and healthy grief processing is the key.

Be the one who gives a sympathy gift that embodies healing energy and supports healthy grief recovery habits.

Looking for books to show someone your support during a difficult time?

Our Sympathy Gift Series books are the perfect way to help someone cope with grief and loss. Each book is filled with uplifting photographs and inspiring quotes, giving your loved one the strength they need to get through this difficult time.

With our heartfelt messages, you can provide them with the comfort they need to carry on.

Front cover of Healing From Grief by Denise Gibb

Healing From Grief

Front cover of the book Last Woof by Denise Gibb

Last Woof

Front cover of the book Last Purr by Denise Gibb

Last Purr

Front cover of the book Goodbye Grandma by Denise Gibb

Goodbye Grandma

Front cover of the book Goodbye Grandpa by Denise Gibb

Goodbye Grandpa

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