KEY SUMMARY POINTS
- 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’.
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.
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.