Sympathy Gifts

by Linda Banks


Sympathy gift for grieving friend

Image by Wooton King*

Performing an act of kindness when someone dies prevails as one of our oldest traditions. Growing up in my small Nebraska town, every death brought a stream of neighbors carrying casseroles, desserts and potted plants to the grieving family. Giving a sympathy gift is more common today, especially when it's not possible to drop off a covered dish of warm comfort food.

Bereavements gifts of many themes, styles, and functions

As I was looking for sympathy gift ideas I realized there are some new ideas floating around that go beyond the food and flower theme. For instance, I discovered memorial candle holders. The base of the candle holder has a compartment for ashes. This might not work for everyone, but for some it might be an ideal little gift that has long lasting usage and meaning.

The memory lamp caught my eye as a unique design that isn't often considered as a sympathy gift. With each lighting in honor of a lost loved one, the lamp can evoke memories. Hand-crafted lamps in Tiffany and Mission-style designs, and lamps in the shape of a cross, butterfly, bird, and even a teapot provide the chance to select the one that seems just right.

My dear friend always has a sun catcher hanging in her kitchen window. When her father passed away, I found a hand blown and hand crafted glass sun catcher to be a thoughtful gift. When placed in her window, she said memories of him seem to dance in a gentle celebration of his life.

For those who have served the country, a hand crafted flag case is designed to hold a military burial flag when folded into a triangle. The patriotic memory chest keepsake displays the US Flag of 1812. The chest holds medals or other keepsakes of the deceased service member. 

Unique bereavement gifts including gifts for loss of a pet

I found other unique sympathy gifts I hadn't thought of such as sterling silver jewelry, boxes of various designs and sizes, photo frames, vases, oil lamps, and other decorative items. A sympathy gift is also a thoughtful way to show support to a friend who has recently lost a pet.  

A personalized frame to display a picture of the pet, or a garden stepping stone with the dog’s name placed in the yard memorializes the special pet companion. A golden paw cremation heart necklace honors a beloved pet, as well as holds a tiny portion of ashes. Often the loss of a pet is the first death a child experiences. A sympathy gift intended for a grieving child is a way to acknowledge the sadness experienced with the loss of their four-legged friend. 

When you want to send a unique bereavement gift, search through the many hand-crafted artisan designs, and through the themed memorial gifts that reflect hobbies, religious beliefs or military service. A thoughtfully chosen item will express your love and support for the bereaved.

*Image can found at

Linda Banks provided extended end-of-life care for her beloved Aunt who was like her mother. When her brother suddenly died, she was instrumental in orchestrating all of the details of his final wishes to be cremated. Linda has been an active blogger for ten years, including blogging about Willie Nelson and his family. Willie told her recently that he reads her blog every day.

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