09 January, 2019
<This is a guest post courtesy of Christine Gatuiria, whose writing is often featured on Funeralocity.>
Mourning the loss of a loved one is a very personal experience, and comforting those who are grieving is not an easy task. Sending a thoughtful sympathy gift is an excellent way to show empathy and support people during a difficult time.
There isn’t a set timeline for giving sympathy gifts – you can do it before or after the funeral, even if you weren’t able to attend the service. You may also send a condolence card or letter along with a gift to express your concern. Be sure to write down a thoughtful sentiment or share a special picture in the card.
If you were close to the deceased but didn’t know their family well, sending a gift to the family is a considerate way to honor your friend and show compassion for their loss. Here are some unique and creative ideas for sympathy gifts to give someone in grief:
Planting a tree as a memorial gift is a touching tribute that gives back to nature and allows the memory of your loved one to live on. Memorial trees are perfect sympathy gifts to honor those who loved spending time outdoors, and unlike funeral flowers, memorial trees serve as a lasting, organic reminder of the circle of life.
Dedicating a memorial tree to the memory of a loved one is an affordable and unique sympathy gift that can be shared by many generations of family and friends.
Memorial Photo Album
A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you have candid photos of the deceased that the family may not have seen, creating a personalized memorial album is a wonderful gift idea. You can compile assorted photos posted on social media sites – or selfies taken during happy occasions – to present to the family.
A visual reminder of a life lived well is a perfect way to memorialize the deceased and is easily shared with others.
Memorial Wind Chimes
A personalized wind chime engraved with the name of a loved one is a unique sympathy gift. Wind chimes are made of wood or metal, and are usually placed in outdoor settings where the natural movement of air produces a melodious tinkling. This pleasant sound can evoke distinct memories of a loved one, especially if they were musically inclined.
In ancient cultures, wind chimes were often used to ward off evil spirits lurking near the home, however, modern wind chimes are popular for bringing positive energy into one’s surroundings. The cheerful sounds help with contemplation and introspection during a time of bereavement and grief
Extra Days Off
Most full-time employees receive only three days of paid time off for the funeral of an immediate family member, and planning a funeral can be lengthy process. Families have to make difficult decisions in a short period of time, which is especially stressful if they’re juggling multiple job duties and project deadlines.
Giving your coworker extra days off by gifting them your unused vacation time helps ease the burden of funeral planning by allowing them more time to cope with the loss of their loved one. Before offering this as a sympathy gift, check with your employer about their policies regarding sharing vacation time.
Living Memorial Wreath
While funeral floral bouquets are beautiful, the blossoms eventually die. A living memorial wreath made of hardy succulents is a great sympathy gift in lieu of flowers, as they’re made to last a long time and don’t require extensive care.
You can buy a premade wreath online or craft your own succulent wreath as a special tribute to the deceased.
Memorial Candle Holder
Candles are popular sympathy gifts and have a unique symbolism. In some religions, they’re lit during prayer to represent light in darkness. Candlelight is also known to kindle feelings of comfort and safety, and is often used during meditation to focus attention and breath.
Certain scents might be able to capture the essence of a loved one, which can help someone cope with a loss by reminding them of special memories. Candles come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and make perfect condolence gifts when accompanied with a memorial candle holder engraved with a personalized inscription.
Memorial stones engraved with a personal message, picture, or symbol are unique sympathy gifts built to last forever. Outdoor memorial garden stones are easy to place in a meaningful location that family members visit on special anniversaries. Memorial stones can be fashioned out various materials including concrete and marble, and they also make perfect pet memorials.