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3 Frequently Asked Sympathy Gift Questions, Answered

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If you know someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one, you may be wondering how best to show your support. A sympathy gift is a thoughtful way to send your condolences while also respecting privacy at such a difficult time.

Here are the answers to three frequently asked sympathy gift questions.

1. What are thoughtful sympathy gift ideas?

If you think a gift would be appreciated by the family of the deceased, there’s a good chance that it is an appropriate sympathy gift. But if you’re struggling to come up with the best way to show your condolences, here are a few ideas:

  • Food: In the days after a death, family members are usually grieving and busy. Cooking meals for the family, sending groceries to their home, or delivering a gift basket of food can help them through this difficult time. 
  • Donations: Many times a family asks for donations to a charity or organizations in lieu of flowers or gifts. The deceased may have been an advocate for a particular cause or may have suffered from a disease related to the donation request.
  • Keepsakes: Windchimes, garden stones, and jewelry can be personalized as memorial gifts. You might also consider a keepsake such as a stuffed animal for a child who has lost a family member.
  • Flowers: Flowers are a very popular sympathy gift. You could choose to send flowers to the funeral home or the family’s home where their beauty serves as a way to remember the deceased.
  • Card: You don’t always have to buy a gift to show your sympathy and condolences. Though small and inexpensive, a sincere and thoughtful card can have a big impact for someone who is grieving.

2. When is it appropriate to give a memorial gift?

The best time to give a sympathy gift is usually as close to the funeral as possible. You’ll be able to show your condolences when someone needs it the most.

However, depending on the gift, it may be appropriate to wait a week or two. If, for example, you want to give a customized present or keepsake in memory of the deceased, it may take some time to personalize.

Other presents, such as meals, can be helpful in the weeks following the funeral. And even if a month has passed, a sympathy gift still shows that you are thinking of the family.

3. How should a sympathy gift be wrapped?

Many sympathy gifts, such as food or donations, don’t need to be wrapped at all. However, it’s always a good idea to give a card along with these presents, because it gives you the opportunity to add a personal message.

If you need to use a gift bag or gift wrap for a memorial gift or keepsake, look for tasteful colors and patterns, such as silver or floral. You can also add a simple bow or ribbon.

Your gift, no matter the size, cost, or how it’s wrapped, shows that you care. Your support and thoughtfulness are exactly what a person in mourning needs the most.

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