The Best Sympathy Gift Ideas to Comfort a Loved One

Our top pick is the Harry & David Sympathy Gift Box

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Best Sympathy Gifts illustration

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

When it comes to a sympathy gift, you want to show someone you truly care and hopefully provide them with a gift that can be useful or at least make them smile during a difficult time.

"It's important you give a gift that is about comfort," says Renee Solomon, DSW, clinical psychologist and CEO of Forward Recovery. We researched unique sympathy gift ideas, considering factors like practicality, quality, and thoughtfulness. Our top pick is the Harry & David Sympathy Gift Box for its fresh treats, careful packaging, and quick delivery service.

With that, here is some inspiration for the best sympathy gifts.

Harry & David Sympathy Gift Box - Deluxe

Sympathy Gift Box - Deluxe

Harry & David

A gift basket is a perfect option for someone experiencing a loss that may live in a different city or state. It shows you care if you can't physically be with someone. All of Harry & David's baskets are high-quality and their delivery and shipping options are plentiful.

This Sympathy Gift Box from Harry & David has all the essentials, including fruit, cheese, crackers, and nuts, earning it the top spot in our roundup. The box includes savory treats to make anyone feel good, and there's even a sympathy card to express your love.

Just ensure you check out shipping times to guarantee that your gift basket arrives in time and that all of the ingredients are fresh and tasty.

Self-Care for Grief: 100 Practices for Healing During Times of Loss

Processing grief is something everyone handles differently. "Self-Care for Grief" is packed with 100 practices and activities, including naming emotions and even scheduling time to cry. It addresses the grieving process in a way that's compassionate and accessible. This beautiful book will show the recipient you're thinking of them, even when you're not there.

Plants.com Lucky Bamboo Friend's Circle

Plants.com Lucky Bamboo Friend's Circle

Plants.com

Flowers are a typical sympathy gift, but a beautiful plant can also be welcome. This bamboo option measures roughly 19 inches high and would look great on an entryway table or in an office. It's also a pretty low-maintenance plant that can survive in low or indirect light and only needs to be watered once a week.

Knack Finding Your Zen Tea Set

Knack Finding Your Zen Tea Set

Knack

There's something so relaxing about sitting down with a cup of tea to start the day or even wind down after a warm bath. Knack's tea set includes all the essentials: a 17-ounce porcelain teapot, cups, and saucers. But what really makes this stand out is the "Ten to Zen" meditative guide that's also included. The set can even be customized by adding additional items, such as a candle, honey, eye pillow, and more.

Hope is Hip Jewelry Custom Photo Memorial Bracelet

Etsy Memorial Jewelry

Etsy

This custom bracelet is an easy way for someone to keep the memory of their loved one close by. A pendant includes the phrase, “Those we love don’t go away; they walk beside us every day,” as well as a photo of your choice. This can be a picture of the person they lost or any special memory. In addition to the phrase and photo, you can select a birthstone gem of your choice.

Luna Cooling Bamboo Weighted Blanket

Cooling Bamboo Weighted Blanket

Luna

A warm hug is something most of us can appreciate, especially in a time of need. Luna's weighted blanket can provide a sense of calm and even aid in a better night's sleep. It provides warmth, but the bamboo fibers also help regulate temperature for warmer days or those who tend to sweat in their sleep. The weight of the blanket, which is available in 5 to 30 pounds, is evenly distributed.

Aya Paper Co. Manifestation Journal

Aya Paper Co. Manifestation Journal

Aya Paper Co.

"Less planning, more manifesting" is on the cover of this wire-bound journal. There aren't written prompts on any of the 100 pages, but it's the perfect blank space for someone to write down dreams or goals they hope to accomplish and to help them focus on the great future to come. Also, this is an eco-friendly gift, as it's 100 percent recycled paper.

TheraBox Subscription Box

TheraBox Subscription Box

TheraBox

A bath bomb is cool, but when you want the self-care sessions to continue long after a product has fizzled out, TheraBox is a great option. The self-care subscription box—founded by a therapist—includes a therapeutic activity and up to eight wellness products. You can order month to month, three months, six months, or even a full year’s worth of boxes. They'll think of you and your kindness every time this box arrives on their doorstep.

Hallmark Jumbo Giving Bear Stuffed Animal

Jumbo Giving Bear Stuffed Animal

Hallmark

Kids will appreciate this stuffed animal, but adults might, as well. The plush bear is 36 inches tall and perfect for cozying up to or just a fun addition to any couch, chair, or bed. Besides being absolutely adorable and squeezable, there’s an attached bookmark that has an encouraging quote. This is a small yet thoughtful gift for people of all ages.

Vilight Dog and Cat Memorial

VILIGHT Dog and Cat Memorial

Amazon

Pets are members of the family. Show your favorite pet parent some love with this 4 x 6-inch frame that has a sweet message and paw prints. Print out an adorable photo of their beloved fur baby, and insert it into the frame. You can hang the frame or display it on a table.

Hello You Candles Personalized Candle Sympathy Gift

So Sorry For Your Loss Personalized Candle Gift

Etsy

Candles are a home decor staple, but these are a bit more special. You can choose from 9 to 16 ounces and kraft or white paper with these scented soy candles that have a personalized message on the back. The message can be words of encouragement, a quote, or even scripture. The soy candles burn between 40 and 70 hours. So not only will the recipient have something beautiful to look at but also a sweet fragrance to smell.

Uber Gift Card

Image of Uber symbol

Shutterstock

Gift cards are a great way to give a present without limiting exactly how or even when the recipient can use it. And an Uber gift card is a perfect option for the person who might need to get around without wanting to drive. Also, it can be used for Uber Eats to order a much-needed meal from one of their favorite local restaurants. 

Oleinthewind Memorial Wind Chime

Oleinthewind Memorial Wind Chime

Etsy

There’s something so beautiful and even calming about a wind chime. This option from Oleinthewind on Etsy features a piece of driftwood with five 8-inch sun catchers. The stained glass comes in cobalt or aqua, and the wood can be personalized with a name or date to honor a special person.

Pioneer Live, Laugh, Love Photo Album Embroidered

Pioneer Live, Laugh, Love Photo Album Embroidered

Amazon

The embroidered cover of this photo album has a special “Live, Laugh, Love” message to emphasize the happy times that people were able to share with the person they lost. The album holds 200 4 x 6-inch photos and leaves room in a memo-writing area on each page to jot down notes and memories. Your grieving friend might find comfort in going through pictures from times they spent with the person they’ve lost.

Natural Succulents Memorial Candle Gift Set

Memorial Candle Gift Set

Etsy

It’s likely that your friend has received plenty of flowers already. Instead of a bouquet, make your gift stand out by sending a succulent gift set. The succulent will last much longer than a dozen flowers and requires minimal care. This set from Natural Succulents on Etsy features a succulent in a small ceramic pot, a 3-ounce candle, and a printed matchbox. You even have the option for add-ons, such as a bath bomb and loofah.

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying

Amazon

One of the questions that often goes unanswered for those mourning the loss of a loved one is "What was dying like for them?” In "The Bright Hour," Nina Riggs, a great-great-great-granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson and a poet herself, attempts to answer that question as she lived with terminal breast cancer. A moving read, your friend might find some consolation in the insights, lessons, and reflections that fill this book.

What to Look for in a Sympathy Gift

Comfort

An ideal sympathy gift should be one that provides the recipient with some form of comfort. This can come in the form of prepared meals, their favorite flowers, or even a gift card that makes their everyday life just a bit easier. 

Also, taking into account a person's specific needs and even their personality is key. "Some people will enjoy humor in a time of pain, but for another person, that may come off as insensitive and rude," says Mallory Gothelf, founder of Find Your/self Boxes. "It’s about knowing the person," she says.

Personalization

A good personalized or custom gift is a sure way to show them you care during this time of need. Try a photo album or a product that has a special word or phrase on it. This shows you care but also that you put time and consideration into the gift. 

Practicality

A practical gift is an appreciated gift. This doesn’t just mean a present that the person will actually use; you also want to be sure it doesn’t require heavy lifting on their part, like a meal-delivery kit for the person who doesn’t cook or a product that requires assembly or care. They just may not have the capacity to take on a non-practical present.

FAQ
  • Do you give gifts at a funeral?

    "It is often not helpful to give someone a sympathy gift at a funeral service because then they have to carry everything home from the service," says Solomon. Besides being less than practical, Solomon also says presenting the gift during the funeral can make it feel more like a "party," so it's best to just send a gift directly to the person's home.

  • What can you put in a DIY sympathy gift basket?

    If you plan to put together a gift basket, it should include a few items that the recipient will love and use. If you know their favorite foods, like small snacks or tea, you can include those. A gift card to a service or even a virtual class they can take at a later date is also a good idea.

  • Is wine an appropriate sympathy gift?

    A bottle of wine is usually a great present, but it may not always be best for a sympathy gift. "Some people can drink responsibly while grieving, but other people find themselves struggling with grieving and using a substance," says Gothelf. "To be on the safe side, I would stay away from providing a bottle of wine as a gift."

Why Trust The Spruce?

This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020 and loves helping her friends and family find unique, thoughtful, and wallet-friendly presents. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she writes commerce articles, including product suggestions and reviews, for other outlets as well as appears on air for "The Today Show" and WEtv. She also was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City. We consulted clinical psychologist and CEO of Forward Recovery, Dr. Renee Solomon, and Mallory Gothelf, founder of Find Your/self Boxes, who shared professional advice on the best sympathy gifts.

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