Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
It can always be hard to find the perfect present, but that's especially true 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 such a difficult time.
To help you get started, here are the best sympathy gifts.
Best Snack: Harry & David Sympathy Gift Box - Deluxe
There’s a reason it’s called comfort food. Food goes straight to the soul via the stomach. And when someone passes away, family members need consolation and nourishment. This Sympathy Gift Box from Harry & David has all the essentials like fruit, cheese, crackers, and nuts. The box includes savory treats to make anyone feel good and there's even a sympathy card.
Best Flowers: Etsy Memorial Candle Gift Set
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 so much longer than a dozen flowers and requires minimal care. This set from Etsy features a succulent in a small ceramic pot, a three ounce candle, and a printed match box. You even have the option to add on a few options like bath bombs and a loofah.
Best Book: The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying
One of the questions that so 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 may find some consolation in the insights, lessons, and reflection that fill this book.
Best Jewelry: Etsy Memorial Jewelry
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 pic 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.
Best Encouragement: 1-800-Flowers 31 Days of Kind Notes for Sympathy and Book
The days and weeks after losing someone can feel like a fog, but this 31 Days of Kind Notes provides your recipient with encouragement as they grieve. The keepsake jar includes 31 notes and quotes that range from “hang in there, take it one day at a time” to “gone from sight, but never from our hearts.” These are notes someone can reach for when they’re feeling down or just need a bit of positivity. Also, you can choose to add an 80-page book to the notes, which has longer encouraging passages.
Best Subscription: TheraBox Subscription Box
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 a month to month, three, six, 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.
Best Stuffed Animal: Hallmark Jumbo Giving Bear Stuffed Animal
Kids would appreciate this stuffed animal, but adults might as well. The plush bear is 36 inches tall and perfect for cozying up to or just as 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.
Best Journaling : Uncommon Goods Crystal Manifestation Pen
There’s something so powerful about writing things down and if someone in your life believes in that, then this manifestation pen will be a one of a kind gift. The pens are topped with quartz, which is intended to heighten intentions and ward off negativity, or amethyst, which is said to help with balance, and can be used in journal writing or every day note taking. The stainless steel pens are meant to aide in manifestation, which can be especially helpful for someone who is questioning the future. And the pen is also just a gorgeous piece to add to any desk or office.
Best Candle : Etsy So Sorry For Your Loss Personalized Candle Gift
Candles are pretty much a home decor staple, but these are a bit more special. You can choose from nine 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 a scripture. The soy candles burned between 40 and 70 hours, so not only will the recipient have something beautiful to look at, but also a sweet fragrance to smell.
Best for Photos: Pioneer Live, Laugh, Love Photo Album Embroidered
Even in the age of digital everything, there’s something special about a photo album. The embroidered cover of this photo album has a special “Live, Laugh, Love” message across the front 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 fun memories. Your grieving friend may find comfort in going through pictures from times they spent with the person they’ve lost.
Vilight Dog and Cat Memorial
Pets aren’t just pets, but they’re a member 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 (you can probably find quite a few on their social media) and insert into the frame. This can be hanged on the wall or propped on a table.
Uber Gift Card
Gift cards are a great way to give a present but 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 may need to get around without wanting to drive. Also, it can also be used for Uber Eats to order a much needed meal from one of their favorite local restaurants.
Oleinthewind Memorial Wind Chime
There’s something so beautiful and even calming about a wind chime. This option from Etsy features a piece of drift wood with four eight-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.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020. She 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 appearing on air for The Today Show, WEtv, and she was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City.