Because of the variety of traditions and customs associated with religions, it may be a challenge to know what condolence gift would be considered appropriate. The Latter Day Saints traditionally consider a variety of items as meaningful in expressing condolences to a grieving Mormon family. The type of gift is usually dependent upon the relationship that has been shared with the deceased and family.

Below are several common ways to show respect and honor the deceased, while comforting the grieving family.


Like most Christian traditions, in the Mormon faith it is appropriate to send flowers to the funeral home, church or home of the bereaved. Flowers have long been considered a traditional method for acknowledging a loss.

While special expressions of flowers, like sprays for the casket, are usually reserved as a gift from the closest family members, bouquets, planters and wreaths are meaningful expressions that express compassion and care to the grieving family.

Funeral flower arrangements are larger and more formal and serve as a tribute to the deceased. These are sent to the funeral home or church and displayed during the time of visitation. These gifts show the respect that people have for the deceased and the surviving family.

Flowers sent to the home of the family are called sympathy flowers. These arrangements are smaller and can be set on tables or cabinets. The flowers provide a keepsake that honors the deceased for many days after the funeral.

Food, Meals and Sympathy Baskets

By providing meals and food baskets, family and friends take on the responsibility of providing emotional care and physical support. Religion and culture often prompt how visitation, funeral and burial services will be conducted. In the Mormon tradition, meals during visitation or following the funeral are usually provided by organizations or ministries from within the church. Food gifts for these occasions are usually not necessary, but the funeral director or a representative of the church would know the specific needs.

Instead, food baskets sent to the home after the funeral provide a meaningful way to show that the family continues to be remembered. In the early stages of grief, simple tasks like preparing meals can be challenging, stressful, even overwhelming. Providing food and meals is a thoughtful expression of compassion.


Making a donation in someone’s memory is always an appropriate and thoughtful gesture. Donations are a meaningful way to demonstrate honor and respect. The type and amount of the donation will be affected by many factors including the relationship shared with the deceased, the circumstances of the death, an individual’s personal situation, and the traditions of religion and culture.

Many organizations accept donations in memory of an individual. Sometimes the family will recommend a charity or organization to receive gifts. Often the family’s preference will be listed in an obituary, sometimes to be offered in lieu of sending flowers.

Other choices to receive a donation would include the deceased’s favorite charity or religious organization. The local Mormon Church that the deceased attended is often a good place to direct donations and gifts. There are many organizations within the structure of the Mormon Church that would appreciate donations that honor the deceased.

An educational institution, perhaps the individual’s alma mater or favorite college, can be an appropriate recipient. If the deceased did not have a particular college that was special, it might be appropriate to select a local elementary, middle or high school and make a gift or contribution.

In many instances, a health care organization, hospital, nursing home or hospice care center made extraordinary efforts to care for and comfort the deceased during the final days. These organizations can use donations to enhance the services provided for others.

If a financial contribution is unrealistic at the time, most charities and organizations would gladly accept the donation of time and service. Volunteering time in honor of the deceased is an appropriate way to pay tribute.

Cards and Notes

A sympathy card is always a meaningful source of comfort to the grieving. A professionally printed sympathy card or a handwritten personal note can provide thoughtful words to someone who is mourning. During times when spoken words may not come easily, the note of sympathy conveys respect for the deceased and empathy for the grieving.

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