Sympathy gifts are an generally appropriate expression of condolence. It is considered a kind gesture and proper expression of sympathy to send a condolence gift to the funeral home or home/residence of a mourning family.

It is not easy to know all of the customs and traditions that each religion and culture may observe during the visitation, funeral, burial and mourning of the death of an individual. When considering how to express condolences to the grieving family and friends, some may want to send a gift as a statement of sympathy.

Sending a Condolence Gift

Sending a condolence gift is a common and appropriate way to express sympathy to friends, colleagues, clients and others. Depending on the traditions and customs observed by the individual the most traditional items include baked goods and desserts, fruit, dried fruit, & nuts, and assorted chocolates. These types of gifts provide both comfort and nourishment to mourning families and are a respectful way to offer condolences.

Following a death, the family gathers and often receives many visitors. One of the most customary and traditional ways to express sympathy and offer condolences is by bringing or sending food and condolence baskets to the family members of the deceased. There are several different types of food arrangements, baskets and sympathy gifts that may be sent. Appropriate food items and gift baskets include baked goods and desserts, fruit, dried fruit, & nuts, and assorted chocolates. A gift basket is generally delivered or shipped to the home of the mourning family. When a family is mourning a loss, it is common to provide support and comforting items. Additionally, those who cannot attend the funeral or memorial service may consider sending a sympathy basket or other condolence item to the home.

Find and Send a Condolence Gift

Select a sympathy gift that helps to comfort family and friends. You can trust’s team of professionals to express your condolences appropriately. You will find the highest-quality products and items carefully selected by the team that are appropriate to send family, friends, colleagues and others.

Gourmet Gifts Baked Goods & Desserts Fruit Baskets Assorted Chocolates

In many instances, items that can be taken home after the funeral provide comfort beyond the days of immediate grief.  A tangible gift of condolence and sympathy offers support and encouragement during the difficult time.

What Types of Sympathy Gifts Are Appropriate Expressions of Condolence?

It is very common for individuals interested in offering something to the family to send a traditional condolence gift to the home. Here are some suggestions of appropriate gifts that can be sent.

  1. Send a condolence or sympathy gift basket. Providing a family with a tangible item such as a fruit basket, baked goods, or mixed arrangement containing food items, including chocolate, dried fruit and nuts is often an appropriate way to offer comfort after the loss of a loved one, friend or co-worker. During the funeral visitation and the days following, friends and co-workers often take on the responsibility of some of the basic needs like food and drink. Handling the cooking and meal preparation are tasks that can take stress and pressure off the grieving family.
  2. Send a flower arrangement to the family. In general, sending a beautiful and delicate floral arrangement or plant to the funeral home or residence is a wonderful way to express condolences. Some cultures and religions do not emphasize the display of flowers for funeral visitation or mourning. Some families ask that gifts or donations be made in lieu of flowers, especially at the funeral home. Often specific requests regarding flowers will be mentioned in the obituary or available from the funeral home.
  3. Give a gift through which the individual’s name will be honored. Many gifts can have the loved one’s name attached through a plaque or certificate. Trees can be planted in hometowns, national parks or countries in honor of an individual. Buildings are often built with bricks named for donors. Plaques are made in tangible locations in towns or in virtual locations on the internet. A thoughtful gift which allows the name of the deceased to be mentioned will provide long-lasting comfort to the family.
  4. Give items to use or display in the home in remembrance of the loved one. Household items like decorative rugs, afghans and blankets make appropriate gifts to honor the memory of the loved one. Devotional books, plaques or pictures can be given with meaningful quotes or religious verses to express sympathy and encourage the bereaved. Some of these items can be engraved or embroidered with information about the deceased providing a lasting tribute.

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Who Should Send Condolence Gifts?

Condolence gifts are appropriate expressions of sympathy for most friends and co-workers of either the deceased or the grieving family. People at work, members of religious or civic groups, and other social organizations may join together for a larger gift. Gifts are often an expression of sympathy sent by friends and family who could not be present at either the visitation or funeral.

When Should the Condolence Gift Be Sent?

Most condolence gifts should be sent immediately upon hearing the news of the loss of the loved one. Some gifts will need to be present during the visitation, funeral or memorial service. Occasionally condolence gifts are sent after the funeral and mourning period is over, perhaps marking a specific holiday or anniversary. A gift sent with an appropriate note card is always a welcomed expression of concern.

Where Should the Condolence Gift Be Sent?

The gifts sent as an expression of condolence are often directed to the benefit of the immediate family. Some gifts, like flowers or food baskets, might be sent to the funeral home or location of the services, depending on the circumstances and purpose of the gift. Most other gifts would be sent to the home of the family.

Etiquette would suggest that the gift be sent to the closest living family member. If the family would not recognize the name of the sender, notation should be made on the gift card clarifying the relationship that was shared with the deceased. For example, in the case of the death of a co-worker, the gift would be sent to the widow or widower, with a note acknowledging the relationship. “Jane and I worked together on many accounts for XYZ Company. Jane was a wonderful lady and a tremendous worker. I will miss her and offer you my sincerest sympathy.”

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