It is often difficult to know how to offer comfort and support to someone grieving the loss of a loved one. One way to express your condolences and provide support is by giving a sympathy gift. It is important to consider the nature of the relationship and the feelings of the person who is grieving when selecting a gift. Here are 5 considerations when sending a sympathy gift.

  1. Respectful. It is important to be mindful of the receiver’s beliefs, values and cultural or religious traditions when choosing a gift. For example, in some cultures, it may be seen as inappropriate or disrespectful to send flowers.

  2. Meaningful. A sympathy gift that offers personal meaning or significance may be especially comforting to someone who is grieving. Selecting something that reminds the receiver of their loved one or taking the time to craft a heartfelt sympathy message is a lovely way to offer condolences.

  3. Timing. Be mindful of the timing you send a sympathy gift. For some, it may be best to wait until after the immediate aftermath of the loss, whereas for others, sympathy gifts may be appropriate to help a family navigate during cultural or religious traditions. Understanding any religious or cultural traditions a family is observing may help determine the best timing for sending a sympathy gift. 

  4. Practical. Helping a family with practical demands as they navigate grief can be a lovely gesture. Consider if someone may be overwhelmed with tasks or responsibilities, often a sympathy gift can help ease some of that burden, such as providing dinner for the family one night.

  5. Thoughtful. At the heart of it, a wonderful sympathy gift helps the receiver know you are thinking about him and want to offer your support. Whether you choose a phone call, a heartfelt note, or a lovely sympathy basket, it is the thoughtful nature of your meaningful gesture that may matter most.

When selecting a sympathy gift to express your condolences, consider the timing, personal meaning, practicality, respect, and thoughtfulness of the gesture. By choosing a gift that is appropriate and supportive, you can offer comfort and show that you are there for the person who is grieving.


Learn more about expressing condolences