what to send when someone dies instead of flowers

What to Send When Someone Dies Instead of Flowers: 12 Ideas

When someone passes away, finding the right way to express your sympathy can be challenging. While flowers are a traditional gesture, many people now seek more personal and lasting alternatives. Knowing what to send when someone dies instead of flowers can help you show your support in a meaningful way.

In this article, we’ll explore thoughtful and unique gifts that can offer comfort and solace to grieving loved ones, making your gesture memorable and heartfelt.

12 Alternative Sympathy Gifts

1. Memory Books and Photo Albums

Memory Books

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Memory books and photo albums are heartfelt gifts that can provide comfort during difficult times. These items allow grieving families to collect and preserve precious memories of their loved ones. By including photographs, written memories, and mementos, you create a tangible tribute that honors the deceased’s life.

Personalizing a memory book or photo album adds an extra layer of thoughtfulness. Consider adding captions, dates, and stories that capture the essence of the loved one. This gift not only offers solace but also serves as a lasting keepsake that the family can cherish for years to come, providing comfort and remembrance.

2. Customized Keepsakes


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Customized keepsakes, such as engraved jewelry or personalized ornaments, offer a unique and enduring way to honor the memory of a loved one. Items like lockets, bracelets, or keychains can be engraved with the deceased’s name, dates, or a special message, making them deeply personal.

These keepsakes serve as daily reminders of the loved one and can bring comfort to those who are grieving. The process of creating a custom piece can also be a meaningful experience, as it allows you to reflect on the person’s life and legacy while selecting something that truly resonates with the bereaved.

3. Meal Delivery Services

Meal Delivery

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Providing meal delivery services is a practical and thoughtful way to support grieving families. During times of loss, everyday tasks like cooking can become overwhelming. By arranging for meal deliveries, you help to ensure that the family has one less thing to worry about. Services such as HelloFresh, Blue Apron, and Freshly offer convenient meal kits and prepared meals that can be tailored to different dietary needs and preferences.

These services not only provide nourishment but also demonstrate your care and consideration for the family’s well-being. Having healthy and comforting meals delivered directly to their door allows the grieving family to focus on healing and spending time together, rather than worrying about meal preparation. It’s a tangible way to show support and empathy, helping to lighten their load during a challenging time.

4. Grocery or Gift Cards

Gift Cards

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Grocery or gift cards are practical and considerate gifts that can significantly ease the burden on grieving families. These cards allow recipients to purchase necessities without the added stress of financial concerns. They can be used for groceries, household items, or even meals, providing flexibility to meet their immediate needs.

This gesture shows that you understand the practical challenges they might be facing and are offering a way to alleviate some of that stress. It’s a thoughtful way to support the family, allowing them to focus more on healing and less on daily logistics.

5. Household Help Services


Offering household help services, such as house cleaning or lawn care, can provide immense relief to grieving families. During a period of mourning, maintaining a household can become an overwhelming task. By arranging for these services, you help to create a more manageable environment for the family.

These services ensure that the family’s living space remains clean and organized, reducing their stress and allowing them more time to focus on coping with their loss. It’s a practical and compassionate way to show support, offering tangible assistance during a difficult time.

6. Comfort Food Baskets

Food Baskets

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Comfort food baskets are a thoughtful way to provide solace and nourishment to grieving families. These baskets can be filled with a variety of comforting foods such as soups, baked goods, chocolates, and teas. The idea is to offer a selection of easy-to-enjoy items that can provide both physical and emotional comfort.

Sending a comfort food basket shows that you care and want to provide some relief during a difficult time. You can also personalize the basket by including some of the recipient’s favorite treats or foods that remind them of happier times, adding an extra layer of thoughtfulness and care to your gesture.

7. Cozy Blankets and Throws


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Cozy blankets and throws can offer physical warmth and emotional comfort to someone who is grieving. A soft, plush blanket can provide a sense of security and a tangible reminder that they are cared for. Adding a personal touch, such as an embroidered message or the loved one’s name, can make this gift even more special.

These items can be particularly comforting during quiet moments of reflection or when the person needs a comforting hug but is alone. A cozy blanket can become a cherished item that provides comfort and a sense of connection to the loved one who has passed away.

8. Aromatherapy and Relaxation Kits


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Aromatherapy and relaxation kits can help bring a sense of calm and peace to someone who is grieving. These kits often include items such as essential oils, scented candles, bath salts, and soothing teas. The calming scents and relaxing items can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, offering some respite during a challenging time.

By providing tools for relaxation, you are encouraging the recipient to take care of their mental and emotional well-being. This thoughtful gift can help them find moments of peace and tranquility, making it easier to cope with their loss.

9. Donations to a Cause Close to the Deceased’s Heart


Donating to a cause that was important to the deceased can be a meaningful way to honor their memory. This gesture shows that you respect and value what the deceased cared about and are continuing their legacy by supporting their favorite charity or cause.

When making a donation, you can inform the family of your contribution, often through a card or letter, letting them know that the donation was made in honor of their loved one. This can provide comfort to the family, knowing that their loved one’s values and passions are being remembered and supported.

10. Books on Grief and Healing

Books on Grief

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Sending books on grief and healing can offer comfort and guidance to someone who is mourning. Thoughtfully chosen books can provide insights, coping strategies, and emotional support during the grieving process. Titles like “Healing After Loss” by Martha Whitmore Hickman, “The Grief Recovery Handbook” by John W. James and Russell Friedman, and “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant can be particularly helpful.

These books can offer solace by letting the grieving person know they are not alone and that their feelings are normal. Reading about others’ experiences and professional advice on coping with loss can be incredibly reassuring. This gift not only shows that you care but also provides a valuable resource for navigating the difficult journey of grief.

11. Memorial Trees and Plants

Memorial Trees

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Planting a tree or garden in memory of the deceased can be a living tribute that continues to grow and flourish over time. This gesture symbolizes life, growth, and renewal, providing a beautiful and lasting reminder of the loved one. Many organizations offer tree planting services that can be dedicated to the memory of the deceased.

Memorial trees and plants can be placed in a garden, park, or other meaningful location. As the tree or plant grows, it serves as a place of reflection and remembrance for the family and friends. This living tribute can bring a sense of peace and connection to nature, honoring the memory of the loved one.

12. Personalized Artwork


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Commissioning or creating personalized artwork can be a unique and meaningful way to honor a loved one’s memory. This could include portraits, framed quotes, or custom paintings that reflect the personality and life of the deceased. Personalized artwork captures the essence of the loved one in a lasting and visually impactful way.

This type of gift can provide a focal point for reflection and remembrance in the home. It can be displayed in a place of honor, serving as a daily reminder of the loved one’s presence and the joy they brought to those around them. Personalized artwork is a creative and heartfelt alternative to sending flowers.