Should I Send a Sympathy Gift?

When someone we love loses someone they love, it's natural to want to do something to offer support. It can be difficult to determine what's the most helpful and appropriate way to offer sympathy to the bereaved.

As a result, many find themselves asking "Should I send a sympathy gift?" 

If this is something you're considering and are wondering if it's an appropriate way to show support, you've arrived to the right place.  

In this post, we're going to discuss when it's appropriate to send sympathy gifts, concerns that you may have, the best times to send them, and what to send based on your relationships with the individual. 

Common Worries About Sympathy Gifts 

Before we go any further, we want to address a few common concerns that people often have about sympathy gifts.

The first is "Will it be well received? What if it upsets them?" If you're sending a sympathy gift immediately following a loss for someone that you know your loved one is mourning, then rest assured that they're already regularly thinking about the passing and this won't set off a fresh wave of grief. While we don't recommend handing it to someone at a school bake sale, sending it to their home or giving it to them at their home is a good call. 

The second is "Are we close enough for me to send something?" While we'll address different scenarios here a little further later on, the reality is that if you're wanting to send a sympathy gift then you're likely close enough to send one. Sympathy gifts are not reserved for top-tier best friendships. 

Another is "I don't know what to send." We'll break this down by relationship later on as well, but there are a variety of different options that you can choose from to match your relationship with the grieving parties. 

While there's no way to predict exactly how a sympathy gift will be received or whether or not it will be kept long-term, the goal is to show that you're thinking about the individual, that you're there if you need them, and that you value the person that they're grieving for. 

Should I Send a Sympathy Gift & What Should I Send? 

If you have a positive relationship with the person grieving, it’s typically appropriate to send a memorial gift. When doing so, you’ll want to assess the loss they’re mourning along with your relationship to them.

When a loved one has lost a parent, grandparent, sibling, or other close relative, that could be a good time to send a sympathy gift. You might choose to send a gorgeous memorial gift like a glass Tear Bottle. This is an appropriate gift to give to a friend, family member, or even a close employee or coworker. 


Memorial Tear Jar Bottle


If you’re a close personal friend or family member, you may decide instead to purchase a Memorial Garden Bench for their home or the deceased person’s gravesite. Because this is a purchase that may require a custom engraving, a picture of the deceased, and significant space in their home, it’s best to send something like this if you have a closer relationship. 

should I send a sympathy gift

When a loved one is grieving the loss of an infant or child, a keepsake such as the subtle, comforting Always Near Memorial Necklace can help soothe them as they learn to go about their life in the aftermath of death. Many parents who have lost children enjoy having a token nearby that helps them to remember their love for their child. 

memorial necklace

Jewelry is typically best when it comes from family or close friendships. Acquaintances, coworkers, and employers may instead opt for something like The Giving Heart weighted pillow or a sympathy blanket

should I send a sympathy gift, heart pillow

Sympathy wind chimes are a popular choice regardless of your relationship. They’re beautiful and soothing, and they can be sent by professional and personal relationships alike. If you know that the grieving party has room for one, something like a Memorial Tree may be a good fit as well, but make sure to choose a plant for the appropriate climate. 

Memorial wind chimes for sympathy gift

Remember, too, that memorial gifts aren’t only meant for the loss of humans; the loss of pets can be traumatic and substantial, too. If someone in your life is grieving the loss of a pet, an option like our Pawprints Left by You blanket may be the perfect gift. 

Pawprints memorial blanket

In the end, remember that each individual situation is different, and what works for one person or circumstance will not work for another. Trust your instincts and do what you believe to be best in this situation. 

When to Avoid Sending a Sympathy Gift 

While sending a sympathy gift can be a good call in the vast majority of cases, there are undeniably times when it’s best not to send one. 

If you have a tumultuous or distant relationship, it’s best to avoid contact that may be unwelcome. If you have to turn to Google to look up an address to send the gift and go digging (and aren’t just able to ask a coworker or a friend for the proper address, or to give it to the individual in person), that may be a sign it’s best to avoid sending one. 

Here’s a good rule: If you know your presence would be unwanted at an open funeral, it’s best not to send a sympathy gift. That may include any of the following situations: 

  • Your ex is the grieving party, and they have been completely no contact with you 
  • You’re estranged in some way
  • You caused the person harm in any way in the past, like a boss who fired an employee to throw them under the boss 

It’s also wise to tread carefully when it comes to sending a sympathy gift in some instances even when your relationship with the grieving party is positive. 

This is common when the person grieving had a complicated or painful relationship with the person who has passed. Again, sending a sympathy gift for the loss of an estranged mother or abusive ex-partner is not always the right call. Instead, make sure that your support is clear in other ways. 

Final Thoughts 

Sending a sympathy gift is a completely personal decision based on your relationship with not only the person who died, but also with their loved ones. It all comes down to how comfortable you feel about giving a gift of remembrance, and how you believe they will receive it. 

Remember, too, that it’s essential to choose a gift with the grieving party in mind. If you aren’t sure if they’re religious, it’s best to skip a gift with Bible verses engraved on them, for example. If needed, a more generic gift is best for more distant relationships. 

If you’re putting the grieving party at the center of your thoughts when you’re choosing a gift and sending it exclusively to comfort them without any thought of doing it to assuage your own guilt, then the answer to “Should I send a sympathy gift” is likely yes. 

Are you considering a sympathy gift for a loved one who has experienced a loss? We’re here to help. Take a look at our collection of sympathy gifts to find a gift that is right for your relationship and the circumstances. Click here to view our catalogue