7 Unique Sympathy Gift Ideas For The Modern Griever (That Aren’t Flowers)

Gone are the days of impersonalized sympathy gifts that have zero meaning for the person or family who’s grieving.

In the past, we could just send a card to someone and call it good. 

Now, grief is more complex. 

People are less supported and more isolated. 

And in that, we’re learning that a sympathy gift is more than just a gift. What people really need is SUPPORT.

As we learn more about the process of grief and what it means to move through grief in a healthy way, we become inspired with new ways to support those in the grieving process.

With all of that, I present to you 7 sympathy gift ideas that are unique, ordinary and meaningful:

A meal train

Before you ask yourself “isn’t this just for couples who recently had children?”, think again. Meal trains are an epic way to support anyone going through a passage such as birth, death, illness or anything in between. What says love better than your family’s secret lasagna recipe anyways? You don’t have to cook for that person either. You can sign-up for the meal train and have their favorite restaurant in town deliver to them. Get your friends and family together and plan out a meal train for the grieving family. It’s super easy to create with this website. 


Yes, chocolate. As in that sweet chocolate bar you crave when you’re sad. And there’s a reason for it. Chocolate is a known depression fighter and contains over 700 chemical compounds that boost happy chemicals in the brain and ease anxiety, depression and sadness. Ceremonial cacao is 100% chocolate without all of the additives and crap they put in our Hershey’s bar. Without all the additives, cacao becomes a superfood that helps our mind, body and spirit in ways we are still learning about. Here are some of our favorite high quality ceremonial grade (the best variety) cacao at the following companies:


Grief coach

In the millennial service & experience driven world, there is a coach for everything, from getting rich to starting a business to tracking your menstrual cycle. And yes, you guessed it, a coach to help you through your grief. A coach is different from a therapist because they help you to focus on the future and create plans of action rather than trying to focus so much on the past. I love the idea of a grief coach because it can help give us momentum forward when we feel stuck in the muck. 

Offering a loved one this as a sympathy gift is a great way to support their emotional process. You can pitch in with others in the community and purchase a package of sessions for the grieving person or family. Check out one of these grief coaching websites to find a grief coach that resonates with your grieving loved one(s):

  • Grief Coach: A personalized grief coaching service offering support through text messaging


Essential oils

Did you know there is a scientifically proven way that essential oils support your nervous system through grief and loss? It’s true. Essential oils are concentrated extracts from plants widely grown throughout the world and have a very potent smell to them. They often need to be “carried” with an oil of some kind to apply to your body, or you can diffuse them in your room as a form of aromatherapy. Gifting your loved one essential oils supports their bodies to relax and find safety in an otherwise numbing and anxiety-inducing time of their lives. 

Here are some of our favorite essential oils to support someone through grief:

Check out this guide to essential oils for grief if you’d like to learn more.


Art supplies

Sometimes the only way out is through. Art therapy is one of the most effective ways to move through the heaviness of grief. One of the best ways you can empower the grieving person you love is to offer them the space to move through their feelings through art. Get them some colored pencils, watercolor paints, chalk, paper, or any other mediums (magazine collages anyone!?) and any other creative supplies you think they’d like to play with. Bonus points if you create art with them.

House cleaner

Sometimes it’s the little things that count the most. Having a messy house when you’re feeling like your inner world is a mess is often a stressful experience. And it’s hard to get up and clean when you’re deeply grieving. That’s why hiring a house cleaner for your loved one is a great idea to clear the air, shift the energy and create a feeling of freshness in the home. This is another one of those things that can easily be pitched in by a community or group of people. 



When it comes to healing grief, ritual is key. If you’re new to mourning rituals, we have this blog and this blog to catch you up to the idea. Candles are an easy foundational piece of creating ritual in one’s life. Just simply waking and lighting one each morning can remind us that no matter what happens, there is still a spark of light in our lives. If you gift someone a candle, offer them the idea to light it every morning to remind themselves of this spark that will never go away.

We hope these simple sympathy gift ideas inspire you to think outside the box and support those grieving in your life in ways that are unique and meaningful to them.

What other kinds of sympathy gifts can you recommend to our readers? Tell us in the comments below!


Want to offer the ultimate go-to for sympathy gifts on your funeral home website? Look no further than the Sympathy Store! Click here to talk to one of our funeral success specialists to learn more about how our Sympathy Store plugin can work for your funeral home and give the gift of support to your families.



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