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8 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Grieving Loved Ones

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inesa-cebanu-KV1Co7gZ_VU-unsplash (1)How can you help someone who is grieving? It’s incredibly difficult to watch our loved ones when they’re in pain, and this is a question we often face in times of anguish. We want to comfort them, be there for them and help the pain go away.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution or timeline for grief, you can let your loved ones know you care by offering thoughtful gifts from the heart. Small gifts or kind actions show you recognize their pain and that you’re there for them.

Below are some caring gift ideas that can help comfort your loved ones.

1. Frame a Special Photo or Create a Photo Album

A personal gesture can hold a lot of meaning for someone who recently lost a friend or family member. Framing a special photo or creating a photo album can help keep the departed’s memory alive for your loved one. These gifts can also bring back happy memories and offer them a sense of peace in doing so.

2. Give the Gift of Comfort Food

When people grieve, they oftentimes lose the energy to cook, eat healthy or remember to care for themselves. It can be hard to enjoy grocery shopping or making a meal when thinking about the absence of a friend or family member who isn’t around to enjoy it with them. Take the responsibility of preparing a meal for them. There are plenty of recipes that can provide comfort and can mean a lot to someone who is battling grief. Other ideas include signing your loved one up for a meal delivery service, starting a meal train or having groceries delivered for the week.

Tip: Memories are often associated with food—whether it be a special recipe or the memory of Sunday dinner together with the family. Try to recreate a gathering for your loved one or consider preparing a meal that the deceased was famous for cooking.

3. Gift a Memorial Candle

Did you know that smell is the sense that is most closely linked to memory?

Consider what the lost loved one was known for—fresh baked cookies every weekend or the smell of their blooming garden in the summer. Candles come in a wide array of scents, and it’s likely you can find one that matches his or her personality.

When your friend of family member lights the candle in their honor, they will have a physical representation to acknowledge their loved one.

4. Labor of Love: Take the Time to Help

When someone is grieving, household chores can easily pile up, and finding the energy to take care of them can be daunting. Offer to shovel snow, cut the grass or simply invite them out and provide some company. This act of love will let them know they’re not alone and that you care to support them.

5. Keepsake Jewelry Keeps Loved Ones Close to the Heart

Keepsake jewelry also makes a wonderful gift. Each piece is beautifully designed to honor the person who has passed. Keepsakes for cremated remains and jewelry with a loved one’s fingerprint or handwriting etched on them are special, personal gifts your loved one can adorn to keep their loved ones near at all times.

6. Make a Donation in Honor of the Departed

If you don’t want to offer a physical gift, making a donation in the departed’s honor is both a thoughtful and meaningful way to show you care. Your loved one will be happy knowing their loved one’s legacy is living on through a purposeful, charitable gift.

Tip: Consider causes that the lost loved one cared about. If they had pets, a local humane society or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) might resonate. Or if they passed from a life-limiting disease, research if there is a group dedicated to fighting the illness, like the American Cancer Society or Alzheimer’s Association.

7. Self-Care Packages Relieve Stress

Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult and stressful time in one’s life. Spa treatments and massages are simple gifts to help your loved one decompress. A number of websites, like Etsy, Amazon or Spoonful of Comfort, also offer a variety of grief packages that you can customize and personalize for your loved one.

8. Give Your Loved One a Call

Calling to let someone know you’re thinking of them could be the best part of their day. When you’re talking on the phone, take the opportunity to extend the invitation to coffee or lunch, or even over to your home. Having these conversations over the phone takes the pressure off of each party, and it will mean a lot to the person grieving. Although this isn’t a tangible gift, kindness and the gift of your time goes a long way for someone who is carrying the weight of grief.

Regardless which gift you decide to give, your thoughtfulness will mean the most. Those who are going through this stressful and painful process appreciate their friends and family acknowledging their grief and offering condolences.

Healing Tips During the Grieving Process

It’s important to remember that grief has no timeline. Whether you've recently lost a loved one or you are deep within your grief journey, subscribe to our newsletter, A Journey Towards Healing, for tips, facts and words of encouragement as you heal.

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2015, and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Cathy Nichols
Cathy Nichols
Considers it an honor as a Certified Celebrant to listen to life stories, and then design and conduct meaningful tributes. Cathy also trains celebrants nationally, equipping them to share those legacies in ways that comfort and enlighten. Honorably serving Busch families since 2004.

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