If someone you know has lost a loved one, what can you send them as a gift instead of flowers?
You want to make a gesture of love, support and sympathy. Flowers are the traditional thing, but you also know that flowers wither and die. You might also suspect that your friend won't have the time or opportunity to appreciate flowers, with all the funeral planning going on. Or maybe you know for a fact that they don't care for floral bouquets at all.
In any event, you've decided on sending something else.
So, what can you give to your dear friend or relative in lieu of flowers?
What to Send When Someone Dies Instead of Flowers
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, where we benefit (at no cost to you) if you choose to purchase one of the products we suggest. This list includes several of our own products that we make and personalize in-house at our Oregon shop.
Memorial Bird Feeder
This is our most popular memorial gift, and for good reason. The families who receive a bird feeder as a gift love it; we get many calls and emails of appreciation and positive reviews from both those who give and those who receive these lovely feeders.
Made in the USA from solid cedar wood and personalized to order in memory of the loved one, this is the perfect gift to send instead of flowers. It doesn't take up space inside the house, it "celebrates life" in how it feeds and sustains the birds while drawing them close, and it's uniquely personal.
Choose from one of our many themes, including military, fishing, wildlife, motorcycles, and much more.
Gift Card to a Favorite Restaurant
Food is always a lovely gesture. Those who grieve aren't thinking about cooking, or their next meal. So after the death of a loved one, the family is often blessed with casseroles and freezer meals.
If you're far away, you can't whip up a meal in the crock pot and bring it over. But you can do the next best thing: Give a gift card from a local restaurant.
This will be much-appreciated, especially if they don't have lots of family and friends around to bring them all those casseroles. And even if they do, after a few weeks those meals will stop coming, and there will be a day when they're just not up to cooking. So your gift will be put to good use!
Bonus points if you choose a restaurant that also offers delivery or curbside pickup.
Here for You Sympathy Gift Basket with Practical Stuff
This is a thoughtful, practical gift. Here For You creates unique care packages for people who are grieving, and sending one to someone you care about when their loved one dies will send a message of love and support.
These care packages are filled with simple necessities that the mourner may not think to get for themselves - if they "just can't even" get out the door and face a store filled with people.
Gift baskets include things like paper plates, Meyer's hand soap, kitchen bags, and other practical necessities. It's a great gift to send instead of flowers, and it really communicates your support in a tangible way.
Even - and perhaps especially - when you can't be there in person. Check it out here.
Plant a Tree In Memory
What do you give to someone who has it all, or simply needs nothing?
Well, often people send flowers; but again, that is a very overdone gift, and there are some potential objections including the reminder of death as they wilt and die, to ethical farming and harvesting concerns.
So instead, how about a gift that doesn't harvest from nature, but rather gives back? Consider planting a tree in memory of the departed loved one as your special sympathy gift.
Trees for a Change is an organization dedicated to planting trees in devastated areas of our national forests. When you purchase one of these gifts, they'll go out and plant a tree (or an entire grove of trees!) where trees are most needed.
The recipient will receive a personalized tree planting certificate indicating that a tree has been planted in memory of their loved one, plus a card explaining it all along with your sympathy message. You can optionally add a frame, plant more trees, and so on. Check it out here.
"Raise a Glass In Memory" Personalized Bottle Opener
Here's a special gift that will remind your grieving friend or family member how important it is to celebrate the life and legacy of their departed loved one.
This custom-crafted wall mounted bottle opener is made in the USA from solid wood in contrasting tones. It arrives ready to hang (or can be kept mobile) with a cast-iron opener and included personalized laser engraving.
The personalization can include the loved one's name and dates, etched inside a circular design that says, "Raise a glass in memory of" (your loved one's name). Available here, and also as a pet memorial with a paw print heart.
More Sympathy Gift Ideas
Here are a few more thoughtful ideas on what to send instead of flowers:
- Donation in the decedent's name to a cause that was important to them
- Photos and stories of their loved one
- Along the same lines, you can start a memory jar and seed it with a few memories
- Food - a favorite treat, meal delivery from a restaurant, or drop off a sympathy meal
- Succulent wreath - this is a "living memorial" gift for someone who loves nature but you're thinking maybe flowers aren't the best thing
And if you're thinking about sending a sympathy gift, here are two great resources for the best bereavement gifts: