Funeral DIY: Make Your Own Sympathy Basket
When a loved one passes away, one custom is to send the family a floral arrangement or a gift basket as a gesture of sympathy. Funeral flowers are convenient because they make a simple statement and can be sent directly to the funeral home. Sympathy baskets are ideal when you want to send a more practical gift but also want to stick to the tradition.
Although you can order sympathy and bereavement baskets online (from most florists or gift companies), you can also take a more DIY approach. A gift basket made with your own hands has the benefit of being more personal, more affordable, and, if you are struggling with your grief, may even provide a therapeutic benefit.
Traditional Sympathy Basket Gifts
What goes into a sympathy basket is entirely up to you. To avoid going overboard, or if you are struggling to come up with ideas, we suggest starting by choosing a basket theme. This will allow you to focus on creating a unified basket that is also practical for a family in mourning.
- Food and Beverages: Grieving families often have large numbers of guests or a lack of time for cooking. A food and drink gift basket that includes items like crackers, cheese, snack foods, tea, coffee, desserts, and fruit can help with this dilemma, while also expressing your concern.
- Warmth and Comfort: Losing a loved one is difficult both emotionally and physically. A “comfort” gift basket can include items like candles, blankets, an eye pillow, herbal teas, soothing CDs, baked goods, hot chocolate, and other items you associate with curling up in front of a fire.
- Spa Day: It can be difficult to unwind and relax after a devastating loss, but self care is essential. Make it easier on your loved one by providing everything they need in one easy place. Consider adding bubble bath, bath bombs, spa gift certificates, massage gift certificates, facial supplies, manicure sets, and scented candles.
- Remembrance: Although you want to be thoughtful around the theme of bereavement, you can make a sympathy basket that focuses on your specific loss. A framed photo of the deceased, a handmade scrapbook, a journal of your cherished memories, inspirational quotes or songs, and memorial trinkets can all go a long way in creating a basket that’s unique to both you and your loved ones.
How to Build a Sympathy Basket
When it comes to sympathy baskets, the “basket” part of the term is flexible. There is no rule that you have to artfully arrange everything in an oversized wicker basket—in fact, baskets can be bulky and difficult to reuse, making them less than ideal as a container. If you have an artistic side, feel free to make a beautiful arrangement; if not, consider something more practical.
A tasteful, decorative box that can be reused, a tote bag with a meaningful message or image on the outside, or even a Tupperware container that can be reused are all acceptable ways to pack your sympathy basket. While it will look more like a care package than a gift basket this way, the comfort and message are all the same.