Unique Gifts for the Newly Bereaved
When a friend or family member loses a loved one, we want to do all we can to make their situation easier. Traditional funeral gifts like flowers, food, and gift baskets are nice gestures, but when everyone offers the same type of present over the course of a few weeks, it can get overwhelming (you can only eat so many casseroles, after all).
If you want to give a gift that stands out but also provides a valuable service or comfort, here are a few unique gift ideas instead of funeral flowers.
- A Book/Gift Card to a Book Store: If you have been through your own loss recently, you might have some books on loss and bereavement that helped you out and want to share. You can also give favorite classics, escapist romance novels, or recent bestsellers. Anything that will provide a distraction and a way to take a few hours of quiet time is a good gift.
- Scented Products: Aromatherapy can help manage emotions and provide a calming backdrop. Bubble bath, candles, scented oils, lotions…all of these things come in scents like lavender and chamomile to provide soothing comfort.
- A Really Nice Blanket: This one might sound a little odd to give as a gift (especially in the warmer months), but physical comfort is an important part of grieving. Just as you might give a young child a new special stuffed animal, so too can you splurge on a luxury blanket for the adult in your life.
- Vacation Time: Some people prefer to jump back into their regular schedules to help manage their grief; others need more time to get their bearings. A vacation gift does not have to be an all-expenses paid week in Hawaii to count. Instead, consider a spa package for a weekend of pampering or a hotel stay so they can get out of the house for a few days. (If you are a co-worker, you might also be able to give them actual, physical vacation time, as in have your company transfer some of your vacation hours over to them.)
- Alcohol: Alcohol is not a perfect solution for grief, and it can quickly turn dangerous if excessive drinking becomes a problem, but funerals and drinking have long been a tradition. Buy a bottle of the deceased’s favorite liquor and bring it to the family—and then stay to share a toast with them. This moment of bonding will mean more than the actual gift.
- Music/iTunes Gift Card: Like books, music has a way of providing comfort and distraction to those who have experienced a loss. This makes an especially good gift for a teenager, as music is often the best way for them to organize their thoughts and find an outlet for their grief.
A funeral gift does not have to be flashy or expensive to mean something, and you do not have to give it to the person right away. Oftentimes, this little extra moment of, “I was thinking of you and want you to know I’m here for you,” is what really matters—even if it takes place weeks or even months after the funeral.