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Sympathy Gift Ideas

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Choosing a thoughtful gift to express your sympathy may be difficult. This is a guide about sympathy gift ideas.


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March 26, 2012

The mother of a good friend is dealing with cancer. It is easy to feel helpless when those you love are going through any kind of suffering. Today, I made a homemade pot of soup and thought of my friend's mother. The soup was very healthy and easy on the stomach. I grabbed a ladle and filled up a mason jar, then attached a label to it with the short list of ingredients. Tomorrow I will give it to my friend when I see her.

Even if her mother can't eat the soup, she will know I was thinking of her. A frugal and thoughtful gift.

By Patricia Mabel from Maple Falls, WA

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By 17 found this helpful
January 19, 2010

I recently made a memorial block for the family of a lady in my Sunday School class who had passed away. I got sick of paying too much money for a few flowers that died in a few days. This way the family would have a lasting gift and it could be shared by different family members. I happened to have a photo of the deceased and her husband who had passed some time before, so I copied it and laminated it and then applied it to a glass block.


I have written lots of posts about glass blocks some long time ago and I think those posts are still available.

I added mini lights and the funeral representative placed it on the organ in the chapel. It turned out very nice and the family called me the next day to tell me they were fighting over who was going to get to keep the block. They finally decided to pass it each year at Christmas so the lady could continue to be seen by family members and the children would remember her.

By Linda from Knoxville, TN

Editor's Note: Here is a post which has photos of First Lady's glass blocks. They are located in the feedback under the original post.

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November 14, 2004

When my husband's friend's mom passed away 2 months ago, we wanted to give him and his wife something special to remember her by. I phoned the local florist and they said that the smallest floral arrangement would be $35.00. I then phoned the local plant nursery and asked the prices of rose bushes. I wanted a rose bush that would be hardy to our area (Zone 3). For $20.00 I bought a hardy rose bush in a 2 gallon pot. The nursery even tied a big raffia bow on the pot and put a sympathy card on a clear plastic stick into the plant.


Our friends were thrilled and even brought me into their back yard to find the best place to plant the rose bush. The rose will bloom each summer and last far longer than a flower arrangement.

In the future, if we wish to give someone special a sympathy gift in the wintertime when a rose bush cannot be purchased at a nursery (we live in Canada) I will purchase a single rose at a florist and give it to them with the promise of a rose bush to come in spring.


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By 3 found this helpful
February 22, 2013

Make handkerchiefs to express sympathy when someone you love loses someone they love.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 1, 2006

A close friend (she's 40) just lost her father to cancer. She is receiving condolences of plants, flowers and food. I want to do something for her or give her something unique. Does anyone have any ideas as to what to do for her, or what to give her?


Marnita from Cumming, GA


By Tracee (Guest Post)
February 1, 20060 found this helpful

Maybe a blank journal with a gift certificate to have lunch or dinner with you when she is ready to talk or just wants to get out. That is what i would like , just to know someone cares .

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February 1, 20060 found this helpful

When my husband died my daughter's girlfriend gave us copies of photos she had taken over the years that included my husband. We enjoyed sharing memories and they made a nice addition to our collections.

Love & Prayers,

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February 1, 20060 found this helpful

I would suggest your time and an ear. When I lost my father 9 years ago, I would have loved to have had a friend to just listen and let me talk about and remember him and grieve without any shame. Talking about the loved one is the first step in the healing process.


Maybe you could find some time together alone and you could just begin by asking about her father. I'll bet the rest just follows from there. She will really appreciate it later. Good luck!

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February 1, 20060 found this helpful

There are some wonderful poems and books available from ; one is called The Dash, and another is Remember Me. At my friend's father's and sister's funeral they read the poem The Dash, it is really lovely.

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By Connie A. (Guest Post)
February 1, 20060 found this helpful

Marnita, What about a keepsake. You could find the obit in the local newspaper and have it laminated. You can cut it into a bookmark for her to place in a book that her dad like to read or perhaps the family Bible. You might also gather from another family menber a few of her dad's things, small items that she might like to keep and make a shadow box with those items in it.


I did this for my brother when our grandparents died. I had quilt pieces that my grandma made and my grandfather's pipe and a can of Prince Albert along with his matches that he loves so dearly. We both cried but it made a great reminder that the little things mean so much!
You are a good friend!
P.S. I used to live in Cumming Ga. between 1978-1980, it's a nice place to live.

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February 1, 20060 found this helpful

Call her at a time you know she is likely to be free and ask her if you may come over then and take her to get a light meal, dessert or even a shampoo and blow dry. Be there with her, let her talk and help her get out of the house and back into "society". Sometimes inertia is hard to overcome and one winds up just sitting and stewing. Doing something concrete that actually, physically makes her feel good will do her wonders as it lets her know you really DO care and are willing to put yourself out a little for her. It doesn't have to be expensive.

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February 1, 20060 found this helpful

A friend of mine compiled a list of things to do when a friend or loved one has a death in the family. She had just lost her mom and wrote this up a week after the funeral. She was in her 40s and had children of all ages at home. I printed it out and keep it on hand now so I have more of an idea of what I can do.

You didn't say how long ago your friend lost her father. This is a long list, but maybe you can find something useful.

My condolences and you are a great friend to think of her. :)


Make phone calls
Stay and visit
Run kitchen at meal times
See if the supply on paper products is low - kleenex, TP, paper plates, etc.
Take clothes to cleaners

Stay and visit
Run kitchen at meal times
Pick up clothes from cleaners
Breakfast food
Offer to help pick out flowers
Change bedding for out of town overnight guests
Wash cars
Bring pictures and anecdotes to share
Food for noon and supper meals
Take children out on errands such as shopping for funeral clothing or haircuts

Stay and visit
Stay overnight
Take food to funeral home lounge

Organize dinner
Donate dinner items (food or table decorations) and volunteer to serve if needed
Stay overnight

Buy stamps for thank you notes

Phone or visit
Make a lunch or supper date
Take them out to coffee

Act as a taxi, those who are crying cannot drive, children have events, parents need groceries
Babysit younger children at the house or take them home with you
Entertain tweens and teenagers
Tend to duties such as pets, yards, dishes, etc.
Get children from school
Be a tag along
Give money

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By hwalz (Guest Post)
February 1, 20060 found this helpful

If your friend has a garden, a small statue or fountain provides a lasting memorial.

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February 1, 20060 found this helpful

You guys are awesome!!! Thanks for all the great ideas. Marnita

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By Juanita (Guest Post)
February 1, 20060 found this helpful

This isn't really a gift as much as a service in the name of love.
Bring every thing you'll need to clean the bathroom. This was suggested when I belonged to a Grief Support Group. It's a great idea.

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By Diana (Guest Post)
February 2, 20060 found this helpful

How about a Journal that you circulate among friends and family
they can record their favorite memory of the loved one

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February 2, 20060 found this helpful

Can you crochet or knit? If so, a prayer shawl would make a wonderful gift. I have crocheted the prayer shawl from http://www.nmpr  rayer_shawl.html and it's easy and beautiful.

Sherry in Georgia

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By jmz2005 (Guest Post)
February 2, 20060 found this helpful

The poems from Linda Ellis are wonderful, i am going to order and see about putting a copy of the "Remember Me" by my Mom's grave site

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February 2, 20060 found this helpful

I would suggest a food basket. Like soups, you could buy a big bowl and put soup packets in it, along with maybe a good snuggle blanket. Or coffee, something that you think she would enjoy. You could add a book of poems or the pictures that was already suggested. Make a small photo album and add that!!

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By (Guest Post)
February 2, 20060 found this helpful

What abt planting a tree in his memory?

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By Marlene (Guest Post)
February 3, 20060 found this helpful

I gave my friend money for the specific purpose of buying a nice picture frame for a special picture of her father. She chose to frame her parent's wedding picture, as her mom had died when she was only 2 years old and her father remarried. She was raised mostly by grandparents. She told me many times how much she treasured the gift and the idea.

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By rhona (Guest Post)
February 16, 20060 found this helpful

The gift of MourningStones is a wonderfully unique sympathy gift. It is on the web. Just type the name and add "dot" com

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By imaqt (Guest Post)
February 16, 20060 found this helpful

i think the best idea is planting a tree. everytime she sees the tree it will remind her of her father and the tree will live a long time
(not that any of the other ideas suggested were bad)

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December 6, 20060 found this helpful

A small keepsake to hang in a kitchen window is a nice gesture of remembrance. https://www.the  &Category=53

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August 3, 20070 found this helpful

the creation of a Memory Garden can bring such comfort because of it's magical properties. It is also a place of peace and reflection.

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