What to Send Instead of Flowers for Sympathy

shutterstock 1107378830 FloraQueen EN What to Send Instead of Flowers for Sympathy

The loss of a loved one can sometimes come as a shock if the passing is unexpected. However, when it is one that is expected and a result of old-age or a known illness, it can still be overwhelming and saddening. Whether the death is someone close to the family, or someone through an acquaintance, a loss is still a loss. One way to show your support when someone has suffered the passing of someone in their life is through flowers. From white carnations to orchids and tulips, flowers are a great way to show sympathy and compassion.

While flowers are a common go-to, there are other things that one can send that express one’s sympathy.

In this article, we share:

• Alternatives to flowers

• Add-ons

• Why send your sympathies?

Alternatives to Flowers

When you are looking for alternative gifts to express sympathy and compassion, consider these alternative gifts to send friends, family, and loved ones.


Sometimes a good book filled with quotes and inspiration can help the person grieve to move on, if not cope with the loss. Other recommended books to give someone who is grieving, could be ones that help the person know how to understand and express their feelings, and more. If you aren’t sure what kind of book to get someone who is grieving, visit your local bookstore. There a representative can give recommendations on books to suit your gifting needs.

Remember, your book doesn’t even have to be about grieving, loss, or moving on; however, you could also get them a book that you know could help encourage and promote self-care. With the loss, it is easy to forget, if not neglect, self-care, therefore, this gift can be helpful.

Photo Album

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when you know someone who has just lost a loved one, sometimes creating a photo album of them and the deceased can go a long way. If, however, if your relationship is more professional than personal, it may be hard to give someone a photo album. An alternative to a photo album for an acquaintance or colleague is a blank photo album. When you give the album, you can add a personal note encouraging them to cherish the memories they have, and they could do so with this album.

  Basket of Fruit/Food

During the mourning phase, the person who has experienced the loss may start to forget about eating, sleeping, and other essential daily life activities. One way of showing support and sympathy for someone who has experienced such a loss in their life is through a gift-basket. From a fruit basket or pastry basket, the options for what kind of food to give are endless; however, it is the thought that counts. If you are more of a baker or enjoy cooking, you can prepare a dish that you can personally bring over to show your support and sympathy.

Remember, you want to show your sympathy by helping the person grieving by contributing to everyday tasks. Self-care is vital, and experiencing a personal loss can throw that out of limbo, which is why gifting food is one way of truly showing sympathy and compassion.


If the cause of death of the deceased is due to an illness, you or the family may decide to give a donation to an organization supporting research and funding a cure. For example, you could donate to Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, or a Heart and Stroke organization where every dollar donated can bring them closer to a cure.


When it comes to sending your sympathy gift, depending on the gift, certain add-ons can help up the ante on your gift. Some recommended add-ons that can up the ante on your gift include:

• Wrapping – Sure, you can choose to give the gift as-is; however, sometimes wrapping the present can be a nice surprise for the recipient. Whether its flowers, a bottle of wine, or a simple card – there is the option of wrapping the gifts. For example, you can choose to add a card and have the envelope be decorated with a design.

• Note or card – Sending gifts is one thing; however, attaching a card or personal note would add that personal touch that can mean a lot to someone grieving. Seeing the words “I support you…” can say a lot to someone who may feel as though they don’t have support. Even the words “We are here for you…” can also go a long way.

• Video message – Thanks to technology, you can now record and send a personally recorded message to the grieving person. With a video message, if you don’t want to record it, you can set a time to video chat with the person to personally share and show your support.

These add-ons can be a great way to genuinely show the recipient you sympathize with their loss. Even if you have never experienced the death of a family member or someone close, showing your compassion and sympathy can mean a lot to the person.

Why Send Your Sympathies?

Showing sympathy is not always easy, especially if it’s toward someone you may not be close with. However, the act can go a long way and can mean a lot to the person. Showing sympathy is one of the greatest acts of kindness we can give someone. When you know someone who has experienced a loss, consider sending flowers, a gift, or a card.

From family to friends, colleagues, or acquaintances, remember that there are alternative gifts you can send to show your sympathy. While flowers can express what we may wish to express, a book, a card, or a photo can also do the same. Consider your relationship with the individual grieving and experiencing the loss, and take what you know about them. Would a single sunflower make them happy and feel loved? Or, would a book of inspirational quotes or short-stories be more to their liking? Remember, you don’t have to splurge in excess to show your support and sympathy, because what matters is the thought and consideration.

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