sympathy gift basket ideas

5 Last-Minute Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas


I’m going to share with you some of my favorite sympathy gift basket ideas that can put together quickly when you need a gift for a grieving friend. You might not have time to order a personalized memorial gift, but there are still plenty of ways to let a grieving friend know that you care. If you need a gift today (or in a couple days) consider putting together a sympathy gift basket. With just a quick trip to the store you can create a thoughtful sympathy gift.

What Do You Put in a Sympathy Gift Basket?

There are many different options to add to a gift basket. To make it a sympathy gift basket consider adding a sympathy poem in a frame, a book, gift card, or remembrance gift.

Simply, adding a gift certificate or meal delivery can be immensely helpful. You could in a few minutes send a Seamless gift card. Here are few other ideas of simple items that can be used to create a custom sympathy basket. Diane P. Brennan, grief counselor at Life & Loss Mental Health Counseling says these “gifts of time” are ideal for “giving the person time to do the things that they need to do to support their grief.” There are often responsibilities that come with the death of a family member, like settling their estate or cleaning out their home. These practical things can seem overwhelming to the bereaved.

  • Books or journals
  • Gift certificates
  • Self-care gifts
  • A cozy throw blanket
  • Stuffed animals
  • Photo frames
  • Keepsake

Adding a Book to a Sympathy Gift Basket

A few of my favorite books for a grieving friend are:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – a best-selling memoir of the time following the death of her husband and daughter.

The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs – an uplifting story about a woman making the most of her life. Very relatable and positive. definitely a story to make you laugh and cry

It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok by Megan Devine – a highly relatable, empathetic read for anyone who’s recently lost someone they love.

Grief Day by Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss by Jan Warner – daily reflections, weekly themes, and exercises to help your grieving friend move through the grieving process.

Items to Create a Homemade Gift Basket

You’ll need a few basics to create your gift basket. You may have these on hold or often times you can use a container or box rather than an actual basket.

  • Tissue paper for padding
  • Ribbon or Bows
  • A basket

Homemade Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas

Words of sympathy are not the only way to express your condolences. Making your own sympathy gift basket can be a practical and caring way to offer support.

Some of these items you might have around the house, but most likely you’ll need to make a trip to the store. Going with a theme for your gift basket will help you know what items to get so you don’t end up with a strange collection of unrelated items. I sure this list will help you come up with more sympathy gift basket ideas.

Tea & Healthy Snacks Gift Basket

  • organic teas
  • honey
  • dried fruit
  • fresh fruit
  • crackers
  • moon cheese
  • nuts

Comforting Coffee & Chocolate Gift Basket

  • coffee
  • hot cocoa
  • a mug
  • creamer or flavored syrups
  • chocolate covered espresso beans
  • box of chocolates

Pampering Gift Basket

  • bath salts
  • bath oils
  • body scrub
  • comfy bath rope
  • lotion
  • loofah
  • a body brush
  • gourmet soaps
  • scented candles
  • sleeping mask for relaxing
  • chocolates

Self-Care Gift Basket

  • soft cozy socks
  • art supplies
  • journal
  • meditation CD or relaxing music
  • comforting tea or soup
  • massage oil
  • essential oils
  • sleep mask
  • affirmation cards
  • scented candle

Cozy Throw Blanket Gift Basket

sympathy gift basket ideas
  • packets of hot cocoa, tea or coffee
  • movie, book, or magazine
  • popcorn, pretzels, or other snacks
  • neck pillow or heating pad
  • small stuffed animals
  • slippers or cozy socks

There are so many everyday items that can be put together to create a caring gift. I’ve also found many sympathy gift basket ideas at Healing Baskets. A homemade gift basket can be just as nice as ordering a pre-made one and there more room to customize it. When combined with a nice card it makes a wonderful expression of sympathy.

Ideas for What to Write on a Condolence Card

You can add a personal touch to your gift by adding a hand-written sympathy note, condolence card, or a beautiful poem.

  • Thinking of you during this very difficult time.
  • Please accept my condolences.
  • With thoughts of love we send you feelings of courage and peace. Stay strong my friend.
  • When we heard about [name]’s passing and was truly saddened. Please accept our most sincerest condolences and know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers.
  • You have our warmest condolences during this time of loss. [name] was such a great person. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
  • I’m sending hugs and best wishes for your family during this time of bereavement.
  • I have no words to express my sympathy so let me simply say, “I’m sorry.”
  • May the angels walk with you on this day, and hold and keep you until the pain goes away.
  • We have you in our thoughts and prayers during this time.
  • I cannot imagine your pain. I can only offer my most sincere condolences.
  • My thoughts are with you during this time of sorrow. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss.
  • I wish that I could bring to you the comfort of acceptance, but all I can do is stand beside you through the storm.