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The History Behind Bereavement Gifts


When you hear that a friend or family member has had a Loved One die, your first thought may be to get them a bereavement gift. But what are they, and how do you choose one that is meaningful?


Learn about the history of bereavement gifts and get started customizing one that will bring comfort to someone you care for below.


What are Bereavement Gifts?

Bereavement gifts, also known as sympathy gifts and condolence gifts, are mementos given to people who are grieving by their family and friends. These can be anything from casseroles to cards to Memorial Jewelry and more.


Traditionally, bereavement gifts are given to someone in the immediate days following their Loved One’s death and symbolize the thoughts, prayers, and well wishes the person giving the gift would like to give to the person experiencing loss. They are meant to offer comfort and be a reminder of ongoing love and support throughout this difficult time.


Why People Started Giving Bereavement Gifts

From as far back as records show, it is believed that gifts and offerings have been a part of funeral services. For example, some of the earliest insights into history indicate that flowers were commonly used, not just when burying Loved Ones, but to show support for surviving family members and friends.


Trinkets and other small Keepsakes have also had a place of significance in remembering a special trait or favorite pastime of the deceased. Often, these items would be passed down as a gift to a Loved One’s spouse or children as a form of comfort and a way to show their memory continuing to live on through them.


Why People Still Give Bereavement Gifts

People still give bereavement gifts to this day to their close friends and family who are experiencing loss. While everyone will have their own personal reasons for choosing to do this, the most common include:


  • To Show Support: Bereavement gifts are often thought of as a way to give support to someone who is going through a hard time. This support can be practical, like providing a meal for the entire family, or emotional, like handwriting a letter.
  • To Offer Comfort: When someone you love experiences a Loved One dying, it can be hard to know what to say to make them feel better. Instead, bereavement gifts can offer a sense comfort that lasts well beyond funeral services.
  • To Help Begin the Healing Journey: Many times, people will give those who are grieving special items as bereavement gifts that helped them on their own personal healing journey when facing loss, helping the griever to begin their path to peace.
  • To Remind Someone They’re Not Alone: Loss can be a particularly lonely time, but bereavement gifts can be a gentle reminder that there are others around who understand.


Ideas for Unique Bereavement Gifts

The best bereavement gifts are ones that are thoughtful and reflective of either the person you’re giving it to or their late Loved One. Some of the most meaningful gifts you can give to someone who has lost a family member include:


  • Personalized Necklaces: Whether an Urn Pendant, Charm, or Locket, a memorial Necklace helps those who are grieving to keep their late Loved One close to their heart.
  • Memorial Teddy Bears: Perfect for kids and grandparents, Teddy Bears wearing a reminder of a deceased Loved One—like their fingerprint engraved on a Necklace—offer unmatched comfort.
  • Engraved Christmas Ornaments: Having a memento like a Christmas Ornament that symbolizes the life of a Loved One can be a wonderful way for family to keep their memory near during the holidays, and year-round.
  • Custom Keychains: Keychains engraved with a fingerprint and name are a beautiful way for someone who misses their Loved One to continue to carry them each day.


More Resources Like This

Do I Need to Give a Sympathy Gift to Someone Who had a Family Member Die?

4 Uplifting Sympathy Gift Ideas that Help Those Who Are Grieving Feel Better

5 Thoughtful Ways to Tell Someone “I Hope You’re Doing Well”

Thoughtful Bereavement Gifts for the Loss of a Loved One