22 Thoughtful Christmas Gift Ideas for Grieving Loved Ones


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Christmas is the season of giving. If you have someone on your list who has lost a loved one, you may be placing more pressure on yourself to get them a thoughtful gift.

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Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Friend

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Family Member

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Partner or Spouse

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Child

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Coworker or Boss

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A thoughtful gift can be the perfect way to show you care. After all, you may not know how to say “Merry Christmas” to someone who’s grieving. This post provides ideas for grieving friends, family members, partners, children, and even coworkers or bosses.

Choosing a gift can seem like a delicate process, but it’s truly the thought that counts. You may also want to check out Cake’s post on holiday card etiquette after a death.

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Friend

The holidays can be hard. Incredibly hard. This may be especially true for a friend who lives far away from you or doesn’t have any family around. A gift is a great way to be there for them, even if you can’t physically visit soon. The following ideas help make their home warmer or more lively during the chilly holiday season.

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1. Nice candle

A candle may seem like one of the simplest gifts. Still, it’s no secret that aromatherapy is powerful for many people. Getting the right scent can transform your friend’s entire space and mood. An invigorating candle can be especially beneficial for productivity if they work from home, and a calming candle can help anyone who has a hard time relaxing. 

2. Self-care basket

You can personalize this basket with items your friend enjoys. Think about unique items like wine or coffee, spa items like bath bombs or skincare, sweets, or other snacks. Go the extra mile by including thoughtful notes, memories, or inside jokes for them to unwrap. Here are some other sympathy gift basket ideas.

3. Something cashmere

Cashmere is not only luxurious, but it’s also incredibly comfortable. Getting your friend something nice to lounge around in to weather the cold with will likely be appreciated. You don’t have to splurge on an entire ensemble, but try to get something they don’t already have in their wardrobe. For a simple cashmere gift, consider cashmere socks.

4. Homemade art piece

If you aren’t much of a DIY person, you can still try your best. Making your friend a homemade vase, bowl, mug, or sculpture made of modeling clay is sure to make them smile. You can model it after your friendship, a joke you share, or after your friend’s unique sense of style. Fill it with something meaningful as an extra treat, like candy, hot sauce packets, or something fun. 

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Family Member

When loss hits close to home, especially within your own family, Christmas can be tough. However, you may not talk to your family member that often or be able to comfort him or her in person. This is where a gift can bridge the gap. Suppose your family member has lost their father. In that case, you may also be interested in designing a gift that says “Merry Christmas in heaven, Dad.”

5. Home-cooked meal or dish

Even if you’re not skilled in the kitchen, you can still find a way to send a loved one a comforting meal. It’s called “comfort food” for a reason. It really can have healing powers. Surely you can find a dessert or hearty dish that will stay fresh in a tupperware container to comfort your family member in their time of grief. 

6. Framed photo

A nice framed photo of your family member and their late loved one is a timeless gift. They may already have a few around their home, but you can make it special with engravings or other personal touches. 

7. Blanket

Consider getting your family member a new throw or weighted blanket to keep warm during the Christmas season and beyond. Fresh blankets are always an excellent addition to a family room, bedroom, reading nook, or guest room.

8. Donation in a loved one’s memory

Sometimes a tangible gift may not be the right fit. Instead, you can send a donation to a cause meaningful to a late loved one in your family member’s honor. It can be something as simple as completing a toy drive request in their name.

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Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Partner or Spouse

Whether you have been with your partner forever or just a short while, it’s understandable to want to be there for them in their time of need. A gift can show your partner you care and help them remember a deceased loved one at Christmas.

9. Short getaway

A weekend trip for the two of you may be the perfect thing to relax and center yourselves after a death. Choose a location that’s easy to get to but far enough from stress or distractions. You and your partner can spend some quality time talking, reflecting, and making new memories together. 

10. Spa day

You can plan a DIY spa day for the two of you or book one professionally. Either way, your partner or spouse will likely appreciate the pampering and relaxation. 

11. Paper lanterns or balloons

Sending off paper lanterns or balloons in honor of your partner’s late loved one can be an intimate and memorable activity for the two of you. You can also share this with friends and loved ones. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, you can find some ideas here.

12. Special dinner or meal

Food is a great way to comfort a loved one and show you care. Though a special dinner or meal may be a regular tradition for the two of you, do what you can to take this one a step further. Screen a marathon of your favorite movies, put up some extra decorations, or splurge for a reservation. 

13. Memory or activity book

Your partner may really be struggling and need some distraction. You can create a booklet filled with inside jokes, reasons you love him or her, or activity ideas for the two of you to do together. This can take up a good chunk of time as the two of you look through the book and plan adventures, even if they’re something as small as grabbing an ice cream. 

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Child

Death can be even more confusing and upsetting as a child. Children are even more likely to find comfort in gifts and items that remind them of their late loved one. Here are some ideas for a grieving child that you can use or refer to for inspiration. 

14. Stuffed animal

Stuffed animals are some of the most comforting items. Try to choose the child’s favorite animal or one they don’t have in their collection already. It’s a good idea to choose one that’s durable and machine washable (like this one).

15. An uplifting book

If you’re not great with words yourself, don’t worry! You can check out these best children’s books about death. They’re written to help explain this tricky concept that mystifies both children and adults alike.

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16. Arts and crafts supplies

Arts and crafts can be incredibly therapeutic for people of all ages, especially children. If the child you’re shopping for is notoriously messy, choose something easy to clean up, like Play-Doh or washable markers

17. Night lights or room décor

Sleep, and nighttime in general, may be challenging for a child who’s grieving. Consider getting them some fun lights to add to their room, such as an interactive projector or glow-in-the-dark stickers. You can also look for something else that’s more personal, like a lovely painting or art piece. 

18. A locket or photo keychain

Children like to carry around small trinkets that are meaningful to them. It’s even more special if they can carry a late loved one’s photo. You can even make a homemade or DIY option that’s durable or can be replaced easily.  

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Grieving Coworker or Boss

Even if you’re not that close to your coworker or boss, sending them a gift to show you’re thinking of them can mean a lot. Here are some ideas that are sure to brighten their day.  

19. A plant or flowers

For just about any occasion, you can’t go wrong with a nice plant or bouquet of flowers. Plants, in particular, can be a great item to gift someone who’s grieving. When they care for the plant, they’ll not only think of you, but also their late loved one. 

20. Slippers

Slippers may sound like an odd suggestion, but a cozy pair of slippers for working from home or a casual office setting can provide much-needed comfort. Depending on your coworker or boss’s personality, you can go for a pair that are more chic or cozy. If they have a fantastic sense of humor, you might even opt for a humorous pair.

21. A mug and beverage

Gifting your boss or coworker a coffee mug and their beverage of choice is a thoughtful gesture. You can make it even more special by including a variety of their favorite coffees, teas, or even hot cocoa options. Include a cookie or some chocolates as an additional treat. 

22. A sweatshirt or cardigan

There’s nothing like the perfect sweatshirt or sweater during the winter. If your coworker or boss is grieving, they’ll likely be spending some time relaxing and could use something nice to lounge in while they do so. 

‘Tis the Season to Give 

Christmas is associated with giving. For someone who just lost a loved one, it may also be associated with grieving. The holidays with fewer loved ones around can undoubtedly be difficult, but that doesn’t mean that love is lost. Show someone in your life that they are not alone with one of these thoughtful gift options.

Showing your friends, family, loved ones, and coworkers you care with a small gift and encouraging note can make a world of difference. Never doubt the impact of kind gestures like these. 


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