25+ Homemade Sympathy Fruit Basket Ideas + Messages


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Fruit baskets are a sensible food-gift option in times of great sympathy. Not only are they appropriate for colleagues and other associates, but they work well for just about anyone in your life who’ll appreciate the fresh fruit sentiment, including your health-conscious friends.

Overview: Our Top Picks

Items to Put in a Homemade Sympathy Fruit Basket

Where Can You Purchase a Premade Sympathy Fruit Basket?

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Whether you put together a fruit basket on your own or select a premade one, we’ve found a few ideas that might inspire your choice. Finish it off with an expression of sympathy in an appropriate card.

Items to Put in a Homemade Sympathy Fruit Basket

Fruit alone works as a beautiful sympathy basket, but if you want to add something extra to your DIY fruit basket, we’ve come up with a few simple ideas to help.

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

1. Organic tea

Lemons work well with organic black and green teas, as do honey and sugar. But if you’re adding some herbal teas to the mix, then berries and oranges will be good counterparts for an afternoon break.

2. Warm socks or slippers

Socks and slippers pair well with autumnal produce such as apples, figs, and persimmons. Add some cider and cinnamon sticks with some candied nuts, and it’ll be a sweet reminder of your friendship on a cold evening.

3. Aromatherapy or incense

Mangosteens, pomegranate, and dragon fruit accompany aromatherapy oils and incense well. You’ll end up with a very red-looking gift, but if you tie a plump white ribbon to the basket, you’ll add that peaceful element needed when offering sympathy.

4. Encouraging verses and journal

There are several fruits to help with concentration so that your business associate can compose their thoughts or meditate more easily. Look for berries, black currants, cherries, bananas, and kiwis. It’ll be very colorful—and equally as helpful.

5. Spa items

Even though they’re bright and cheery-looking, oranges can do a lot to calm you down. That’s why they partner well with spa items such as rice shampoo bars for a soothing hair treatment, peppermint lotion to cool the skin, and even some cucumbers to soothe puffy eyes.

6. Lavender candle and seed packets

Studies suggest that lavender is responsible for calming effects, especially during times of high anxiety and stress. Enhance the basket with a color palette of lavender candles, plants, and seed packets. But don’t forget the fruit—strawberries and strawberry scones are great choices. 

7. Small picture frames

Bright green granny smith apples and a few well-placed silver photo frames will make a lovely and understated fruit basket for a colleague who is mourning. Tie a black and silver ribbon around the basket's waist and tuck in a sympathy note.

8. Succulents

You probably don't think of avocado as an intensely sweet fruit but add a little honey and sugar, and your guacamole main is a whole new fruit to behold all on its own. Add some succulents in a small sympathy basket and a short note with directions.

9. Rosewater spray

Rosewater is said to reduce redness, calm and soothe, relieve headaches, and act as a mood enhancer. Add blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries along with some dark chocolate, and you've got the potential to lift anyone's spirits.

10. Tropical candy

A bounty of tropical fruits such as papaya, mango, avocado, ginger, coconut, longans, loquats, passion fruit, pineapples, and breadfruit will add sunshine to anyone's morning. Similar flavored tropical candies will bring their mind back to that lovely display, too.

What to Write in a Card for a Sympathy Fruit Basket

The messages below are appropriate for any member of your family or circle of friends, including colleagues and teachers alike. Use them as they’re written, or find inspiration from them.

11. We’re so sorry for your loss.

Don’t worry about being a wordsmith if it’s not something you usually do. Use simple phrasing and know that your heart is in the right place. It’ll be enough.

» MORE: Grief can be lonely. Create space for your community to share memories and tributes with a free online memorial from Cake.

12. Your dad was the most genuine person we’ve ever met. He’ll be missed by many.

If you don’t know what to say, try choosing an attribute you admired, and focus on that.

13. I’m here for you anytime you need to talk.

In grief, mourners appreciate knowing who they can turn to and for what. If this means over wine or on a hike, let them know that as well. 

14. No lack of presence takes away devotion and love. It’s still 19 years. Neil is still present, and you’ve yet been married all these years.

Remind your coworker or friend on their wedding anniversary that mere absence doesn’t remove dates or impact. Love is love, no matter what.

15. From the first time I met her, she showed me nothing but kindness. I’ll cherish those memories and always remain thankful that I knew her. 

Consider how this person impacted you. Will you remember anything specific about their character? Include those things in a short message to make a lasting impression.

16. I’m so sorry to hear about Loki. There was always something magical in his eyes—such stories to tell. 

People’s pets are often as equally loved and treated as if they were human children. Their loss can create powerful grief, too.

17. Call me as soon as you can. I’m so sorry. 

Once you get your friend on the phone, offer to drive over to their home, take them to dinner, or just listen.

18. Our world lost one of the greats today. We’ll never find anyone else who can fill their shoes or shine so brightly. Today is a sad day.

Instead of offering sympathy, you can provide reverence instead. It’s equally as appropriate and far from being offensive.

19. Mrs. Crowley was my favorite teacher. She helped me fit in as the new kid so that I wouldn’t feel left out or embarrassed.

If you’re unsure how to express sympathy, invite the recipient of the fruit basket into your history with their loved one. Here, we have a teacher for an example. But many people make lasting impressions.

20. We were deeply saddened to learn of the loss of such a great icon in philanthropy. Those of us at S&S Associates send our deepest sympathies.

Often in B2B communication, we’re left with letterhead or emails to communicate with one another. But in times of loss, a personal sentiment from the company is more than appropriate. 

21. I know how much your grandfather meant to you. I hope this small sentiment brings you some warmth in the days ahead.

Has your good friend lost someone they love or admire? If so, personally pick out a fruit basket and include a card with something worded similarly.

22. May all of the memories of the time you shared bring you peace. I know this was a sudden loss, making it even more challenging, but know that I have you and your family in my heart and thoughts.

Any loss is difficult, but unexpected passing, not being able to say goodbye, and anything else that seems to come out of the blue is especially hard.

23. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet your family last summer, especially your mom. I could see how much she dearly loved every one of you.

In adult friendships, we don’t often meet the family members of our friends. But if you have, take a moment to recognize something you admired about their deceased family member.

» MORE: An online memorial is a perfect ending to honor and celebrate someone's life. Create one for free.

24. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for you right now. You have the full support of us here at the office, including our heartfelt condolences to your entire family. Please let us know anything we can do to help.

When an employee loses a family member, make sure to gather all of their colleagues together to sign the card before it gets sent out.

25. You’re in our thoughts. You’re in our prayers. We’re all sending you love and warmth during this sorrowful time.

This works well for extensions of a relationship. For instance, you might use it for your friend’s daughter, who lost a spouse. Or, you may use it for a distant cousin who lost someone special.

Where Can You Purchase a Premade Sympathy Fruit Basket?

If you’re short on time, here are a few shops that can help you put a premade sympathy gift basket together for your loved one.

Gift Tree

Gift Tree has an endless supply of basket options for many occasions. For the sympathy basket, you have the choice of optional add-ons such as wine, a balloon, roses, and a plush toy.

Harry and David

Harry and David fruit baskets are as decadent as you would imagine. Some even include cheeses, mustards, and baklava.

The Fruit Company

Through The Fruit Company, you can send a small fruit basket for as little as a floral bouquet. Choose the most extensive option, and it’ll include cider, crackers, nuts, and truffles.

Gourmet Gift Baskets

Along with apples and oranges, this sympathy fruit basket from Gourmet Gift Baskets arrives with cured meat, cheeses, caramel sauce, and more.

Hickory Farms

Hickory Farms offers two sizes of sympathy baskets. The largest one includes eight fresh fruit pieces, but it’s mostly filled with nuts, cheeses, cured meats, and sweets.

Manhattan Fruitier

Send blood oranges, pears, and apples nationwide from the Manhatten Fruitier. Choose from multiple sizes, including ones with Rugelach from the Duane Park Patisserie.


FTD offers the most straightforward fruit basket available—no extras or frills. Your loved one will receive their fruits in a handwoven basket with a sage green ribbon. Kosher options are available. 

Fresh Fruits and Sentiments

If you’re concerned about a fruit basket being impersonal, take some time to put one together, working from the ideas above. Add handwritten sentiment to the inside of any card, and you’ll have created a very personal sympathy gift for any person in your life who is experiencing grief.


  1. Conrad, P., et al. (2012). The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high-risk postpartum woman - a pilot study. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 18(3), 164–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.05.002
  2. Koulivand, P. H., et al. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2013, 681304. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304

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