18 DIY Sympathy Care Package Ideas for a Loved One


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If someone you know loses a loved one, how do you respond? You know that this is when they need your support and condolences the most, but you’re not sure where to begin.

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Sympathy Care Package Gift

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While giving a kind card or in-person messages are always a sign of kindness, a care package goes the extra mile. This type of gift shows that you’re thinking of the bereaved and their family during this difficult time. 

Whether you choose a gift that honors the person who passed or helps your friend grieve, this is a way of communicating your support. When paired with a thoughtful sympathy message, a care package means the world to those going through a significant loss. 

Since finding the perfect sympathy care package isn’t always easy, these 18 DIY ideas are perfect for your loved one. 

Sympathy Care Package Ideas for a Family Member

If a family member is going through a loss, let them know you’re there for them with a care package. Since you know your family members in a personal way, you have a lot of options for choosing a generous care package. 

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

1. Grocery care package

One of the most overlooked things after a passing is chores. Things like grocery shopping get pushed aside during the grieving process. 

Help your family member with some grocery essentials in a care package. If possible, get the family’s grocery list in advance. Otherwise, use your best judgment to choose things they’d need at this time. 

You can try sending them a Care Package Full of Healthy Snacks (pictured above) or even a Whole Foods gift card.

2. A meal in a box

Similar to grocery shopping, homemade meals are hard to come by in the initial days of grief and even the weeks after. 

Preparing a ready-to-go meal, like this Amy's Frozen Bowls, Chili Mac, along with other essities like paper plates, disposable cutlery, and dessert makes it easy for the bereaved to enjoy a family meal. 

3. Cleaning care package

Like we said, chores are put on the back burner during this time. Offering to help with these tasks is a great way to help. 

Gifting a cleaning gift card, basic cleaning wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, and other forgotten necessities is a very thoughtful touch. Better yet, stop by and offer to clean yourself. 

4. Food delivery

Another way to help your family stay fed is through a food delivery service. This also takes the heavy lifting out of the care package process.

You can even DIY a meal plan through a meal delivery service to ensure your loved one has fresh food all week.

5. Organizational package

There’s a lot of paperwork that comes with losing someone. Your family member might be in need of organizational things like this desk organizer, notebook, pens, and files for all of their paperwork. If you have the time, offer to take over this organizational process for them. 

6. Family memories package

Since you know your family member best, share a few memories in a DIY container, or you can buy a shadow box, like this one pictured above.

Include photos of the deceased, mementos, and some of their favorite things to remind them that their legacy lives on. 

Sympathy Care Package Ideas for a Friend

When it comes to giving a sympathy care package to a friend, you’ll want to focus on what you know about them. Since you likely didn’t know the deceased personally, steer clear from overstepping boundaries with these simple gifts. 

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

7. Spa gift basket

After the passing of someone special, it’s hard to remember to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.

Gifting a spa basket, like this Cruelty-Free Bath Body & Spa Gifts Box from Amazon, gives your friend a chance to pamper themselves. Include things like a face mask, soothing oils, and candles. 

8. Gourmet food gift

Everyone likes special foods, and this occasion calls for going a bit above and beyond, like this Gourmet Gift Basket from Wine Country Gift Baskets.

Gifting a few upscale, gourmet food options like chocolate, cheese, and other sweets is a nice gesture. Make sure all food is easy to store for simplicity. 

9. Plants and memories basket

Plants have long been used as a symbol for new life and rebirth. Sending a plant, like this Sympathy Arrangement from The Shopstation on Amazon, some seeds, and a frame for a photo is a simple DIY idea.

As the plant grows, the recipient has a reminder of their loved one. Include a hand-painted pot or container for an extra touch. 

10. Kids sympathy package

If your friend has young kids, don’t leave them out of the gifting. Because the focus is often all on the funeral, kids often feel left behind.

Offering a few toys, books, and movies for the younger ones gives the parents a time to grieve, or you can send something like this 25-Piece Stress Relief Toy Set from Amazon.

11. Create a DIY letter book

If you have a close group of friends, a personal gift is to compile a group of letters. Ask other friends and family to write letters to the bereaved. 

They might share memories of the deceased or just sympathy messages. This is a moving memento they’re sure to cherish for years to come. Try writing down each of your messages in a pretty leatherbound journal.

12. Practical household items

While you don’t know what the family has taken care of, it’s always a good idea to share some must-have household essentials. These are the things that your friend is too busy to worry about, like toilet paper, trash bags, and plates.

You might also include gift cards for lawn work, daycare, or other needs. 

Sympathy Care Package Ideas for a Colleague

When offering a care package to a colleague, it’s hard to know what’s appropriate. These sympathy gift ideas are typically given on behalf of the entire work team, so letting everyone chip in keeps overall costs down. These basic ideas are easy and always a good fit. 

13. Flowers and candy

You don’t have to overcomplicate things when it comes to creating the perfect care package for your coworker.

A bouquet of flowers, like this Blue Sympathy Bouquet with Same Day Delivery (pictured above), some nice candy and chocolate, and a thoughtful note from the staff goes a long way. 

14. Gift card basket

A number of gift cards make a good fit within a gift basket for a bereaved colleague.

Things like gas cards, food delivery, and cleaning services are affordable and easy to put together in a single package. You can buy gift cards to places like Amazon, Whole Foods, or their favorite restaurants.

15. Baked goods sympathy package

Baked goods are always a welcome sympathy gift. Have someone in the office bake or purchase baked goods like cookies, brownies, or cupcakes.

They should be small and easy to store. If possible, pair them with reusable containers they can keep. Or if you're not a baker, you can send them professionally-baked cookies, like these Freshly Baked Cookies from The Cravory.

16. Donation in someone’s honor

Sometimes it’s appropriate to give a donation instead of flowers or another type of gift. Choose the perfect charity and have the entire staff sign a card. 

Compile some symbols of the charity for a simple gift basket. For example, if you donate to an environmental organization, gift a small plant with a nice card. 

17. Tea and coffee gift

Most people enjoy drinking tea or coffee. This is a small luxury that we don’t think about as having much importance. 

To the bereaved, these small pleasures are an act of kindness. Delivering a care package with tea, coffee, milk, and creamer, like this Starbucks Coffee and Teavana Tea Gift Basket, goes a long way. Include a custom mug or teacup for an extra step.

18. Card and picture frame

Finally, keep it simple. A nice, handwritten card and a high-quality picture frame, like this Emfogo 4x6 Picture Frame from Amazon, are a touching gesture.

Pair this with any extras like candy, baked goods, a candle, or other small tokens of kindness. 

Overcoming Grief with a Sympathy Care Package

While a care package isn’t a substitute for in-person words of support, these are an easy way to show you care. Whether you deliver your care package immediately after the loss or on the death anniversary, this is a strong way to show your sympathy. 

There are a lot of things the bereaved overlooks while dealing with their own grief. Household chores and taking care of oneself are all pushed aside. 

A care package provides a helping hand when someone needs it most. It’s a sign of comfort and strength when the world seems like a bleak place. The next time someone you know experiences a loss, you’ll be prepared with the perfect sympathy care package. 

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