20 DIY Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas to Send a Loved One

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There are several different approaches to sending sympathy gifts to someone who lost a loved one. The way you approach the situation usually depends on how close you are to the person. 

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You may send a card or a Facebook message offering condolences for their loss. If you have the funds, you could donate to a favorite charity in the deceased’s name. You might cook a casserole and drop it off to members of the family. Or you could buy sympathy gifts such as a small figurine, a photo frame, or a piece of jewelry.

But perhaps you feel moved to create a sympathy gift basket for your friend who lost a family member. You may be able to find companies online that can create a beautiful basket for you. But here are some ideas for those who prefer to choose the items themselves. 

Gourmet Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas

Would the person receiving the sympathy gift basket appreciate some gourmet offerings? Here are some items you may consider purchasing.

Keep in mind, some high-end retailers will curate a collection of gifts for you. Just let them know what types of things you’re looking for, and they can help you create something. 

1. Fruit and nuts

Do you remember the enormous fruit basket that Ralphie delivered to his teacher in A Christmas Story? Although Ralphie’s teacher seemed appreciative of the gesture, you might want to send a more high-end version to the bereaved. 

Search for “gourmet fruit baskets” to find a company that offers premium fruit. The fruits and nuts are carefully packaged and stored in temperature-controlled environments. You could order the fruit to be delivered directly to you and create a basket yourself. Or you could have a basket of items sent directly to the family. 

Many local stores also offer these services. You might also be able to buy an edible arrangement from a local retailer or grocery store.

2. Gourmet baked goods

Check with the local bakery, cookie shop, or pie place in your area to see if they offer a sympathy gift arrangement. Make sure they know that the items are going to a family in mourning. That way they can use more muted frosting colors and fewer embellishments. 

Many local establishments may also offer to deliver the basket for you. That’s the benefit of working with a local company.

You can also consider ordering a basket of baked goods from Amazon to make sure that it can be delivered directly to your recipient.

3. Teas and coffees

A thoughtful gift basket might be one full of gourmet teas and coffees. You could include loose-leaf and bagged tea as well as a diffuser.

If the family you’re sending this to has a mix of tea and coffee lovers consider that when making your basket. You could add whole, roasted coffee beans and a variety of creamers. Finally, you may also want to include tea biscuits or biscotti. The family can share these with visitors. 

4. Bagels

A few areas are well known for their bagels. If you are lucky enough to live in one of those places, why not have some delivered to a family in mourning?

Include a variety of bagels, schmears, lox, and cream cheese. You may want to include a bagel slicer as well, just to make sure they have everything they need.

5. Snacks

The family in mourning is likely to have a lot of extra visitors. A lot of people will be passing through in the days leading up to (and following) the funeral. Having a few snacks people can munch on while they’re helping around the house is a thoughtful gift. Buy a collection of gourmet snack items to give to the family.

Consider gourmet flavored popcorn, whole roasted nuts, yogurt-covered pretzels, or chocolate-covered coffee beans. Provide a variety of items that could feed people with various allergies and diets.

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Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas With Wine

You might want to pair your gift basket with several bottles of fine wine. Here are some ideas for types of foods to include in those baskets.

6. Cheese and crackers

What goes better with a dry red than fine cheese and quality, gourmet crackers? Do your research before purchasing a selection for the mourners you know.

Many of these collections can feature a fair amount of processed cheese. That may not appeal to your friends or family members. 

If you're looking for a set that can be delivered, we like the Hickory Farms gourmet sausage and cheese gift box.

7. Olives and charcuterie boards

Gourmet grocers should be able to create a charcuterie board as a sympathy gift. And there are so many options for what you could include. The mix of meat and cheese you could include is endless!

You may also want to include specialty serving utensils, such as cheese knives, olive forks, and honey wands. Don’t forget to add crackers and bread to the basket. And add a few bottles of paired wine to make the gift perfect.

8. Chocolates

Even though many chocolates pair deliciously with wine, make sure that your gift says, "I’m sorry for your loss.” You want that message to come through. It’s important your gift reflects the tone of the moment. You don’t want it looking like a romantic gesture.

Consider including gourmet roasted nuts as well as chocolates to vary the gift slightly. And make sure the colors of the packaging and wrapping reflect the appropriate mood. Those additions can help convey the correct message.  

9. Sandwiches and soups

Honestly, you can pair wine with anything. Your friends and family are going to be hungry.

So why not buy some hearty pre-made sandwiches and comforting soups? Deliver the items at mealtime, ready to be served. 

10. Sympathy gifts

Maybe you know that the family has enough food to last for weeks. Instead, consider pairing your wine with some other sympathy gifts.

They might like a memory journal or a figurine of an angel. Or a personalized item, such as a photo memory book.

If you were close with the deceased you may be able to create a unique gift for those in mourning. You may have pictures or items that the family doesn’t have. These can make a beautiful gift. 

Pet Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas

You can buy a pet sympathy gift or gift basket for someone who lost a beloved pet. It doesn’t have to be that different from what you would purchase for someone mourning their family member. Here are some other ideas of items to include in the gift basket that will make it more pet-focused.

11. Pet treats for the surviving animals

If you have ever lost a pet, you know that the other animals in the house may act strangely for a time. One could assume that the remaining dog or cat is also in mourning.

If you know that this is the situation at your friend’s house, consider dropping off a gift basket full of treats for the remaining pets. 

12. Pet memory kit

Did your friend recently lose a pet? Consider getting your friend a shadow box to display the deceased pet’s collar. You may also include a pet photo frame.

13. Gourmet food items packaged in a pet-focused container

Any of the previously listed food baskets would be appropriate to send to someone who lost a four-legged friend. Some companies specialize in putting such sympathy gifts together. And they can package the gift in a pet-themed basket.

You shouldn’t have trouble finding themed baskets for dogs or cats. Other pet-themed containers may be more difficult to find. But you can customize a basket to make it work for your friend. 

14. Pet sympathy gifts

You might like to give a basket of items to your friend or family member that includes sympathy gifts.

Place small pieces of jewelry in the basket as well as books that celebrate pets. You may also want to add a wall hanging with a favorite pet-related saying.

Also check out companies like Parting Stone that create beautiful, handheld cremation stones to help someone keep their deceased furry baby close to them.

Inexpensive or Cheap Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to tell someone you care about them. The people in your inner circle don’t care where the food you purchased came from. Here are some inexpensive gift bucket ideas that you can give to a family that is in mourning.

15. Snacks and sodas

You want to do something nice for a family in mourning, but you don’t have a lot of disposable income. If this describes your situation, consider going to the grocery store.

You can buy crackers, cookies, chips, and some sodas. Deliver the items to the family with a sympathy card. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated. 

16. Sub sandwich items

You could buy pre-made sandwiches from your local sandwich shop. Or you could buy the items for the family to make themselves. Purchase meat, cheese, vegetables, and condiments. Don’t forget the bread! 

17. Candy

Perhaps you know that other friends have covered the family’s dietary needs. You may consider purchasing a variety of candy that the family can have as a treat.

The kids in the family will appreciate the diversion that your gift brings as well.

18. Veggie trays and fruit trays

One of the best gifts that you could give to a family in mourning is a vegetable or fruit tray. These would also be appropriate to use as a get-well gift for someone recovering from surgery or an illness.

Few people are allergic to vegetables. Include some hummus and spinach dip for some delicious additions. 

19. Gift cards

While gift cards are not always an inexpensive gift, you have the option to make them what you want. If you and your group of friends are mourning together consider joining forces to create a gift card sympathy basket.

Include gift cards for gas stations, fast food restaurants, and grocery stores. That way the family and mourners can purchase whatever items they need.

20. Paper goods

Chances are that your friends who lost a family member will have a lot of extra guests in their homes. Others may have dropped off food items.

But you may be the only one to bring a basket full of paper plates, napkins, plastic silverware, and even toilet paper. Those items are needed with a house full of guests. 

People Will Appreciate Your Gift No Matter What

Perhaps you have never lost a member of your immediate family. Until you do so, you may not realize how much mourners appreciate even the simplest of kind gestures. When you lose a loved one, you appreciate each sympathy card, kind word, and gift that people give you. 

Even if you don’t have the funds to buy an elaborate or gourmet sympathy basket, know that the family will appreciate any gesture. 

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