18 Simple, Inexpensive Sympathy Gift Ideas for Men


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Showing someone you care goes a long way after the loss of a loved one, friend, or pet. Grief isn’t an easy path to walk and showing up for those you know is an important part of their healing process. Gifts often encourage those who are discouraged and send a message that even if you’re far away, you’re still there for them as much as you can be.

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For a Close Male Friend

For a Spouse or Partner

For a Male Coworker

Last-Minute Gifts

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Sometimes, however, standard sympathy gift ideas don’t work for the men in our lives. If you find that to be the case, consider some of the options written about below. Each idea is budget-friendly and many are customizable. Purchasing a personalized, meaningful gift doesn’t have to cost a million dollars, as you’ll soon see.

Sympathy Gifts Ideas for a Close Male Friend

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced but highly-personalized gift for a close friend, consider some of these ideas.

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

1. Customized memorial keepsake box

Memorial keepsake boxes are often made of wood, closed with a metal clasp, and customized with a special message on the top. These can range from short messages such as, “In loving memory of Grandma Jennie” to more eloquent sayings, quotes, and verses.

If you have a personalized poem or message you think your friend would appreciate, you can add this to the top of the box. Since this is a memory keepsake box, you could place a poem about memories such as, “Everyone who knew Grandma, considered themselves blessed. Now we think back on memories fondly, as she peacefully takes her rest.” 

We recommend this Awerise Personalized Keepsake Box with a lock, key, and personalized message.

2. Memorial tree

Memorial trees are a beautiful representation of life, especially when planted in memorial of those who loved the outdoors and nature. There are many places where you can plant a memorial tree on behalf of a loved one, in addition to options for purchasing a tree to be planted in a deforested part of the world. Either option is incredibly meaningful and special.

If you purchase a memorial tree through a company that plants it for you, it will come with a message and a picture of the seedling tree that was planted. Be sure to place this and a sympathy message in a card for your friend.

We're partial to the Mountain Laurel Tree or a Coast Redwood Tree, but you can also take a look at our picks for the best memorial trees for loved ones for more.

3. Custom handwriting sign 

If you knew the person who passed away and you have written communication from them, this could be an especially meaningful gift for your friend. Have someone create a custom message using the loved one’s handwriting sample on canvas and frame it. These are surprisingly budget-friendly and can be produced in as little as three or four days.

Smaller messages work the best such as, “I love you —Mom,” “I’ll never leave your side. —Your sis,” or “I’ll be waiting for you. Love, Your Wife.” Pick a custom phrase that would make them smile or feel close to the person they lost.

We're partial to this Personalized Handwriting Necklace by Joelle Jewelry Design.

4. Customized memorial tumbler

Tumblers are practical gifts and they get used a lot. If you want to send a gift that will help your friend keep their loved one close every time they drink coffee at work, head to the gym, or enjoy a quiet Saturday afternoon, consider getting them a personalized tumbler, like this personalized tumbler with a splash-proof lid.

Choose a color you know they like, then add a message like, “In loving memory of” and the person’s name. Add dates or a few-word phrase that encapsulated that person’s character, such as, “She lived life to the fullest.” If you’re not local, a gift like this can easily be sent to your friend so you can support someone grieving from far away.

5. Engraved men’s bracelet

Men’s bracelets have many styles to choose from. Some are made from elements such as silver, rope, and black stones. Each bracelet is made to look professional and sharp, so your BFF can wear it to work if they desire. Designs vary and customization is almost always possible, but we're partial to this Kooer Classic Personalized Leather Braided Rope Bracelet.

Most designs come with a basic silver-toned piece that can be customized with a message on one or both sides. The rest of the bracelet is made of twined rope or beads. Consider customizing this gift with the name and dates of the person they lost on the inside, and a short phrase or quote on the other.

Masculine Sympathy Gifts for a Spouse or Partner

It can be hard to figure out how to console someone, especially when that someone is our spouse or partner. Sometimes, a well-timed gift in memory of the person they loved can say more than all the words we try to put together combined.

6. Personalized wood memorial photo

Do you notice your husband constantly looking at the funeral memorial card and admiring the old-timey picture of his mom or dad? Has he remarked, offhand, that he wishes he could have the picture blown up and displayed? Now he can.

You can use the digital file of the picture and have it printed on a wood memorial display. Include custom text underneath the photo such as the name and dates of the person, or a special phrase or quote.

You can even order this on Amazon, like this Custom Personalized 3D Laser Engraved by Hat Shark.

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

7. Remembrance journal

Is your spouse the journaling kind? If so, gift them a personalized remembrance journal, like this custom leather journal. These journals come with a customized message on the front, such as, “In loving memory of Mom” or “Gone but not forgotten.”

You can add dates and a custom message as long as it fits the character allotment provided. Gift them a customized pen along with the journal to create a complete present. If appropriate, write a short message on the inside flap of the journal, sharing a memory of your own.

8. Memorial garden stone or paver

This is perfect if you’re already planning to set up a memorial garden to remember your husband’s loved one. 

Have a memorial stone or paver custom created that includes their name, a quote or phrase, and customized artwork such as flowers his mother loved, butterflies that represent a close cousin, or a fishing rod and reel for his grandpa.

If you're feeling crafty, you can even make one yourself. Just pick up a stepping stone kit and customize it for your loved one.

If you want something smaller and more tangible to help someone keep their loved one close to them, Parting Stone creates beautiful, handheld cremation stones.

9. Photo album

You are likely the one person who knew the person your partner lost as well as they did. If you’re the keeper of the pictures, have access to photo cloud accounts, and can put together a photo album, this can make a wonderful memorable gift for your significant other to keep. Choose from the old-fashioned album where you print off pictures and place them inside pages with decorations, or go the digital route.

Many digital photo albums come with a fixed number of pages but more can be added for a minimal charge. Search for promo codes and you’ll be able to save anywhere from 10-30% off your finished creation. Some sites run semi-yearly sales and mark their photobooks down 50%. 

Alternatively, you can buy them a digital photo frame so they can change up the pictures whenever they want.

10. Photo on canvas

After looking through the photos of your beloved and the person they lost, did you find one that you can’t stop looking at? Is there a picture of the two of them that makes your other half smile and remember the good times they had? Don’t place this one in a photobook. Make it into a custom photo on canvas instead.

Many companies that create digital photo books, like this personalized wall art company, also create these works of art. You can choose to have it framed or not. Either way looks great on a wall. Many sites run deals on a regular basis for large canvas prints and, as a result, the total cost is very budget-friendly.

Sympathy Gift Ideas for a Male Coworker

When someone you know loses someone they loved, its important to show that you care. Consider one of these sympathy gifts to give them in their time of grief.

11. Curated gift basket

Fill a basket with budget-friendly, healthy treats such as fruit, a bag of nuts, crackers, and a brick of cheese for them to enjoy.

Tailor it to include things they like and make sure to make it’s diet-friendly for your vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free coworker.

We recommend this Hickory Farms Beef Summer Sausage & Cheese Medium Gift Box from Amazon.

12. Donation in memory

Even a small donation in memory of someone can mean a lot to a hurting coworker.

Have the notice that you made a donation in memory of their loved one sent to their inbox or house. Include a personal note of sympathy for their loss.

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

13. Book on grieving

If your coworker is the reading kind, consider giving them a book about processing grief. Include a box of tea or a bag of coffee and a mug to complete the gift.

We recommend The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and Bearing The Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore, Ph.D.

14. Memorial plant

Consider purchasing a small desk plant in a ceramic pot. If you’re handy with sharpie markers, letter a phrase on the side such as “Remembering Dad” or “In Memory of Suzie.”

You could also include a special quote or saying on the other side of the pot. Make sure the plant you purchase is low-maintenance. We like ZZ plants, rubber plants, and snake plants.

15. Memorial stone

Memorial stones can be placed in a person’s garden, beside the front door, on a shelf at home, or even on a desk at work.

They are unobtrusive yet beautiful reminders of the one we’ve loved and lost. Most come with pre-etched sayings or poems such as, “Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed, and very dear.” 

You can find a small memorial stone, like this Personalized Engraved Memorial Empty Bench Garden Stone, on Amazon.

Super Last-Minute Sympathy Gift Ideas for Men

If you’ve been caught by surprise or don’t have enough hours in your day to choose a gift, consider one of these meaningful options.

16. Meal delivery

Take the burden of breakfast away for a morning and have it delivered through a meal service.

Your friend will appreciate the thought when cooking is the last thing on his mind. Just be sure to make it friendly to their diet and select vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free options if necessary.

You can gift your friend gifts cards to places like Uber Eats or DoorDash.

17. Memorial oak tree kit

If you didn’t have time to plant a tree or have one planted, consider purchasing a memorial tree kit, instead.

This kit comes with a seedling, soil, nutrients, a guidebook, and everything someone needs to plant a tree in a place to create a living memorial. If someone you know loves to garden or the outdoors, this could be a particularly meaningful gift.

18. Gift cards

If not done right, gift cards can feel cold and impersonal. However, when curated specifically for an individual and send with a message of sympathy, they can become a much-needed lifeline during a significantly difficult period.

Get creative and give them a card for coffee on the way to work, a trip out for ice cream for their kids, and bagels and coffee for his wife. Take care of a small need they may have but don’t have the time to think about.

You can read our eGift card guide for more recommendations and tips.

Show You Care

Showing someone you care doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. Think about the person you’re getting the gift for, what would mean the most to them, and gift accordingly. Even something small can go a long way to a person who is hurting.

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