You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Alternative sympathy gift ideas to funeral flowers

Last updated 29th March 2023

3 min read

Traditionally, when a loved one dies, friends and family send flowers or flower arrangements as a gift of sympathy.

These flowers can go directly to the bereaved or be sent to the funeral director to be used during the service.

While flowers do make a beautiful tribute, they tend not to last very long which can be a painful reminder for the bereaved when it comes to throwing them away.

Given how expensive funerals can be, it's also possible that the money spent on flowers could go to more helpful causes for the bereaved.

Whether you're the bereaved or looking to show your support, we've put together a list of funeral flower alternatives that might offer a different kind of tribute.

A memory book/album

Putting together a book of memories for the deceased's family can be a beautiful gift alternative to flowers.

It could be a collection of photographs the family may not have seen before, or a few handwritten memories of their loved one. A collage like this can offer a lot of comfort for the bereaved and be cherished for many years to come.

You could ask friends and family to each share one or two photos to bring together memories from lots of different people.

A gift like this is likely to be less expensive than flowers, feel more special and last a lot longer.

Memorial bench or plaque

Something like a memorial bench or plaque can be a wonderful long-lasting tribute to a lost loved one.

These can be quite pricey, so pooling together money to donate towards the cost instead of buying flowers is a great solution.

Also, if it's in a public place, it can be a nice memorial that lots of people can enjoy.

Charity donation

If your loved one supported a charity, or there's a charity close to your heart, friends and family could send them a donation instead of flowers.

It doesn't have to be a lot of money, any amount raised can feel like your loved one is leaving an important and helpful legacy.


In the aftermath of a bereavement, people may struggle to look after themselves properly.

Basic requirements like eating can get easily forgotten in the mourning period. Offering something like a meal that can be frozen and easily reheated is a good way of offering support in this difficult time. It might not get eaten straight away but it will definitely be appreciated at some point.

Similarly, providing a box of food or snacks that can be eaten at the wake is a great option if the bereaved are struggling with the funeral costs.

Self-care gifts

In a time of loss, people often forget to give themselves any kind of self-care.

It may not be something they feel up to doing in the immediate wake of their loss, however giving someone a care package to offer them a bit of self-love can be a welcome gift when they do feel up to using it.

Give the bereaved a box of self-care products or a gift certificate for a massage – anything they can use to give themselves a little much needed attention.

If traditional flower donations don't seem like the right fit for your lost loved one or their family, consider one of the above suggestions as an alternative way to show you care.

For more help with funeral arrangements, explore our other articles including:

If you're starting to think about your own funeral wishes, our My Perfect Send-Off planner is designed to make recording your funeral preferences a little easier. It guides you through your options and lets you save your answers ready for when they're needed, so your loved ones will know what to do when the time comes.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in the page are those of the authors, intended to be informative, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SunLife. See our Terms of Use for more info.