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Alternative sympathy gift ideas to funeral flowers

How to show you care in other ways

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 showing support or tribute.

A memory book/album

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

Whether it’s 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 during this time when the bereaved will want to cherish all memories of their loved one.

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

three generations reading a book together

Bench tribute 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 asking for people to donate towards the cost instead of buying flowers is a great solution.

Also, if it’s in an open place, it means it can be a nice memorial for lots of people to enjoy.

Charity donation

Similarly, if your loved one supported a charity, or there’s a charity close to your heart, ask for friends and family to send them a donation instead of flowers.

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

money jar with a green shoot

Food

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.

two generations baking together

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 blogs including 8 tips to make a funeral more personal, how to write a funeral eulogy, and poems for funerals.

Our My Perfect Send-Off planner is designed to make recording your funeral wishes a little easier. It guides you through your options and let’s you save your answers ready for when they’re needed, so your loved ones will know what to do when the time comes.

Whenever you’re ready, we’re here for you

You can get a quote or give us a call on 0800 904 7649 to talk about your plan today. You can also request a call back.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). 

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.