A funeral may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of events that encourage gift-giving, but many people do give sympathy gifts to the family of the deceased. These gifts are meant to honor the memory of the deceased loved one and bring comfort to those who are grieving.
Although some religions do not display flowers at their funerals, Catholics do. In fact, flowers are always present at the vigil, according to the Fish Eaters website. Usually, the closest family members of the deceased choose and purchase the flowers for the coffin, but it is appropriate to send other flower arrangements such as crosses and sprays, which are often displayed on easels. Such arrangements are usually sent directly to the funeral home, but it is also appropriate to send smaller sympathy bouquets or plants to the home of the family of the deceased.
Sometimes, the family will ask for donations in lieu of flowers. Even if they don't, a memorial donation is always a nice idea. Find out if the deceased had a favorite charity or cause and donate to the cause in the name of the deceased. Then, send a sympathy card and mention that you made a donation, but do not mention the amount.
Funerals are expensive; especially if they are traditional, three-part Catholic funerals that include a vigil, Requiem mass and wake. If you want to contribute to the funeral expenses as a gift, do so discreetly. Ask a member of the church or the funeral director how you can help, or ask an extended family member. Alternately, you could set up a donation fund at a local bank. This is something that is often done if the deceased left a young widow and children, as a means of support.
Mementos are items that the family can treasure forever as a reminder of their love for the deceased. Often they are small trinkets, such as an engraved necklace or music box. Commemorative rosaries and crucifixes are always appropriate and have great meaning to Catholics, as do pictures and statues of the Virgin Mary and of angels.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images