our everyday life

How to Create a Sympathy Basket

by Robin Raven

Giving a gift basket is a good idea in a time of celebration and a birthday or celebration gift basket is always happily received. When people are in pain or grief, a basket of neat treats can really help lift their spirits. After losing a loved one, just about anyone can receive comfort from a sympathy basket.

Start by getting a great basket with lots of room inside its hub. A neutral color such as black, gray or silver works best as a sympathy basket.

Start with filling the bottom with a couple of bags of candy. Choose his favorite kind of candy, and ask those around him if you don't know it. While this should not be visible upon taking a look at the basket, it serves as a surprise treat when they explore the basket in a time of need. It's comfort food at its best.

Put some books in the basket. Choose one that is a fun read. This should have nothing to do with grief or death. This is what your grieving friend can read when she needs to get her mind off of the situation. Include one or two books that deal with grief and death. A journal for healing is the perfect choice to place towards the front of the book selection.

Place a gift certificate in front of the books from the store of your grieving friend's choice. You know where he likes to shop. Make sure it is in the very front, and be as generous as you can afford to be. Nothing will cheer your friend up like shopping at his very favorite store when he gets down.

Make a small memory book of the lost loved one. This should include any photographs that you may have of the deceased, and especially place the photographs of your friend with the deceased in the front of the book. Write any memories that you may have of the two of them together, and be sure to include anything positive the deceased said about your friend. If that isn't an option, at least include a blank memory book. Include a note about how your friend can work through their feelings with a scrapbook of memories.

Tip

  • Use your imagination when creating a sympathy basket. Anything that is personalized to your friend's taste that will bring a smile to your grieving friend is a fantastic choice. Put in the unexpected.

Warning

  • Don't try to cheer up your friend by adding anything that says "cheer up" to your basket. It is a very stupid choice to think that telling a sad person to be happy will work. Empathy statements work much better.

About the Author

Robin Raven was first published in 1998. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines and online publications, including "The Malibu Times," "Act'ionLine" for Friends of Animals, USA Today Travel Tips and the official Melissa Gilbert website. Raven specializes in travel, health, beauty, culture, vegan nutrition, joyful living, arts and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.