It seems I have been sending a lot of sympathy gifts, more then ever. They haven't been all personal. A few have been sent by companies, when an employee has lost a love one. It sheds a new light when I see corporations do that. The go-to sentiment is to send flowers or a mass card. How special to send a gift basket, talk about employee moral.
Some cultures and religions frown upon flowers during a time of mourning. You can also give a donation to a charity in honor of the deceased. Don't forget to let the survivors know that you did this. Some charities will send a card or letter to the family, but it's okay for you to send one as well.
After a child loses a family member, something soft to snuggle with will be appreciated. Many children find comfort in stuffed animals and soft blankets.
Before sending a gift, find out what the religious customs and preferences are. For example, while it is appropriate to send flowers or food after a Christian passes, the flowers would not be appropriate for someone of the Jewish faith. If you want to give food to someone who is Jewish, make sure it is kosher.
Speaking from experience, when you are involved with all the planning of a funeral, everything is happening at one time. Sending sympathy sentiments a bit later after everything has calmed down is so appreciated. When life gets back to normal, back to work, school and schedules, receiving a heart felt sentiment is extra special. A popular pick has been Living Sympathy Gift Basket .
On a personal note, a dear friends father passed away. I wanted to send live outdoor flowers but add a can of potato stix to them. It meant something personal. A simple thing, yes they would have to run to the grocery store 1/4 mile away, but I was willing to pay extra. 'Sorry, we don't do that'. That is not the kind of company I wanted to be.
I'll always remember when a young local soldier was laid to rest. We had 5 orders from all over the US. None of them knew we were doing 5, they all were different and no products duplicated. One of the senders requested a honey baked ham, turkey breast with all the fixings including paper products. That is when the Feast of Feasts was born. The client was so pleased from the feedback. She said we were angels in disguise. We've actually had companies order this for their employees that are working on a project & working overtime. It has been a nice addition to our services.
Although it is good to do something as soon as possible after the death, it is never too late. When ever you are in the position to send a sentiment of sympathy, take the extra time and make it personal. Speaking from experience, it's so appreciated. And it's so nice to receive something later. In fact, it may provide an extra layer of comfort after other people's sympathy messages have stopped.
~Presently, angel in disguise