People struggle with what to give someone who is grieving or going through a tough time. I have compiled 10 great out of the box “happies” that hopefully will help you the next time you are struggling with what to give someone to let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Out of the blue box- this is a really neat idea. Give someone a “box out of the blue to let you know we’re thinking about you” or “a box out of the blue to let you know we love you”. The idea here is everything in the box has to be blue- could be blue packaged gum, blue jello, blue Gatorade, blue can of Pringle’s, blue bag of Oreo’s or Chips Ahoy cookies, blue Doritos, blue bag of candy (M&M’s, Crunch bar, Airheads, Jolly Ranchers). The food and/or packaging just needs to be blue. A sweet friend did this for my family a few weeks after my dad died and it was a pleasant surprise. It was a big score with my sweet tooth husband and kids! You can be as creative as you want with this or you can just get ideas from Pinterest! (You can also do this with the color yellow by sending a box of Sunshine to cheer someone up.)
- Donation– the more creative the better. When our daughter was stillborn, a sweet friend made a donation to the local library which means a sticker would be placed inside a new book in memory of our daughter. We’ve also received notification of a donation that was made to the local backpack program to feed under-privileged children and also one to a children’s home. Another great idea is a donation to a cause that would mean a lot to the family- St. Jude’s, Diabetes Association, etc. Sometimes this is mentioned in an obituary. If not, you can pick a place to donate and they will usually send a card to notify the family. A word of caution, before making a financial donation, always make sure the place is reputable.
- Note cards- When someone dies, it seems like you never have enough thank you notes or note cards. When my dad died, I had a sweet friend who is very crafty & creative make me some note cards with beautiful flowers and bible verses on the front. This was a great idea and was extremely useful as I wrote my various thank you notes.
- Freezer meals– Someone did this for when when my first son was born. She brought 2 or 3 meals to freeze with the heating instructions so I could pull them out as needed. This was an awesome idea and much appreciated when we really needed it most. The same idea can be used for someone who has lost a loved one, someone sick, or someone recovering from a surgery or hospital stay.
- Gift card either to a restaurant or just a Visa- this is great for someone to show they care when they don’t live close enough to drop by for a visit. After my dad passed away, I received a prepaid Visa card and a note to take my mom out for dinner. This was an awesome idea. The best part is it was received about a month after my dad died when things had calmed out and people were settling into new routines. Sometimes it’s the straggler gifts that can mean the most.
- Candy bouquet- All you need is a container, small piece of foam, some dowel rods or popsicle sticks, hot glue, some tissue paper or something to cover the foam, and viola! It’s a nice surprise especially when it’s unexpected. This is a a great idea for kids too. My kids brought a candy bouquet to me when our last child was born. You can pick up over-sized candy bars and mix in some smaller ones to keep the cost down and have variety in size.
- Hospital basket– when I want to do something for someone in the hospital, sometimes I create a small basket of snacks, magazines, puzzle books, etc. If you have ever stayed with anyone in the hospital, you have a lot time to fill as you sit and if you’re like me, you get extra hungry when you are bored. Snacks and activities to pass the time are a very welcomed gift. You can pick up many of these items at Dollar stores to help stretch your dollars. You can find small reusable plastic containers to hold all of the goodies and include snacks, bottled water, gum, candy, peanut butter & crackers, chips, magazines, puzzle books, etc. You can even include a roll of quarters for vending machines if you want to step it up a notch
- Flowers- I mean the plantable outside kind. Floral arrangements at funerals are truly beautiful; however, you get to enjoy the sprays for a very, very short time and any fresh cut arrangements die right in the middle of your hardest grieving. As an alternative, maybe bring something to plant outside that will re-bloom and serve as a reminder of the loved one lost- hydrangea, roses, peonies, or a special tree- Dogwood or Cherry are my picks. If the death happens in the winter, you could give a gift card to a local nursery for the grieving person to pick out a plant or tree when the weather warms up.
- Devotional Book or Book Relating to the type of loss- They make devotional books for almost all occasions. What better gift than one that reminds someone of scripture? When our daughter was stillborn, a friend gave me a book called I Will Carry You by Angie Smith. This book is about the journey before, during, after losing a baby. I in turn gave the same book to several other people who experienced the loss of a baby. Our kids also received a book titled We Were Gonna Have a Baby, But We Had An Angel Instead byPat Schwiebert and Taylor Bills. This book is a HUGE tear jerker but seemed to be helpful to our kids. I since had to hide the book because I could only bawl my eyes out so many times reading it. These are just a few examples of books to help comfort those who are grieving.
- Your Time– find ways to give your time. Take someone out for lunch or dinner. Invite them to the movies or a local event. Go for a walk or run. Take them for coffee. Take them for a drive so you can talk in private. Let the grieving person talk as much or as little as he/she wants. Remember it’s ok for him/her to cry. To cry is to love and is a natural part of the grieving process. Whether someone wants to or not, getting out of the house can be a tremendous help for someone grieving.
Not all of these ideas are a fit for every person or every situation, but hopefully this gives you some ideas of some creative ways to show someone you care!