What to send Instead of flowers when someone dies

A lot of families ask people not to send flowers after someone has died. If you'd like to send something, here are some alternative ideas.

By Beth Watson · April 14, 2021

After someone dies, it can be hard to know what to send. Flowers may be traditional, but some people find their short shelf-life upsetting when they’re already thinking about death all the time. Others receive so many flowers they run out of places to put them.

No matter what their reasons, it’s important to choose a gift that suits the person’s needs. If you’re looking for some alternatives to flowers, here are our suggestions. Not everything will be right for everyone. Thinking about what your friend or relative usually enjoys is always the best way to find something meaningful.

10 things to send instead of flowers

A charitable donation can be a thoughtful way to extend your sympathies and pay tribute to a cause that meant a lot to the person who has died. If the person who died was a close supporter of Cruse, you can find out how to donate here.

One reason bereaved people might ask you not to send flowers is that they have already received too many and nowhere to put them. Sending a vase instead is a practical and thoughtful gift to accompany floral arrangements.

Dropping round a casserole or lasagne might be a common way to show you care, but after a bereavement many people experience changes to their appetite. Offering someone a gift card to a food delivery service, like Just Eat or Deliveroo, gives them a wider range of choices on the days they might want to eat something but just don’t feel like cooking.

A carefully selected box of small gifts is a unique and personal way to show the person you care. Try including their favourite snacks, beauty products and a hand-written note.

Much more long-lasting than a bouquet of flowers, a plant is a versatile gift that brightens up the house. Choose something hardy, like a ZZ or Dragon Plant, that requires little watering for the ultimate stress-free gift.

After the death of someone close, the last thing on your mind is keeping the house clean and tidy. Paying for someone to get their house cleaned is a great way to take something off their to-do list.

Do you have any old photos lying around of the person who died? Consider making copies and sending them to the bereaved person. Sharing the memories of happier days can bring some people a lot of comfort.

Much like offering someone a takeaway gift voucher, getting someone a supermarket delivery takes the stress of shopping away. You can also make sure to include lots of their favourite snacks and easy freezer meals to remove the stress of preparing food.

Soon after the death of someone close they might not feel much like reading, but a few months down the line they might appreciate you taking the time to recommend them a book that made you think of them.

If someone really doesn’t want any gifts at all, just sending a message (or regular messages) to let them know you are thinking of them can make all the difference. Some people will appreciate the time taken to write a longer letter, and you can include any memories and stories about the person who died and what they meant to you.

Need advice?

Supporting someone after a death can be hard. If you're looking for advice on how best to care for a bereaved person, we're here.