What to Send Instead of Flowers When Someone Dies

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Beth Watson, 14 April 2021

Beth is the Digital Marketing Officer at Cruse Bereavement Care.

What to send instead of flowers

After someone dies, it's hard to know what gift to send. In this article we share our suggestions for alternatives to the traditional flowers.

After the death of Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace asked the public not to leave floral tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh at royal residences to prevent crowds forming around palace gates. 

While this was in response to current social distancing guidelines, it is not uncommon for families to ask people to refrain from sending flowers after a death for both personal and religious reasons. For example, some people prefer not to receive flowers as the flowers dying serves to remind them of their own grief.

Others receive so many flowers they run out of places to put them. No matter what the reasoning, it's important to respect their wishes. If you're looking for some alternatives to flowers, here are our suggestions. Not everything will be right for everyone, and thinking about what your friend or relative usually enjoys and appreciates can help you chose something meaningful.

10 things to send instead of flowers


A charitable donation

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. 

A takeaway

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 care package

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. 

A plant

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.

A cleaning service

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.

Photos of the person who died

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.

A grocery delivery

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.

A book with a written message

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 you're looking for books relating to bereavement, you can find recommended books on grief here.

Just your words

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.

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