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The holidays are a time for celebration and spending time with family, but they can be difficult for those who have suffered a loss. If you know someone who has recently lost a loved one, it’s important to find meaningful ways to reach out and show support. Giving a thoughtful gift can be a comforting gesture.

You should strive to be sensitive to the pain your friend is feeling, but there are many comforting gift options you can find. Here, we offer some ideas to spark your imagination and get you thinking of the perfect way to honor the person who has died and help your grieving friend.

  • You might choose something to honor the loved one who has died.
    • You can give your friend a young tree, which can be planted in honor of the person, and will grow to offer shade as well as comfort.
    • One unique idea is to “purchase” a star in the person’s name. You can register a star in the universe and name it after someone who has died, customizing the star certificate with a personal message or tribute.
  • Self-care tools can be extremely helpful in a time of mourning.
    • Books can be encouraging, comforting, or motivational.
    • A spa certificate might give your friend an excuse to pursue some much-needed
    • A gift basket with tea or snacks is a kind gesture, letting your friend know you’re thinking about his or her comfort.
    • A warm and cozy blanket is always a comforting thing to have around.
  • Sometimes, the best gift you can offer is the gift of your presence.
    • Give your time. Spend time doing something with your friend, whether it’s shopping, taking a walk, having dinner, catching a movie, or just grabbing a cup of coffee. It can be hard for a grieving person to find the motivation to go back to a “normal” life, but the help of a good friend can be very encouraging.
    • Sometimes, all someone wants is a listening ear. Encourage your friend to talk about the person who has died or any other subject that seems appropriate. You might reminisce about your friend’s loved one, or look at photos together. If you feel like you don’t have the right words to offer as comfort, don’t worry. Listening is often more important than talking.
    • Put feet to your feelings. You might feel deep compassion for your friend, and not know how to express it. Put that empathy to practical use, offering to bring a meal, run an errand, or help clean a closet.

Grief can be difficult to overcome, and it varies widely from person to person. For many people, though, a meaningful end of life service is a good way to find closure and begin to heal. Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose helps people plan life-honoring ceremonies as a first step in processing their grief. Call us at (844) 200-2170  for more information.


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