Holiday Gift Guide for Someone Who is Grieving

It can be difficult to know how to comfort someone who is grieving, especially during the holidays. As we discussed in this post, what was once the happiest time of the year becomes a source of pain and longing for the past. Gift giving can seem meaningless when the one thing you want is not possible.

I thought it would be helpful to share some of the gifts that my family and I were so fortunate to receive after we lost Julia. Nothing can take away the pain, but gifts that acknowledge the loss are especially meaningful. If you are struggling with how to comfort a grieving person during this season, this gift guide might give you some ideas.

Personalized jewelry with their loved one’s initials. When we lost Julia I wanted to feel like I was always physically carrying her with me, and was so grateful for the personalized jewelry that I received. I didn’t realize how comforting it would be to put something on every day that reminded me of her. I still make sure that I am wearing a “J” item almost daily. Here are some options that we love:

Alex and Ani Initial Bangle (we all have these bracelets, you can read about that here)
Initial Necklace
Initial Ring with Birthstone

Books about grieving. I had no idea what to do when Julia passed away. I wanted someone to give me a playbook of how to act, and I craved hearing about others’ experiences so that I could have some sort of idea of what to expect. Although there is no playbook and no “correct” way to grieve, the book Through The Eyes of a Lion, written by a pastor after his five-year-old daughter passed away helped me find hope and courage while experiencing the pain of loss. The raw, real nature of his experience, and his vow to set his sights not on earthly circumstances, but on eternal life, continues to be a powerful reference and source of comfort.

Massage or spa Day. It’s easy to forget or not want to do things to take care of yourself when you are grieving. The gift of a massage or spa day is a thoughtful way to remind someone that it’s ok to pamper themselves, and that spending time in a different environment can be a welcome break.

Personalized artwork. If you are able to express yourself through art and have the time to do so, a personalized art piece that represents their loved one is such a special gesture. My family was blown away when we received items like this painting by our family friend Nicole. It hangs in my parents’ living room and is a beautiful reminder of Julia’s vibrant spirit, and our family’s pledge to Keep Dancing.

Donating to a foundation in their loved one’s name. Whether you donate to a foundation that the family has set up in their name, or if you donate to an organization that supports something that the person had been passionate about, this gift of giving is a thoughtful way to keep their loved one alive by bettering the lives of others.

Anything photo related. Photos become SO cherished after losing someone — you simply cannot have enough. Companies like Framebridge and Artifact Uprising offer easy ways to digitally upload photos to be framed or made into a variety of other gifts.

Personalized note. Sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the most simple. I’ve kept all the letters that I received when Julia passed, and find such joy in re-reading them when I’m having a hard day. A handwritten note that acknowledges how hard this holiday season must be and lists any memories that you have or thoughts about their loved one is a sweet way to show empathy, and helps a grieving person know that they are not alone.

If you've received or given something not included here, please let us know below! Wishing you and all of your loved ones peace this holiday season. xoxo

A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.  Ecclesiastes 3:4