When it comes to expressing your sympathy to someone who has recently lost a loved one, you want to be sincere and, most importantly, let the individual know you care. The expression of condolences becomes tricky in a country famous for its cultural and religious diversity. Don’t let yourself become flustered when all it takes is a little familiarity with funeral etiquette to overcome such unneeded stress. To help you out, FSN Funeral Homes has composed this guide to maneuvering funeral gift etiquette, giving you one less thing to worry about.
Your Relationship with the Deceased
Your relationship with the deceased is a crucial aspect to consider when determining what to send to a funeral. If you were not close to the deceased, it is appropriate to send the gift directly to the friend or family member you are closest to. If you were close to the deceased but not to the family, include a card with whatever you send explaining your relationship to the deceased and explaining how important they were to you. Whether or not they recognize you, they will appreciate knowing that someone else cared for their loved one.
When do You Send Your Condolences?
Depending on the placement and type of funeral service, it may be difficult to determine when to send a gift. Typically, flower arrangements should be sent prior to the visitation for a traditional funeral service, but funeral directors should accept them for some time later than that. Contact the funeral director to find out when would be the best time to send funeral flowers. If you find out about the services late, it is appropriate to send flowers to the grave or family’s home. If you wish to send something upon receiving the news, flowers are a good option, but a note or phone call may be more appropriate until closer to the funeral services. After some time passes, many will have moved on in their mourning, but those closest to the deceased may still be grieving. Sending a sunny bouquet of flowers after the funeral will let them know they are not forgotten in their grief.
Everyone is unique so the gift for a deceased’s mother will not be the same for a child affected by the death. Keep this in mind when deciding what to send. A young child will not understand the thought behind traditional flowers, but if you add a stuffed animal to cheer them up or a keepsake which they can appreciate later, the gift will be more appropriate. You can also tailor any flower arrangements you send to fit the personality of the recipient. Work with your local florist to make sure he or she incorporates the recipient’s favorite flowers or colors and that the size of the arrangement is appropriate for its destination. Also, depending on the recipient’s intimacy with the deceased, a more personal gift may be more appropriate. For instance, a locket with the deceased’s picture or a simple memorial frame may be the perfect keepsake to console the individual.
The deceased should also be considered when deciding what to send to a funeral. If the deceased would have preferred donations made to his or her favorite charity, then by all means follow their wishes. At the same time, remember the deceased would also appreciate that their loved ones be comforted at this time, so flowers or a memorial gift would be a great way to extend this sentiment in the deceased’s honor.