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A Change in Tradition: Giving a Sympathy Gift

Sep 6, 2008
In the past, it has always been customary to send a bouquet of flowers or a card to express your sympathy or condolences in the event of a loss of a loved one. These gifts have always had a way of expressing the right sentiment in a beautiful way.

Flowers have always been seen as a way to lift one's spirits, a simple way for those affected to see the vitality and beauty of life during times of grief. Well-written cards can express our thoughts and feelings when talking may not adequately do so.

Flower arrangements are frequently used to convey the level of our sorrow and heartache. Greeting cards can be a good way to express the words we aren't able to say during a time of loss. Our traditional beliefs and time-honored customs surely are not the exclusive means to express our grief when someone close to us has recently lost a loved one.

Given the fact that we are well into the new millennium, new and modern is the order of the day. This should surprise no one. Many long-held traditions have, sooner or later, been challenged or questioned as the "only way" in all fields of life and experience, so why not during times of loss.

What are sympathy gifts? Sympathy gifts are a unique way to send a message to loved ones. They can range from simple items such as a bottle of wine or a candle to more elaborate gifts such as gourmet cheese or fruit in an elegant, open-weave basket with wooden handles. Such gifts state similar feelings but in a different way.

When people see one of these nontraditional sympathy gifts, it often raises mixed feelings. Sometimes it does not seem appropriate to give a bottle of wine or basket of cheese at a time of loss. Many people think "there is no reason for celebration, so why give gifts of this type?" What really matters, however, is the sentiment behind the sympathy gift. The true purpose of any sympathy gift is to let the grieving family know that your thoughts and prayers are with them.

Of course, this goes against the customary sympathy gifts of greeting cards or flowers. Despite this break with tradition, unconventional gift ideas are steadily increasing in popularity as more people discover these alternatives. A number of companies are now selling special sympathy packages as gifts. Many retailers specialize even further and only sell sympathy gifts and packages. Some of these specialty retailers even offer consultants to help choose the perfect sympathy gift for the moment.

For instance, some of the winemakers themselves have begun offering specialized packages for wines used as sympathy gifts. Of course, a warm, hand-written note is always a nice touch for a loved one who is grieving, but many of these packages can be sent as-is and the intent as a sympathy gift will be clear.
About the Author
I can ask, did you miss the curve? Maybe you were sleeping during the change from tradition to trendy as far as gifts of sympathy are concerned? Yea you might have been, but its not unusual. It's just keeping with tradition and customary. Get Well gift baskets prove it!
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