The holiday season should be a time of celebration and joy. But the reality is that the holidays can be extra difficult when people are grieving the loss of a loved one. Things feel different during this time of year–so it’s thoughtful to consider a unique approach to gift selection to support someone special who is dealing with loss.


Grief and the Holidays

Grief doesn’t take time off during the holiday season, and it often seems to even flare up or worsen in the face of family and work celebrations. Whether the person is grieving before the holidays start, or they experience a loss during this time of year, it’s hard to carry on the traditions when the “most wonderful time of the year” suddenly looks different than what they were expecting.


Grief at the holidays often sucks the festivity out of the annual events – especially when a person is spending their first holiday without someone they love. Yet even if it isn’t the first holiday after losing a loved one, grief at Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other winter celebrations can still make it difficult to deal with the season.


Seemingly simple things can bring up reminders of a loved one, such as family traditions or photo albums that come out of storage. And those memories, while sweet, may take on painful properties. Holiday grief can make a person feel like they are going through the motions, but on the inside, they are acutely aware that someone is missing, and they may feel isolated or antisocial.


Holiday Gifts for Grieving Loved Ones

Thoughtful holiday gifts can make a difference to honor the loved one or to take the person’s mind off their grief.


The truth is that picking a gift for someone who is grieving might be one of the most difficult gifts you will choose. But it can have a long-lasting impression to show how much you care and want to help this person in their time of need.


If you are having a hard time choosing holiday gifts for someone who is grieving, then consider these holiday gift guides to find the perfect item to wrap up with a big bow on top:

Remembrance Gifts

Remembrance gifts are unique to the person being honored. These items are long-lasting reminders that can be reassuring to have at home or in the yard. The purpose is to provide comfort and happy memories when the family members see the item around the house.


While these remembrance gifts are common at a funeral or memorial, they can also be appropriate for holiday gift giving as well. Here are a few ideas if you are looking for remembrance gifts for this holiday season:


  • Star Register: Honor the memory of a loved one by registering a star in their name. Share this gift with a close family member so they can look up to the sky to remember the person you are honoring with the star registration.
  • Olive Tree: Plant a tree in remembrance of the person you are honoring. Your friend can place a memorial by the tree, carve the name into the trunk as it grows, or simply remember the loved one each time they visit the tree.
  • Digital Photo Frame: Give the gift of memories with a digital photo frame. You can give digital access to multiple family members to add pictures and provide memories. The pictures will spark conversation and the family will enjoy talking about the fun times spent together.
  • Celebration of Life Photo Album: Use a tangible photo album that your friend can place on the coffee table and flip through when they need some cheering up. Fill the album with pictures that you have, and leave extra space for the friend to add other pictures. Reach out to mutual friends and family members who might want to contribute photos to the book.
  • Remembrance Ornament: Spending the holidays while missing a family member can be painful. Find an ornament that will honor the loved one and help people remember the good times. You can choose this one or this one.

Self Care Products

Self care is often something that falls to the back burner when a person is busy caring for a loved one. Prioritizing self care can be an essential step when someone is in the midst of grief.


The goal is to help the person let go of stress. These gifts simply but sweetly remind the person that it’s important to take care of their own needs and think about themselves.


  • Spa gift card: Search for a nearby spa, or use this gift card that will be honored by over 9,000 locations. Give the reminder to take care of themselves during the mourning process, helping the person shift their focus away from the loss.
  • Emotional Bath Soak: Show your loved one that it’s okay to feel sad and sit with their feelings. A bath soak is a perfect gift for someone who recently experienced a loss.
  • Soothing Bath Milk: You can provide a relaxing bath experience for your friend as they are grappling with the loss of a loved one. Give them permission to step outside of daily responsibilities and decompress in the tub.
  • Weighted Blanket: When your friend is overwhelmed with grief, a warm hug from a weighted blanket may just be the relief they need. Sometimes it feels good to be alone while gleaning comfort from a cozy blanket.
  • Calm App Subscription: Look into meditation apps for your loved one. They can learn to let go of what they can’t control and focus on the beautiful things in life.
  • Headspace Subscription: Reduce stress in your friend’s life by gifting them a Headspace subscription. Your friend will learn how to meditate, prioritize, and find clarity.
  • Journals: Writing can be a form of therapy. When you write feelings down on a page, they are released from being bottled up inside. Find a prompt journal or choose this personalized grief journal or this grief journal option.
  • Airbnb Experiences: Choose a local or exotic destination and book a getaway for your friend. Join them or let them relax and escape the responsibilities of the real world. A refreshing mountain escape, tropical beach destination, or city high-rise building may be just what they need.
  • Goldbelly’s Gift Card: You can choose their favorite dish or something you think they might like. For example, the deep-dish pizza, wine and cheese package, and key lime pie offer delicious options. If you prefer, you can also gift them a restaurant gift card to save them from cooking.


Remember that the smallest gifts during a time of grief can have a lasting impact, and a personal note is always a beautiful detail. When you’re shopping for holiday gifts for someone grieving a loss, the price tag isn’t as important as the thoughtful gesture that comes with the gift.


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