What to send instead of flowers

Sending a bunch of flowers is a traditional sympathy gift. But what if your thoughtful gift causes your recipient to feel overloaded? Or exacerbates their grief? Here we look at why sending flowers may not be the best choice, and what to consider sending (or offering!) instead.

Why not flowers?
One word – *overwhelm*.

The news of a death slowly spreads through family and social circles over the first couple of weeks. What starts as a small trickle of flower deliveries can quickly turn into a flooding tide.

This can be overwhelming in a variety of ways:
• needing to regularly change water in lots of vases
• thinning out dead flowers
• having something alive that then dies within short period
• the physical space taken up by flowers around the home
• strong smell
• for the environmentally conscious – the impact of florist bought flowers and associated waste

What to consider sending instead?
We’re not at all suggesting to not send something to your grieving loved one. Acknowledging their grief and the person who has died is instrumental in grieving together as a community.

However, instead of sending flowers you might consider these alternative gifts or acts of service:
• home cooked meal
• chocolates
• hand written note or card
• bag of groceries
• offer your time for something helpful like walking the dog, a load of laundry, or babysitting kids
• attending any necessary appointments as a support person
• voucher for something practical like a home clean or yard maintenance
• voucher for something healing like a massage or sound lounge

We’ve included a home cooked meal in the list of suggestions but be aware that receiving a bunch of meals can also become overwhelming. The recipient may end up with a freezer full of food, juggling returning dishes to the right homes, or have food preferences/intolerances within their home. It might be best to check what is needed or co-ordinate meals with others.

If sending flowers is your thing
Sending flowers is a kind and thoughtful gesture, what a beautiful person you are! If you want to send flowers to someone who has suffered a loss, perhaps consider:
• waiting a couple of weeks or for a special date (like an anniversary or birthday)
• taking a small hand picked bunch (and doing an act of service while you’re there!)
• co-ordinating flowers with others so that the deliveries are spread out over a longer period of time

SWE circle

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