Thoughtful Christmas gift ideas for someone who has been suddenly bereaved

Small, thoughtful gifts can go a long way to help someone who is coping with a sudden bereavement. Of course other ideas will suit different people in different circumstances, but we’ve collated a few options below to consider.

Christmas and other major festive occasions can be a struggle for many. But, for someone who has been suddenly bereaved, this time of year can be particularly challenging – and even more so during the pandemic.

It’s a natural response to feel unsure about how you can help, but it’s worth remembering that even small things can be valuable, however insignificant they may seem.

Gifts that provide meaning or significance 

  • Naming a star is a gift that will truly last a lifetime and it’ll be totally unique too — you can give your star any name, whether it’s simply the name of the person that’s died or their pet name, for even more significance. 
  • Creating a photobook is a lovely keepsake that can be kept close at hand or tucked away for those personal moments when they want to remember the times they shared. 
  • Many of us enjoy the annual dressing of a christmas tree and cherished decorations that have memories attached to them, so a personalised item with the name of the person who died like a christmas tree decoration could be a perfect fit.
  • You could also make a donation in their memory to a charity close to their hearts, like Our Christmas Stars fundraising campaign.

Gifts that support coping and facilitates connection with others

  • Nature and getting out and about is a proven stress-relief activity so membership of organisations like the RHS or National Trust are ideal — you could also then make a plan to go together and have something to look forward to.
  • Much has been written about the restorative power of a furry friend – if the person you are supporting doesn’t already have a dog, you might like to consider Borrow My Doggy membership. Have a read of this lovely blog by Julie New, and how “Nigel” helped her daughter through the grief of losing her father suddenly.
  • A beautiful journal can also help with articulating feelings about the personal grieving process. Read this blog from Dr Laura Williams who took up writing again following the sudden death of her husband. 

Gifts that support or encourage self-care

  • Simple tasks like thinking about or preparing a meal can sometimes feel overwhelming when going through the shock of a sudden bereavement, you could make their life easier by purchasing a gift card for a pre-prepared meals service.
  • Our sense of smell can enable us to recall memories of people, places, special times in our lives. This Restore candle with Ylang Ylang will enable grounding and the Bergamot assists in clearing the mind.
  • The ultimate luxury for bookworms, a personalised monthly book subscription could encourage taking a moment to relax and lose themselves in a good read. 

Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person – Anonymous

From all of us at Sudden, we wish you and your family and friends a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

If you, or someone you know, has experienced sudden bereavement, Sudden can help. Call us on 0800 2600 400 or contact us at and we’ll arrange for a dedicated caseworker to call you back. We help from day one, onwards, for the first ten weeks of bereavement, when people are often in extreme need of care and support, suffering from shock and huge change in their lives.

Sudden is reliant on donations. We are a charity-run service. If you’d like to contribute to our crucial work, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, then please donate to Sudden. Sudden is run and hosted by Brake, the road safety charity.