There are many differences for funeral customs in Singapore amongst the various religions and cultures. This can be seen in the manner funeral services are held, right down to the dressing etiquette for funeral visitors and bereaved family members. For example, people typically wear black or somber colours in Christian funerals. But, in a Buddhist funeral ceremony, it is more common to see the grieving family in white.

But there are similarities also, especially in how people express their condolences and sympathies. Aside from giving bereavement money, also known as Pek Kim, to help cover funeral costs, you can also send condolences gifts to show how much you care. Here are some ideas on what you can use as sympathy gifts, beyond just flowers.

1. Photo albums or frame

You can offer a blank photo album to the bereaved family or fill it up with several photos in memory of the deceased. One idea you can try is reaching out to your friends for personal photos they shared with the deceased. Compile them in an album, or pick out a special photo frame that is personalised with the deceased’s name or favourite quote. Alternatively, you can just select a favourite picture you have of the deceased alone to commemorate their memory.

2. Memory jar

A mason jar or any traditional preserve glass jar works best for this idea. They make a great vase for a simple arrangement of small blooms. Once the flowers have wilted away, you can discard them and double the jar as keepsake to store little mementos. Encourage the bereaved family to continue filling this memory jar with anything that carries a significant meaning or memory of the deceased – such as drawings, photos, written notes, and movie tickets. The jar can also be decorated and personalised accordingly for a more special touch.

3. A personalized guestbook

Some friends and family members may be unable to attend the wake due to their personal reasons. It can be tough for mourners when they are unable to attend the wake of the deceased, which can help them in their grieving process and bid their last goodbyes. While people are unable to physically come down to the funeral service and sign on the guest book, work with the bereaved family, relatives and friends to share their condolences messages personally. The person assigned to this task should compile these messages, print and present them in the form of a customised guest book for the grieving family members to keep.

4. Weighted blankets

Weighted blankets are comfortable and snug, and they have been widely raved for allowing you to get a restful sleep at night. This would be a good situation for one, considering how it offers soothing effects to the user. Using one will make an individual feel as if they are being embraced – which is certainly comforting if you are not able to give your loved one a hug in person. When one is grieving, it can be hard for the mourner to fall asleep, especially with feelings of extreme stress and sadness. The pressure of the blanket helps to relieve any restlessness and soothe any anxiety to make one feel more relaxed, especially when trying to get quality sleep.