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Choosing your Compassion Package

Posted by Kellyn Shoecraft on

We’re all interconnected, and no one event affects just one person. The degree of impact changes based on a variety of factors - usually the closeness of the relationship and the physical proximity are two big factors. When there is a death, or another life-altering transition, we can use rings to think about who has been affected, and what kind of (and how much) support that they may need.

The center of the circle is ground zero - the person to whom something has happened (could be a death, but also a diagnosis, injury, etc.). The first ring includes the people most directly affected - the people who will need help from their community to make it through their day-to-day. The people in the second ring are also affected, but do not need the same level of support. Of course the people in these rings change depending on each particular situation. Perhaps someone is closer to a step-parent than their biological parent, or maybe they are estranged from a sibling but are very close to a cousin. The rings presented here serve as a general rule of thumb.

We now have three different Compassion Packages — The Camellia, The Sweetbriar, and The Zinnia — and each one offers some level of customization. Here are some tips on which package to choose depending on the situation and the people involved.

Difficult Life Transitions

When life has been upended, our practical Compassion Packages are useful for the people most directly affected. They come in two sizes — The Camellia is our large box and The Sweetbriar is our smaller box. These Compassion Packages are most appropriate for the immediate family of the person who has died (the first ring of impact) or the person (and/or their caretakers) who was injured, diagnosed, or experienced a breakup. These alternative sympathy gifts are for the people who will likely have trouble completing the day-to-day tasks and would benefit from having household essentials on hand. Going to the store in the days and weeks when life is painful is a dreaded and difficult task.

We have used the motto #giftwhattheyneed, and that saying especially rings true for the people in the first ring of impact.

The Camellia (left) is our large Compassion Package. The Sweetbriar (right) is the smaller version. Each offers a selection of practical household essentials for life's most difficult transitions. Both packages are neatly packed and wrapped. The Camellia includes a handwritten card and card stock insert explaining the package’s contents, while The Sweetbriar has a typed note card and a sticker insert.

In the event of a difficult life transition, our recommendation is to send this Compassion Package as soon as possible following the event, ideally within two weeks. This is why we use 1-3 day shipping on all of our boxes

Thinking of You

If you are interested in sending a sympathy gift, but do not think that household goods are necessary, The Zinnia is a great way to show you care. The Zinnia is a self-care Compassion Package. It’s perfect for letting someone know you’re thinking of them - either because work is stressful, they have trouble with the darkness of winter, or they recently received difficult or celebratory news.

The Zinnia, shown here, is a customizable self-care Compassion Package. The Package comes with a personalized card, explanatory insert, and is neatly and securely packaged in our signature floral box.

The Zinnia would also be an ideal sympathy gift for people in the second circle of impact - folks who are suffering, but can still manage their day-to-day tasks.

Belated Sympathy

Perhaps you are unable to send your sympathy gift right away - maybe you didn’t hear the news until weeks or months later. The Zinnia would also be appropriate as a belated sympathy gift. Once the weeks pass, those most intensely affected will likely have figured out how to manage their day-to-day tasks and would no longer find household essentials to be as useful. The Zinnia allows you to support your friend or loved one in an appropriate way, when household goods are no longer necessary.

Celebratory Life Transitions (new baby, new home, etc.)

There are also the joyous and celebratory life transitions — that are also difficult and life-changing. Newborns are small, but they certainly turn your routine upside down. That is why a gift of household essentials would be welcome and put to use. Not having to worry about the day-to-day products that we use yet rarely celebrate is great for new parents (and also having freezer bags to store ready-made meals is a huge bonus!).

The Camellia and The Sweetbriar are also perfect for anyone who has just moved to a new apartment or house. Most of us have had the experience of closing up the moving van, turning to look at your new place and realizing that you have no idea which box the forks are in or where you packed the plates. When we moved to our home in 2013, I remember being really thankful that the previous owners had left behind some toilet paper!

Every Compassion Package comes with a personalized card. We have tips on what to say (and what to avoid). If you are wondering about what's in the box, and why we chose it - check out this earlier post. We demystify the practicality of each item — the importance of freezer bags and labeling markers may not be obvious until you have had the experience of trying to save four casseroles dropped off by well-intentioned friends and neighbors!


Here For You offers a thoughtful selection of Compassion Packages to send to family and friends living through life's toughest transitions. Our practical gifts range from curated household essentials to customizable sets of self-care items, all prepared with a personal touch.


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