When Sh*t Hits the Fan, Give the Gift of Toilet Paper


The Case for Practical Gifting

It's really hard to understand what living with grief is like until you have to live with grief. It's equally hard to know what it's like to get a life-threatening diagnosis, to have a miscarriage, or to be laid off until those events happen to you.  

Because of this, it's easy to feel lost when you want to support someone who is grieving or going through a hard time. Unfortunately, most of the traditional avenues of support are actually not helpful. They end up giving the sender feelings of helpfulness ("Yeah!  I sent a fruit basket!  I feel better!  I helped!"), but the receiver ends up wondering where to put the 5th fruit basket delivered that week (this happened to my husband's family when his mom died and they had a garage full of rotting fruit).  

Cut up fruit platter

Nothing says I'm sorry your husband died like a basket full of...nicely cut kiwi and mango (?)

I definitely don't want to belittle anyone who has reached out to offer support. Thank you for trying to help. That is great and necessary.  Sending something and acknowledging someone's pain is 100 times better than not saying anything at all.  You showed that you care and that you were trying to help.  But, back to the pineapple, here's some insight into traditional crisis gifts and why they don't work:


Are beautiful. I love flowers. A bouquet or two can be nice at a moment of crisis, but inevitably, the receiver will get more than one or two. Flower bouquets also have a limited shelf life and tend to die around the same time that all of the out-of-town visitors for wakes/shiva/services/etc. depart. A pretty strong metaphor for what just happened in real life. 

Fruit baskets

Sending food is almost always a good thing. Especially if it can be frozen and stored for the future. Fruit baskets, while packaged nicely, are not practical. Especially the cut fruit baskets which need to be eaten quickly. It's best to avoid fruit altogether.  

Sympathy Cards 

Cards are wonderful, but it can be daunting to figure out what to say (but it doesn't need to be). For advice on what to write, check out this post. You can even use ChatGPT and we have another post that gives you prompt tips for AI chatbots


Food is an amazing gift. The best types of foods are those that can be packaged and frozen. Bonus points if you send the food prepackaged so that it can easily be popped in the freezer. My father-in-law received soups in single portion sizes that were freezer ready. This was great for him to fall back on in the months after his wife's death.

Go Alternative for Your Sympathy Gift

The team behind Here for You has received all of the gifts above in our own experiences with loss. When my sister died we had plenty of cheese and crackers, but we didn't have hand soap. We found ourselves with a plethora of apples and pears, but we still had to start each day with a trip to the store to get the household essentials we were lacking.

When crisis hits, you get visitors. People don't typically think to BYO-TP (bring your own toilet paper), and a family that is dealing with an unexpected tragedy wouldn't have stocked up on the essentials beforehand.

With lots of visitors, and the details of life slipping to the side, they are going to run out of the things they need. That's why we've chosen the items in the Here for You box to keep them (and their guests) covered in the days when they desperately need help.

What's in the Box?

Here for You boxes are full of essential household items to help a family during a difficult life transition. 

Paper products: Toilet paper, paper towels, tissues.  

Eating: Paper plates and cutlery so they don't need to worry about dishes. Freezer safe bags and a labeling marker allow people to handle the leftovers as the largest amount of food will arrive within the first couple weeks.  

Cleanup:  Trash bags and hand-soap

Personal touches: Handwritten card of your choice and the opportunity to customize the package with a variety of self-care items. 

Presentation & Delivery: We know how important it is to package these items tastefully. It is not customary to give toilet paper, especially not as a sympathy gift! Every Compassion Package is delivered in our beautifully designed signature floral box, with the interior contents wrapped.. 

Time is of the essence and our boxes ship within one business day. 

When we gift, we usually look for luxuries or decadent items that the receiver wouldn't get for themselves. If ever there were a time to give someone what they actually need, a crisis is the best time.  

When sh*t hits the fan - give the gift of toilet paper.  


Here For You offers fully customizable care packages for 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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1 comment

Love your site! Thank you

Shawn Moore

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