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10 Gift Ideas for Chronic Illness Warriors

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I’m always asked every year, “What do you want for Christmas?” and every year I respond with a shoulder shrug and an “I have no clue.” I have a lot of things in my life I’m grateful for and I feel like I have everything I need. But this season is a time of giving, and I think this list may come in handy for those trying to come up with gift ideas for family or friends with chronic illness or pain.

1. Heated Blanket

I love, love, love my heated blanket! It helps me so much when it comes to muscle spasms and pain. I would highly recommend investing in one if you haven’t yet, or gifting one is even better!

2. Backpack or Tote Bag

A sturdy backpack or tote can be a lifesaver for traveling to and from doctors’ offices and even in everyday life for a spoonie. We tend to have to carry more medical supplies, medications, food logs, snacks, drinks and paperwork than most people do and it’s nice to have a dependable bag we can trust to keep everything in one place and is easy to grab on the way out of the door.

3. Warm Clothing

People with chronic illness and chronic pain often have a difficult time regulating body temperatures and the variance in temps can leave us in debilitating pain and discomfort.

4. Travel-Sized Toiletries Kit

I hadn’t thought about this until the last time I went to the hospital. I had gone to urgent care and they sent me to the ER to be treated. No one would tell me if I was going to be admitted so my mom had grabbed a few things before we left just in case we were going to have to stay overnight. It would have been extremely handy to have a small toiletries bag with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soaps or things like that to be able to throw into my backpack on the way out of the house that morning. It would’ve saved us the stress and headache of scrambling just to try to grab the necessary items when we really needed to be at the hospital.

5. Journal

If the person you love and are gifting to likes writing, drawing, making lists, logging food/symptoms or just needs an emotional outlet, you may want to think about getting them a journal or a sketchbook. Personally I use both sketchbooks and journals, but both for emotional release. I enjoy writing about my journey and about my frustrations, and I also enjoy bringing my life and feelings into visuals in my sketchbook.

6. Water Bottle

It is soooo important for everyone to stay hydrated, and there are a lot of us who take medication with the side effect of dehydration. I have found that having multiple refillable water bottles around my house, in the car, in my backpack are beneficial in reminding me to drink water and stay hydrated! Also it is nice to be able to drink from your own bottle or cup when you are out in public. Avoiding water fountains and drinks stands is very helpful in avoiding colds, allergies, etc.

7. Gift Cards

These are a great gift idea for those who can’t get out to shop easily, or who like to go out to eat instead of cooking and people who have music and Netflix subscriptions. You really can’t go wrong with a gift card. iTunes is good for downloading calming music, paying Netflix subscriptions and buying movies. Amazon is good for online shopping for those who don’t have the energy or ability to go to their favorite stores. Gift cards to restaurants can be great for those who like to eat out, and especially for those traveling for different treatments it is nice to have gift cards to the restaurants around the treatment facilities or hospitals.

8. Essential Oils

Light scented oils such as lavender and lemon are great for relaxation. Peppermint is wonderful for digestion, nausea and migraines. Peace and calming is nice for insomnia. Every essential oil you come across has its own individual healing elements and can be a very effective natural treatment option.

9. Quality Time With Friends and Family

I don’t really feel like I need to elaborate on this one much, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

10. Spoonie Care Packages

I’ve have never gotten a spoonie care package before, but have seen them all across social media and they seem like a great idea for a gift. If you haven’t heard of them either, I suggest you look them up! They’re very cool. A lot of times they contain items like stickers, socks, lotions, funny notes or cards, inspirational quotes, pens, journals and other fun items!

Avoid things like:

Candles, Scented Lotions or Bath Products: can cause asthma attacks, migraines, allergic reactions, skin reactions and a variety of other problems.

Aloe-Infused Products: I also have some friends who are allergic to aloe-infused products such as some types of fuzzy socks and gloves, and certain brands of lotions.

Food: Unless you can ask them to ensure you aren’t giving them something they are allergic to!

Hopefully this list will help someone out there on the internet find their loved ones a gift, and maybe some spoonies will even add these ideas to their own holiday wish list!

Happy Holidays!

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Photo via Cultura/Seb Oliver on Getty Images

Originally published: December 4, 2017
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