5 Gift Ideas for Your Friends With Chronic Illness

With the holidays right around the corner, you may be wondering what gifts to get for your friends with chronic illness.  We’ve put together our annual gift guide to help you out!

1. clutter-free 

In this second year of spending too much time at home, many people have realized just how cluttered their spaces are!  Receiving a pile of gifts brings connection and warmth to these cold winter months, but can also bring a sense of overwhelm for the givers and clutter for receivers.  If this resonates with you and your loved ones, consider a used gift swap!  Each of you go through your belongings and determine what is no longer bringing you joy.  Trash what isn’t useful anymore, and then bring what’s left to the swap!  Each of you gets to keep whatever you want from the discarded items, and then donate the rest.  You may be surprised at the number of things you have that are still in good enough condition to bring someone else joy, even though you have lost interest.  Through this process, all of you are decluttering and therefore bringing yourselves more peace of mind, gifting items, and donating to others.  What a beautiful way to celebrate what the holidays represent!

If you have trouble letting go of things, you could check out Marie Kondos practice of acknowledging the meaning your things have had before releasing them.

2. disability pride

Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in July of 1990, the disability community has celebrated its value, diversity, and activism in the month of July.  This July, Disability Pride Month received a lot of attention.  Thousands of people got outside for events or celebrated virtually, posting on social media about their experience with disability.  This uptick in participation and visibility was largely due to the impact COVID-19 has had on people with disabilities.  If you know someone who celebrated Disability Pride Month, consider getting them a gift that shows you understand that disability and chronic illness do not need to be sources of shame.  You could get stickers, pins, and patches to spruce up a mobility device.  Adaptive clothing, or clothes and accessories with empowering slogans written about disability or chronic illness can be another meaningful choice.  Try to think as well about your loved one’s specific needs, and find a gift that would make their experience easier.  For example, heating pads and massage oil for someone with chronic pain, or compression socks for someone with POTS, swelling, or long COVID.  Nothing makes us feel quite so seen and cared for as a gift showing you understand our specific body’s needs!

Learn more about Disability Pride Month here.

3. immunocompromised friends

Your friends with compromised immune systems may be having a tough season.  Determining how to celebrate the holidays without putting health and safety at risk is stressful for anyone, but when you are especially vulnerable and don’t feel safe participating the way everyone around you is celebrating, it is extra isolating.  Perhaps the best gift you could give in this case would be a beautiful day of connection in a way that feels safe for them.  You could also buy them a beautiful (and comfortable!) mask, air purifier, nice-smelling hand sanitizer, or other items to help make safety more enjoyable.

Check out the Mighty Well Mask here.

4. cozy comforts

Winter is the time to get cozy, no matter who you are.  For those of us with sick or pained bodies, however, comfort becomes even more important.  Gifts like cozy clothes, socks, blankets, or heating pads are wonderful options for this.

Check out more cozy chronic illness gift ideas here.

5. bring the fun

As we head into the cold and dark, the gift of fun becomes more and more meaningful.  Think about activities that put a smile on their face.  Do they love crafting? Board games? Romantic dinners with their partner?  You could get a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or store.  Or, even better, buy the materials or ingredients needed for a fun activity and put them in a festive basket or gift box!  Think about what barriers they may face when going out, and see if you can help.  This could be something simple like a card offering a free night of babysitting.  Or if they have difficulty getting out because of being tied to medical gear, feeding tubes, or infusions, you could get a Mighty Pack to give them the freedom to get out with confidence.  Whatever route you choose, giving the gift of fun will create memories that they will cherish!

Do you or a loved one have chronic illness?  What gifts are you looking for this season?  Join the conversation in our Friends in the Fight facebook group!

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