It’s the holiday season and that means gifts. Almost all of the winter holidays have a gift giving component that is sure to brighten the spirit of any recipient. But when you live with chronic pain the idea of shopping for gifts, wrapping packages, and celebrating the holidays can feel overwhelming. On the other hand, if a friend or someone in your family deals with the effects of chronic pain what makes a good gift idea? Here are a few ideas for both categories.
Great gifts to get
Here are some of our favorite gift ideas for chronic pain patients:
- Heating pad: Heat therapy is an excellent way to treat both chronic pain and acute muscle aches. Safe heat use is important and there are a number of heating pads on the market today that are designed for home use. Electric heating pads, hot water bottles, or microwavable rice bags can all be very soothing for pain.
- Gift card for spa treatment or massage: Massage therapy is also helpful for a variety of chronic pain conditions but treatments can be expensive and feel like an impossible luxury. Treat your friends or family to a spa or massage gift certificate. This could be even better if you share the experience or send them to someone you already know and trust as an excellent therapist.
- Help around the house: Chronic pain often makes it difficult to do many everyday tasks. Cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, and other daily chores can cause pain. Rather than give a tangible, wrapped present, offer to help your loved one around their house. Go grocery shopping for them, help clean the bathrooms and kitchen, or repair a pesky issue in their home.
- Meals: This can be done in a number of ways including spending the evening at their home to make some family favorites. Or, you could get them a certificate to a local restaurant or meal delivery service. Good, healthy food can really lift someone’s spirits and help keep their diet balanced, which certainly helps with chronic pain.
- Tea: Recently, we wrote about the healing properties of all kinds of tea. To celebrate the holidays and give the gifts of health and warmth, consider putting together a tea pack. You could include a mug, some local honey, and your favorite teas or teas you know they love. This can be very personalized. There are also commercially prepared tea packages you can purchase.
- A journal: Experts suggest that people suffering from chronic pain conditions should write about their experience. It helps them process their feelings and can provide more details to doctors regarding their symptoms between office visits. Make the journaling experience special by purchasing a nice journal and personalizing it for your loved one. Add photographs or other cut and paste pictures. Write inspirational quotes throughout the book so they are surprised when they come across one.
- Comfortable pajamas and slippers: Sometimes it is all about small comforts. Chronic pain can cause depression and anxiety, which is difficult to control through conventional means. Even if your loved one is seeking treatment, a small gesture will help them know you care. Put together a comfort kit with soft, warm, winter pajamas and a pair of fuzzy slippers with non-slip soles to help them get around the house easier.
- Donation: Make a donation to the organization most closely aligned with the treatment or research of your loved one’s chronic pain condition. Send them a card to let them know which organization you’ve donated money to and wish them a happy holiday season.
Easy gifts to give
If you’re on the giving end of the holiday season you may be dreading the process. Many chronic conditions make shopping difficult and some, like arthritis, can make it challenging to wrap presents or mail holiday cards.
For simple alternatives consider these easy ideas:
- Flowers: A simple phone call to a local florist or national flower service can have a beautiful holiday arrangement sent to brighten a loved one’s home for the season.
- Gift certificate: Many people consider the gift card to be impersonal but the opposite is absolutely true. This can be an easy way to give a gift without a painful hassle. Your friends and family will understand.
- Donation: This is a great gift to give as well as receive. You can make a donation to a cause that is important to your friend or family members.
- Share a meal: You may not be able to do the cooking but you can take your loved one out for a beautiful holiday meal and share an evening of conversation and celebration.
- Your favorite music: Did you know that you can make a playlist on iTunes and share it as a gift with another iTunes user? You will be limited to music available on the iTunes store but you can find your favorite songs to share in a personalized mix.
There are other ways to make shopping and wrapping easier. You can use Amazon.com to order all your gifts. You can even have them wrapped and sent directly to your recipients. Other tools exist to help like electric sheers to cut wrapping paper without using repetitive motion.
Gift giving should never be hard. Your loved one just wants to know that you care. Whether you’re on the giving or getting side this year make sure you share the true meaning of the holidays and spread love and joy. Remember, it truly is the thought that counts.
What are some of your favorite holiday gift ideas?
Image by /kallu via Flickr