Caravan Sonnet: 14 More Christmas Present Ideas for your Chronically Ill Friend

12/9/14

14 More Christmas Present Ideas for your Chronically Ill Friend

A couple of weeks ago I shared a post about 15 Ways to help a friend with a chronic illness during Thanksgiving. This post was in response to the OVERWHELMING support from last years   17 ways you can help a chronically ill friend with chronic illness during the holidays post and the 30 Christmas Present Ideas for your Chronically Ill friend post

Today I wanted to share with you 14 more Christmas Present Ideas for your Chronically Ill friend! Again, I am not an expert at all, but the things that I have listed below are things that friends have mentioned to me that have been wonderful or I have personally experienced that have truly touched my heart and my life. Be creative and trust me your kindness will touch the heart of your ill friend forever.

1. Offer monetary help if possible. (I know, I know... I mention this in every single post related to gift ideas for friends and family but it is because it is SO important.) Even with insurance those with Chronic Illness spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to get healthy every single month. Many people with Chronic Illness, like myself, have already gone through all available resources. These types of gifts do not have to be large. Someone recently gave me a five dollar gift card to Target that helped purchase necessities. Such a blessing! Gift cards to Target are priceless! This can help purchase medications, groceries, clothes, and the list goes on! Truly money and gift cards are wonderful if that is an option for you to give!

2. Purchase Pet Items. Does your friend have a pet? Consider purchasing a gift card to their vet, paying for a pet "check up" (or grooming), or giving them a gift basket of necessary food and litter, treats, or toys. 

3. Purchase (or create) holiday cards to send out (and give them a book of stamps). I used to love sending Christmas Cards out (and still do) but the reality is that it is very expensive to purchase cards and stamps. Last year I only sent a few cards out due to the cost. I would have loved to send more and many people with Chronic Illness really want to, but with the cost of shipping it is impossible. Consider blessing your friend in this way. (Concerned that the extra stamps will go to waste? Don't be. Almost all medical bills still have to be sent out the old fashioned way - your friend will use those stamps one way or another!)

4. Help your friend address Christmas Card Envelopes. Sometimes the energy to address the cards can be an issue. Offer to address the cards (and mail them!) for your friend!

5. Give the gift of not asking, "have you tried..." at the family/friends get together. When you offer unsolicited advice, it can come across as a lecture- even if that is not your intent. Someone once said: "Assume that we have heard all of the tips on living healthier and leave it at that." I couldn't have said it any better. 

6. Give a gift card for "unmentionables". If your friend hasn't had the money (or the energy) to buy new clothes in a while consider giving them a gift card to purchase the necessities that they probably need.

7. Support your friends current "money making endeavor". Those with Chronic Illnesses often have had to leave a job that they loved and have tried to find a way to make money in a new capacity. Support their endeavor. Do they have an etsy shop? Purchase gifts from that shop and spread the news about their shop via social media. Do they make things and sell them on the side? Help spread the word! One friend that I have who has Epilepsy had to quit her job teaching but is the most AMAZING baker and creates gorgeous and delicious pies. Another friend of ours went around to local churches who were holding Thanksgiving dinners this year and set up a business deal for her where the churches purchased the pies and she was able to gain enough income for a couple of months. This was an amazing idea our friend had but my friend with Epilepsy didn't have the energy to even think about it! This was an incredible blessing and guess what? She has "expanded" outside of our city and next year has double the orders from other churches and businesses!! Think outside the box for your friend, support their work - whether it is through purchasing something yourself or just simply spreading the word!

8. Pay for a Doctors Visit. Lots of Chronic Illnesses have specialized doctors and not all are covered by insurance! For example, my Lyme Doctor consultation every six weeks is approximately $200 (sometimes $350) with NO insurance money covering it. That means that I will pay approximately $1800 for my doctors visits alone. This is a HUGE but necessary expense and I am not alone in this. Consider paying for one of your friends doctors visits. This will be an incredible blessing!

9. Pay for the Co-pays. Is your friends doctor covered by insurance? Their co-pays aren't! Most people pay an average of $15-$50 for their co-pays. This might not seem like a big deal unless you regularly see your doctor. Statistically a chronically ill person sees their doctor 15 times a year. That means that they will spend an average of $225- $750 for Co-pays. Consider covering their co-pays for a year. What a blessing that would be!

10. Give a gift card to their "alternative" treatments. Most people with Chronic Illness use alternative treatments and these can be an expensive but necessary "addition" to their cost. Consider giving a gift card to their reflexologist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, etc.  (Side note- this is not the time to give them a gift card to some place that you feel they should go - simply a time to come along side of them. (Unfortunately that is a true story...)*smiles*)

11. Give them the gift of becoming an advocate of their disease. I suggested last year to ask your loved one what books that they would recommend on their disease and to read about it. Do this. Become an advocate on what ails them. Isn't it wonderful that there are so many walks and "government supported" funding for certain illnesses? That came about in part because of friends and family rallied to bring awareness. What about your loved ones disease? Do you know how to spell it? Do you know what is happening in Congress or at the state level in regards to it? Become an advocate for your loved one and for the thousands of others that might not have loved ones who care. 

12. Give them the gift of a day at a salon. You know how you spend a lot of money on having your hair cut, nails done, etc. for the holiday season? Your loved one who is suffering from illness would love that to but would never dream of spending the money on something like that anymore. I can speak from personal experience that the changes that occur with an illness in regards to personal appearance can be difficult. Different medications can cause weight changes, hair loss, skin break outs, and generally make you feel like you look "awful". I personally would love to have a hair cut, eye brows waxed, nails done, etc. but there is NO money for this type of thing. (To be completely personal I haven't had my hair cut in over a year and in the last three years have had it cut twice.) You get the point friends. If this is something you can give to a friend- it would be an incredibly blessing. 

13. Create a relaxing atmosphere. Do you have a loved one coming to visit for the holidays? Consider setting them up somewhere that they can retreat to rest and relax when they are feeling sick. This will give them an incredible blessing amidst the "hustle and bustle".  

14. Remember the caregiver(s). I have often said this but me being ill is often harder on my parents then myself. To see people that are constantly hurting and suffering and not be able to do anything about it is excruciating. Reach out to the caregivers and you will touch the heart of the person who is ill too. 

As I have said before, realize that your friend or family member with chronic illness is the best gift this season. Their illness is forcing them to set limitations but the gift to you is remembering what is truly important in the holiday season. Celebrate PEOPLE. Not things or activities. At the end of the day people are the most important thing not whether or not you were able to buy every single gift in the world. 

What are some of your Christmas gift ideas for those in your life who are ill? Please share with us in the comments below!

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