Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients

Show Your Support With These Thoughtful Gifts

A journal is a nice gift for cancer patients.
A journal is a nice gift for cancer patients. Cultura RM/Flynn Larsen/Getty Images

Gift shopping is a challenge for all of us, especially during the holiday season. You want to get your loved one just the right gift; one that says “I’m thinking about you" or "I love you." But if that loved one is a cancer patient, you might want your gift to say something more. Now all you have to do is figure out what to get. If you could use a little inspiration, these holiday gift ideas for cancer patients might help.

1. A Journal

Journaling can be a great stress reliever and is like therapy for the soul. Cancer patients can record their thoughts and feelings during and after treatment. It may also be a place for them to write down things they have a difficult time saying out loud.

For a twist on the traditional journal, how about starting a circle journal? When my close girlfriend moved from Canada to George, she got me a circle journal. She kept the journal for a little while and filled it with pictures, thoughts stories, recipes, and other things that were going on in her life. Then she'd send the journal to me and I'd keep it for a while, filling it with my goings-on. A circle journal can be a great way to stay connected with your friend or loved one during treatment.

2. A Digital Photo Frame

Fill up a digital photo frame with pictures of friends, family, special occasions, or places you've visited together.

Your loved one could even bring the frame along to treatment or during hospitalization. These happy reminders of who their supporters are and what they are fighting for will definitely improve their spirits!

3. Books & Music

Your friend or loved one may find that although they're busy with treatment, there is still a lot of downtime.

Waiting for appointments, sitting during therapies, more waiting for appointments... A great book and good music can be a wonderful way to pass the time. Distraction techniques are also a great way to get their mind off of any side effects they may be experiencing.

4. Hats & Headscarves

Most people who are undergoing treatment will lose their hair as a side effect. Alopecia can really affect a person's self-image. Many patients choose to cover their heads with a hat or scarf to conceal their appearance, but also to stay comfortable. It's chilly without hair! This makes hats and headscarves ideal gifts for cancer patients. Homemade or store bought; cozy or fancy; fuzzy or silky - you can't go wrong.

5. Socks

Comfort is key. Hospitals and treatment centers can be cold, or your loved one might be spending time on the couch or in bed. A nice, warm, fuzzy pair of socks on your feet feels wonderful. Brightly colored or patterned socks are especially fun. The more eye-catching, the better. Every time these socks get your loved one's attention, they'll remember you are thinking about them and sending positive thoughts their way.

6. Prepaid Long Distance Cards

Keeping in touch can be a challenge when you are in the hospital.

Many facilities do not allow cell phones, and billing long distance calls can be confusing. Even once a patient has gone home, a long distance phone call might be an expense they can't manage. A prepaid long distance card tells your loved ones that you'd like to hear how they are and stay connected if you live far away, and that you'd like to be able to keep in touch.

7. Movies

There is nothing like a good comedy to get your mind off of everything, even if just for a few minutes. Chances are your loved one has a bit of time on their hands and could use a low-key activity like watching a movie. If you live close by, you could also be a part of the gift!

8. A Pillow

Have you ever slept on a hospital pillow? They're usually covered with plastic to prevent infection, which is good, but the plastic makes the pillows crunchy and hot. This is the time when cancer patients need to rest the most! A pillow with a soft, cotton case is a simple yet thoughtful gift.

9. A Chemo Day Kit

This is a great gift idea if you have a few people that would like to chip in for a big gift. A chemo day kit is a tote bag filled with goodies to take along on treatment days. Fill it with anything that will make their day a little brighter, including:

  • A water bottle
  • A small throw or pillow
  • A puzzle book or novel
  • Hard candies or lozenges
  • A journal and pen
  • A gift card for the cancer center cafeteria or coffee shop
  • Lip balm

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