When our loves ones are struggling, typical holiday gifts may seem irrelevant or even insensitive. How do you choose a meaningful and useful gift that shows how much you care?
Because I love finding the perfect gift and enjoy helping others do the same, I’ve curated a list of thoughtful presents for those who are hurting this season. My sincere hope is that you’ll find something special here for both giver and receiver.
Light therapy lamp
Research shows that light therapy can lift mood, improve focus, and help with sleep. A variety of lamp options allow the user to place it wherever is most convenient for them and even have portability.
If your loved one has a hobby they’ve been neglecting or one they’ve been hoping to start, supply them with all the fun accessories. A gift tailored to their interests may be just the spark of creativity and oomph they need to begin. For example, you might select high quality hiking socks, a set of calligraphy pens, or a terrarium kit.
Stress ball or other calming fidgets
For friends experiencing anxiety, a stress ball or small fidget would be a lovely gesture. In my office I have these stress balls, these fidgets, a pop-it, and a Rubik’s cube.
Experience gift certificates
Depending on your loved one’s current needs, think about what either calms or energizes them. Maybe they would enjoy yoga classes, a meditation retreat, or a massage. Maybe they would be excited to learn a new skill, like languages or cooking. Find a local service for any of these offerings or try an online platform like MasterClass or Rosetta Stone. If they find the great outdoors to be healing, consider a National Park Pass.
Folks struggling with their mental health often lack the energy and organization to plan meals. Consider gifting them a ready-to-eat meal subscription or local take-out for one night. If you live nearby and love to cook or bake, drop off some goodies at their doorstep.
Mobile car wash
Much like food preparation, simple chores can feel overwhelming. Sending a mobile car wash to their driveway could be a great relief and, if surprises are appropriate, an unexpected treat.
The coziest pajamas, sweats, and slippers are always a great idea. I was touched when I was hurting and someone sent my favorite pajamas! Don’t know their sizes? Consider a plush blanket like this, this, or this.
Subscription to a meditation app
If you aren’t sure which one to choose, check out this breakdown of the best. Another interesting option is Mindful.org, which offers an app, digital magazine, and more, depending on the level of subscription.
Guide to mindfulness
Jon Kabat-Zinn is arguably the foremost expert in mindfulness and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The practice of mindfulness is proven to decrease stress, rumination, and emotional reactivity, among other benefits. Consider giving your loved one this book:
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
For some people, intentional gratitude creates a shift in thinking that allows more freedom, joy, and relief. (In fact, we have a lot of research to prove the impact of gratitude!) These two journals are not only lovely but also have useful prompts.
Please note that offering a gratitude journal should be done with care to the person’s present needs. Additionally, refrain from telling your loved one to “look at the bright side,” which is deeply harmful when a person is processing trauma or enduring a mental health crisis.
Was this helpful? Please drop me a message and let me know what you’d choose or what you might add to the list.