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Christmas: What Kind of Gift Do You Give Someone Who’s Dying?

what gift ideas are appropriate for someone who's dying?

“What gift should I give my loved one this year if they’re currently in home hospice care?” You can’t help but ponder this question as Christmas approaches. You want to get something thoughtful since your loved one may not have much time left. But, at the same time, you’re having a hard time figuring this out.

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What Kind of Christmas Gift Do You Give Someone Who’s Dying?

Coming up with loving and comforting gift ideas for someone who’s dying isn’t easy, but don’t panic. Below, you’ll find five presents your loved one is sure to enjoy.

While reading through the list, though, remember: you care and want to get the right gift. But don’t overthink it. Your parent, grandparent, spouse, child, sibling, relative, elder, or friend will likely welcome your gift choice with delight.

1.  A Family Scrapbook Album

What better way to bring back family memories than by creating a scrapbook album for gifting?

Don’t limit your scrapbook to only photos of yourself, your loved one, and your family members. You can also include:

  • Drawings
  • Engravings
  • Letters
  • Journal Entries
  • Poems
  • Postcards
  • (Family) Quotes and Sayings
  • Souvenirs

You might find it helpful to organize your scrapbook album by transitions and milestones such as weddings and marriages, birth and death announcements and certificates, graduations and awards, work and retirement, events and celebrations.

Gifting your loved one with a scrapbook will provide the opportunity for reflection and affection this Christmas.

Related: 62 Inspiring and Exciting Bucket List Ideas for Cancer Patients

2. An Embroidered Blanket

A blanket is a comforting gift choice for your loved one who may feel cold often.

If you decide on a blanket, then why not also consider one embroidered with meaningful words?

Remember, your kind words and caring actions are beneficial during this time. National Institutes of Health research* shows: “As terminal illness progresses, patients often need family members to help refocus hope despite the inevitability of death.”

An embroidered blanket can play an important role in the refocusing process. It can express encouraging and comforting thoughts for you. And, your loved one is likely to cherish these thoughts throughout the day—every day.

3. A Package of Comforting Sleep Items

Is your loved one dealing with sleep disruptions caused by anxiety, noise, temperature, or light?

You can buy comfortable sleep items.

Following are a few to consider for inclusion in your package:

  • Nightwear. Fitted and soft sleepwear clothing, such as pajamas or gowns, assist with comfort and warmth throughout the night.
  • Eye Mask. A comfortably fitting eye mask blocks light from both eyes, resulting in a better sleep experience.
  • Ear Plugs. If your loved one is at a hospital, a comfortable pair of silicone ear plugs can block out unwanted noise and improve the possibility of a good night’s sleep.
  • Quality Pillow. A pillow plays an important role in whether you wake up exhausted or refreshed. Want to help your loved one achieve the latter? A soft and comfy pillow would prove beneficial.
  • Socks. Research shows it’s harder to sleep with cold feet. Fluffy socks, though, helps warm the feet. Consider getting kooky, fun colors and designs, but be careful to have your loved one use them only for bed because fluffy ones could increase the risk for falls.

Related: Comfort & Quality of Life: What Is Hospice, and Who Needs It?

4. A Sentimental Card and Care Package

Finding the right words to say to someone who’s terminally ill is a challenge, but don’t let this hold you back from communicating with your loved one this holiday season.

Instead, bring or send a greeting card. A greeting card—with an emphatic or thank you sentiment personalized with your thoughts and notes—might give your loved one a much-needed pick-me-up for the day.

Along with your sentimental card, you can also gift your loved one with a care package. Useful items for care packages include:

  • Natural, allergy- and fragrant-free lotions, soaps, creams, washes, and gels
  • Art supplies, journal notebooks, and crossword puzzles
  • Chap sticks
  • Dry shampoos
  • Essential oils and salts
  • Gift cards and/or certificates
  • Lip balms
  • Mints
  • Slippers
  • Washcloths

5. A Human Connection

The most valuable gift you can give to someone who’s dying is your time, presence, and attention.

This gift goes beyond materialism and creates a memorable experience. It provides a face-to-face opportunity to show and express your love. Assist with activities of daily living. Hold hands and hug. Ask questions and listen well. Reminisce on past memories and experiences. Listen to uplifting and soothing music. Engage in a social activity. Sit in silence. All without technological distractions and interruptions.

Spending quality time, though a small act, will provide your loved one with:

  • Personalized connection and companionship
  • Great comfort
  • Emotional support

And guess what? It won’t cost you any money.

Related: How to Say Goodbye When Your Loved One’s Time Is Near

Time to Get a Gift for Your Terminally Ill Loved One

If you’ve been wondering what to buy your terminally ill loved one this Christmas, then you might find this gift idea list helpful.

You want to give your loved one something thoughtful and meaningful. Something comfortable and supportive. And, you can’t go wrong with these gifts: a family scrapbook album, an embroidered blanket, a package of comforting sleep items, a sentimental card and care package, and a human connection.

See one or more of these gifts as fitting for your relative or friend? Now, it’s time to get your gift together and enjoy Christmas with the person you love.

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