Stumped on Holiday Gift Ideas?

With the holidays already in full swing, I wanted to share some ideas about what to get someone who suffers from a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and perhaps what might be best to stay away from.

Let me expand a bit.

Things that might be appreciated:

  1. Comfy clothing like sweat pants, pajamas, nice long sleeve shirts or funny graphic tees. Oftentimes people who suffer from IBD thrive with comfortable clothing because our stomachs get distended, are sore/in pain, just had surgery or live with an ostomy.
  2. Journals or notebooks. Even if your friend never wants to journal about his/her experiences or use it as a diary, there are always plenty of things it can be used for. And maybe, having that notebook might encourage them to start jotting down a feeling or two. If not, they can always use it for something else.
  3. Sentimental Gifts. For example, a photo book or collage of happy times you’ve spent together. An engraved mug or glass that makes the other person remember they are loved every time they look at it or use it.

Things I would probably put on the back burner are:

  1. Food. Unless you know your loved one extremely well, stay away from food. While fruit baskets and baked goods may be delicious and very thoughtful, oftentimes the person you’re getting this for cannot enjoy it which can create feelings of awkwardness and maybe a little anger inside (not at you!)
  2. Any clothes other than comfortable things. Form fitting tights, pants/jeans or dresses might be wonderful and much appreciated, but given an IBDer often has size fluctuations or cannot wear certain things because of surgeries, scars or just comfort in general, it is best to stay away from these types of things.
  3. Tickets to something months in advance. While most of us would love to be able to plan something and know we will be able to attend and can look forward to the event, it also puts pressure and can cause anxiety which of course is very unintended. Most people who suffer from a chronic illness don’t know how tomorrow will be let alone how they’ll be feeling on a Friday night six months from now.

These are just some things that come to mind and I would love if you all would share other ideas/opinions with our community.

To those people who have a loved one who suffers from a form of inflammatory bowel disease, please know that we appreciate everything you’d think to buy for us. Unless it is something hugely insensitive, most of us don’t fault you or anyone for getting the “wrong” gift or something that cannot be enjoyed by us.

For example, a couple months ago, my boyfriend and I got a beautiful fruit bouquet from one of his co workers with a card saying “To two of the strongest people I know. Just want you to know how much you both inspire me and that you’re thought about.”

Now, aside from one thing in that beautiful fruit bouquet, I couldn’t eat anything from it. It was a little hard to tell who even sent it and my first reaction was “it is definitely someone who does not know me well” – and I was right. However, that card was just so so so amazingly thoughtful and unexpected that it made no difference what the gift was. It was truly “the thought that counts” and I always mean that regarding gifts.

Anyway, if you are someone who suffers from IBD and usually gets gifts or things for the holidays that you could definitely do without, always be appreciative and try to find the meaning behind it. No one buys you something thinking or hoping you will hate it or it’ll make you feel badly. I do believe most people are very well intentioned, even though misinformed at times about what it is we to through. Hence, the need for more awareness!

I’d love to hear some more of your “naughty or nice” gift ideas for others with a chronic illness.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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