Thoughtfully Yours: Holiday Gifts for Cancer Patients - NFCR


Thoughtfully Yours: Holiday Gifts for Cancer Patients

gifts under a Christmas treeChestnuts roasting, songs, laughter and festive family meals are the hallmark of nearly every holiday now at hand. It’s worthwhile to consider viewing this time of year as a chance to purposely choose to celebrate the things we have and the love we share—in spite of cancer.

As you celebrate the Holidays, and if you have a loved one battling cancer, it may be with trepidation that you choose a gift to give. To help assuage your anxiety, take a peek at our list of gifts for those in your life who battle cancer and who embody the spirit of this hopeful season of life, love, family, and possibility.


  • Give! – Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a workplace Secret Santa exchange. As luck would have it, I would play Kris Kringle to a co-worker who is a cancer survivor. Her desire was not for trinkets or perfume, chocolate or coffee. Rather, she asked that I contribute the allotted spending limit to her preferred cancer charity in her name! I did just that, and created a beautiful certificate, had it laminated presented it to her with a big bow. So ask if there is a charitable organization which is important to your loved one to which you can give. It may be the most meaningful gift you can offer.
  • Soothe: Dry skin and lips are a side effect of chemotherapy, so unscented lotions and lip balms are a great choice and will avoid triggering any nausea due to chemotherapy altered senses of smell.
  • Nourish: Rather than offering sweets or candy, offer a gift card to their preferred grocery store so that they can choose the things they know will make healthy, tolerable and comforting meals. As a bonus, offer to shop and cook with them to spend quality time if they would like.
  • Entertain: Under normal circumstances, we all like a good cry, however, those undergoing cancer treatment don’t need their heartstrings tugged upon under already strenuous circumstances. If you choose audiobooks, movies or music, choose those light-hearted themes and storylines that lift spirits and provide entertainment and diversion. Laughter is a powerful medicine.
  • Cultivate: In lieu of fresh flowers or plants, since these may contain spores or develop mold as they die, offer paper origami flowers or even a fresh fruit bouquet which is beautiful, healthy and delicious. 
  • Inspire: Instead of choosing a get-well card, which may only serve to remind the patient of their sickness at a time where they’d prefer to be in a festive mind frame, choose instead a beautiful card with a blank inside. Write an inspirational verse, a favorite quote or just a note of love and support from the heart. Take care to keep the tone of the note uplifting. What a lovely way to give your cancer warrior a reminder of support.
  • Color: Many patients enjoy using adult coloring books filled with beautiful scenes into which they can disappear. A book and a good set of colored pencils can provide much needed diversion all while producing beautiful art.

Gift-giving to the cancer community is about personal touches. It’s important to remember patients can benefit from even the simplest opportunity to let their hearts be light during this season of celebration. With a little creativity and a lot of love, anyone can be part of making this special time of year festive, full of laughter and joy for our loved ones battling cancer.