Introduction to the Chronic Illness Gift Guide 2021
Welcome to my Chronic Illness Gift Guide! I hope you find inspiration for great Christmas gifts here. Many gift guides for people with chronic illness and disability focus on specific aids and adaptations. And those are definitely helpful! I’ve tried to make this gift guide a little different. The gifts here are the sorts of things which anyone might like to receive, but I’ve chosen them through the lens of chronic illness and disability. They are selected because they serve a specific purpose or are easy to use if you have a limiting illness. For example, lots of people like plants, but some plants require a lot of care or may be toxic to touch. Moth orchids are non toxic and easy to care for. So, this makes them a good choice for those with disability or low energy.
For items which I received in exchange for review, I have written “(Gifted).” Before agreeing to collaborate with any brand, I check their item was suitable for someone with energy limiting chronic illness. It is difficult to cater for every disability as there is such a large range, even between people with the same condition. Every one is different though and may need more or less support in enjoying these. I’ve split the chronic illness gift guide into 3 areas: gifts of things to make and do, gifts which enhance your environment and food and drink gifts.
Chronic Illness Gift Guide: Things To Make and Do
Crafting is not only fun, it’s also a great way to boost wellness. Craft can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness and even dementia, according to research. It’s also a great form of expression for people who are too distressed or unable to communicate verbally. Making something also gives a sense of satisfaction and achievement. This is especially important if your abilities differ from those of the general population. I love Craftiosity boxes because they’re easy to follow, there’s a wide range of craft types, and the items are great quality. At £24.95 (including free UK postage) they are also very good value!
Each box contains all the materials and tools you need for the project. You may occasionally need household items like a pencil or ruler. There is a large postcard with information about the project. I keep these as they’re great for future inspiration. Also, there is step by step photo instructions and finally, an additional surprise such as postcards. They are well packaged in a reusable box.
Easy to Follow
How easy the craft is to make is critical if you have disability or an energy limiting illness. I particularly like that Craftiosity send a code which unlocks a video tutorial on their site. So you can see the item created from start to finish. You can then make your own and use the photos on the large postcard to prompt you. I tried crafts I’d not tried before and found I could complete the project and was pleased with the result! You can’t get a sense of satisfaction if the craft is too challenging or requires pre-existing expertise.
Wide range of craft types
If you’re new to crafting, a subscription box is a great way to try a different craft each month. You can discover which types of crafts you’ll love. I wish I’d done this when my occupational therapist recommended crafting. Instead, I bought equipment for things it turned out were too challenging. Trying alternatives gets very pricey this way.
Craftiosity have a very wide range. I received the festive brush lettering bauble and orange-scented copper candles kits to try. These were hugely fun to make and so different to each other. Craftiosity has also done: a macramé bag, marbled clay coasters, marquetry clock, topographic cork notice boards, terracotta pot, linocut prints and others. I like that the materials and techniques vary so widely so you get to do a bit of everything.
I am particularly impressed by the quality of items in the Craftiosity boxes. No corners cut or scrimping on materials. They items are all from great quality top named crafting brands. There is a generous amount too, so you have leftovers to use for other projects. I’m going to make some festive gift tags using the brush lettering pens.
Knowledge is power and the more someone knows about their health and wellbeing the better they can manage it. Health and wellbeing books make a great gift for anyone with chronic illness, disability or who is interested in improving their health. There are so many different subjects covered, you’re bound to find something appealing. There are general health books as well as those covering specific conditions. What type of book is best will depend upon the recipient. I review a lot of health and wellbeing books on this site and you can read those reviews here.
I’ve picked 3 really great reads here, with a variety of topics. Cooking for Your Genes gives a fantastic explanation of the science of nutrigenomics and is packed with over 65 recipes to help support biological processes critical to good health. The Insomnia Diaries is part memoir and part advice guide for anyone struggling with sleep. My review for The Way Out is coming next week, this is a really interesting book with a suggested strategy for dealing with chronic pain.
Chronic Illness Gift Guide: Enhance Your Environment
Being housebound can be very tough. One of the things I miss most is experiencing nature. A live plant is a lovely way to bring a bit of nature indoors. If you have an energy limiting chronic illness or disability you might prefer something that’s easy to care and not toxic. Moth orchids (official name: Phalaenopsis) are perfect! They have stunning flowers and don’t have a scent; so no hay fever or irritation for those who are sensitive. I really rate Love Orchids because they’re environmentally friendly, have a quality guarantee and provide great service. All orders over £20 come with free standard delivery.
I really rate Love Orchids because the orchids are grown in the UK. In fact, they’re the UK’s largest grower of Phalaenopsis orchids. This is more environmentally friendly than plants being flown in from the far east. It also means they’re likely to keep their flowers longer as they haven’t been exposed to several different environmental conditions on their long journey. Similarly, Love Orchids do not export their orchids outside of the UK. They have a biomass boiler, which turns waste wood products into heat for the glasshouses.
The orchid starter pack makes a great Christmas gift. It includes two moth orchid plants, I received a tall 2 stemmed white one and a shorter 3 stemmed pink one. The phalaenopsis orchids are grown in 9cm pots and will be between approximately 25 and 45cm tall. You also get two ‘Ashley’ leather pot holders; one brown and one black. These have a very original style and go with a wide range of décor. They’re lined with plastic so you don’t need to worry that watering will damage them. The starter pack also contains a gorgeous luxury yellow glass mister and a litre of potting mix. You get all this for just £33.
All of the orchids sold by Love Orchids are guaranteed for one month. If your orchid is looking a bit poorly you can email in a photo and Love Orchids will supply a replacement. In my experience if you care for your orchid well, it often looks wonderful for well over a month. For the two I received (pictured here), two months later the white is as good as the day it was delivered and the pink has dropped four blooms.
Love Orchids provide an excellent all-round service. My delivery (free when you spend over £20) arrived within a few days with tracking information. The website has great advice on caring for your orchids and in Malcolm’s Corner you can find brilliant video guides. If you’re still stuck you can email in for some helpful advice. You can also join the Orchid Club (free, just submit your email) a major perk of this is getting specially priced surplus stock. At certain times of the year, you can pick up 4 orchids for £20 (5 for £25, 6 for £30 etc). I so love my started set that I’ve order 6 more orchids from the surplus sale to give as Christmas gifts!
Love Orchids Christmas products are now on the website and available to pre-order only! Delivery will start from the 5th December. All delivery is only available with nominated delivery days which costs £4.99 to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy their gifts and that they arrive in time without the possible delays with Royal Mail. The last delivery day is Wednesday 22nd December.
Comedy Slogan Mug: Printster (Gifted)
The gift of laughter is hard to beat! Chronic illness is never easy, so anything which brings a smile will be a welcome gift. I highly rate Printster for their wide range of gifts, many of which can be personalised. If you’ve seen my Book Lovers Gift Guide, you’ll know I really love their coasters. Printster do a fantastic range of masks, wrapping paper, socks, cards and keyrings. There are also personalised magnets, (scroll down this post to see more about these) and mugs.
Printster’s range of mugs is truly impressive!! There are loads of options for personalisation (images, text or a mixture of both). They have standard mugs, extra large mugs and heat changing mugs. There are pre-printed designs too like this train one. With chronic illness you can never be sure that’s light at the end of the tunnel; it might be a complication or new diagnosis. It helps to have a sense of humour when dealing with the ironies of being a spoonie! The mug is a good size, with a capacity of 11oz (330ml). The lettering has a high quality finish and is printed on both sides. The mug is priced at £6.50. There is also the option of a gift box for £1.50 and for the mug to be filled with jelly beans or milk chocolates for £2.99.
It makes me smile every time I see it, you’d be a mug not to get one (sorry – couldn’t resist!).
Some items have free delivery, standard delivery for wrapping paper is £1.99, for other items standard delivery starts at £3.50. Printster deliver globally, so they’re a great choice for gifts for friends and family who live abroad!
A lot of people with chronic illness or disability are housebound either permanently or during symptom flares. An aromatherapy candle or wax melt is a great wellbeing gift for someone stuck at home. Maison Vivi go one better though, their candles are inspired by French living and blended to reflect different regions and experiences. Their luxury scents are both transportive and transformative, evoking the best of travel. They’re a great way to both enhance wellbeing and evoke happy memories of trips abroad. The candles are great quality and free from nasties. There is also a range of melts and accessories.
The first thing you notice about Maison Vivi candles is how beautiful they are. They come gift boxed and the candle itself is in an elegant glass holder. It’s a very neutral style so looks very pretty in any décor. The Maison de Maître candle has a gorgeous scent. It’s a “delicate citrus aroma of sweet orange, paired with white Neroli blossoms, which give off a light ethereal floral fragrance with a gentle whisper of honey, tethered with the exotic creamy aroma of Ylang ylang”. I’m no perfumer but I could definitely detect citrus notes first and then the floral tones. I find it beautifully balanced (not too floral and not too citrussy) and it makes me feel calm, comforted and happy.
The candles contain hand blended essential oils, they’re hand poured and made with a natural coconut blended wax with cotton wicks. They are free from animal testing, mineral oils, parabens and additives. Any potential allergens are listed on the product page so you can be sure they’re right for you. They’re priced at £30 which is good value as they are great quality and give 30-35 hours burning time. Standard delivery is free for orders over £50 and £5 for orders under £50.
Melts and accessories
Maison Vivi have 7 different candles in their range, themed in three categories: grounding, soothing and uplifting. There is also a corresponding range of wax melts (same fragrances as the candles). These are priced at £12 for 2. If you need any accessories, such as wax melters, candle snuffers, wick trimers, or a glass cloche, check out Maison Vivi’s fabulous selection here.
Another gift I absolutely love from Printster is the photo magnets. Perfect for showing off all your best instagram snaps. These are an ideal way to celebrate your favourite moments from the past year and share them with friends. I’ve not seen some of my friends for a couple of years due to being in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category so this is the perfect way to remind them what I look like (!) and what fun times we had pre-covid. Of course it works both ways, so spoonies would also love a gift which reminds them of better times with you and shows you remember them.
The personalised magnets are photos printed onto a magnetic backing and have a great quality finish. They’re a generous 7.5 cm x 7.5 cm. The magnets come in a set of 12 for £10.99, you can get 12 different photos printed or repeats. I’ve gone for 2 sets of 6 images to make up my 12; one set for me to keep, the second will go to those featured in the pictures as a stocking filler.
For more details about Printster, scroll up to the Comedy Slogan Mug featured above.
A Furry Friend: Living Nature
Illness can be incredibly isolating for both children and adults. Managing conditions and treatment can also feel like a full time job. So not everyone has the time, energy or ability to care for a pet. A furry friend can help to stave of isolation and provide a lot of comfort. I’m a huge fan of Living Nature who make very realistic plush animals. They have a very wide range of animals from dinosaurs to wild animals found in the jungle, ocean, woodland and polar regions. From farmyard favourites to traditional pets; all your favourites are covered! Prices start at £10.99.
Giant Golden Retriever
Featured here is the Giant Golden Retriever, which is an absolutely stunning toy. He’s a whopping 60cm long, which means he’s also great to lean against for support when I’m laid up in bed! This finish on this toy is top quality. The production values couldn’t be higher; artists add shading and texture by air-brushing each one by hand. The fur is different lengths (just look at the nose versus the coat) in a faithful reproduction to a real golden retriever, an effect which is achieved by hand trimming. The fur is also multi-tonal, ensuring it looks as lifelike as possible. The giant golden retriever cost £68.99 and comes with a carry case and an owner’s manual.
All toys come with a carry case and an owner’s manual as standard, there is also the opportunity to purchase an additional package with your toy. The Collector package is £16 and includes 20% off future purchases for a year, plus special rewards with Living Nature’s VIP Member’s Club. The Animal Lover package is £20 and comes with a 6-month subscription to National Geographic Kids worth £25.50 and a reusable Living Nature water bottle. The toys are filled with eco-friendly recycled post-consumer PET plastic.
Chronic Illness Gift Guide: Food and Drink
It doesn’t feel like Christmas without a bit of fizz, does it? Many people with chronic illness can’t tolerate alcohol or find it interferes with their medication. With Noughty they don’t have to feel left out. Noughty Rosé is the real deal, it’s not sparkling grape juice; it’s dealcoholised Spanish Tempranillo. So you get the authentic taste but without the after effects. I had this lightly chilled and found it absolutely delicious! Not too sweet, not too dry and with a genuine Champagne like flavour.
Noughty Rosé contains just 5.9g of sugar per 100ml. This means it has almost half the sugar content of other non-alcoholic sparkling drinks. And with just 18 calories per glass, it’s the perfect answer to a hangover free celebration! A bottle costs £9.25 or subscribe and save 10%, available from Noughty or via Amazon (see links below). Noughty also comes in a sparkling Chardonnay variety, for £8.99 so you can choose your preferred grape to suit the occasion! Standard delivery costs £3.95.
Both varieties have hundreds of five star reviews, so it’s not just me who thinks these are excellent! The rosé is beautiful in colour with a scent of freshly picked berries. The balance between sweetness and acidity is in perfect harmony. It’s ideal on it’s own, or try with salted and spicy nibbles as well as complementing Asian food and a wide variety of dishes for those choosing something elegant without alcohol. The chardonnay has an elegant pale colour with a crisp and ripe apple scent accompanied by a touch of sweetness. Great for aperitif and party nibbles, or with any food you’d normally serve alongside champagne.
Noughty is vegan, low sugar and halal. It’s made by Thomson and Scott, a BCorp certified company; meaning production is environmentally conscious and sustainable.
Regular readers will know I’m a huge fan of nono cocoa. Unlike many free from alternatives, these actually taste better than many non free from chocolates. nono cocoa chocolate is made in a special facility, it’s vegan and free from the 14 most common allergens. They’re also healthy as they contain nutritious ingredients not usually found in chocolate. nono cocoa is an ethical cooperative business, providing employment to the most vulnerable in society. If you’d like to know more about the brand and their work, check out my post 4 reasons I love nono cocoa. And for my review of their Diversity bars, click here.
Their multi award winning, limited edition vegan and allergy friendly advent calendar is a fantastic gift. It sells out every year, so I knew to get my name on the waiting list as soon as it opened! They come in a variety of inspired flavours and pretty designs and have been featured in the Independent newspaper’s best advent calendars. This year there is a global theme ‘The World is Our Home’ with each day’s chocolate reflecting the flavours of a particular country. For example: pineapple and toasted coconut from Brazil; baobab and poppy seeds from Ghana; minced pie from the UK and Ireland etc.
If you’re not lucky enough to secure one this year, I recommend one of the amazing selection boxes which come in a variety of flavour profiles (such as dark chocolate or spice). The selection boxes contain 16 or 24 chocolates and a priced £14.50 – £24. The super fun ’emergency’ boxes of 16 chocolates are just £12.50 and make great stocking fillers! Postage starts at £2.90.
Chronic Illness Gift Guide 2021 Wrap Up
Have you found any favourites in this Chronic Illness Gift Guide? Let me know in the comments below if you’ve been inspired by this selection. Or maybe you think there should be something else added which no Chronic Illness Gift Guide should be without? I look forward to reading your thoughts and chatting below.
If you’ve enjoyed this gift guide, you might like to check out my Book Lovers Gift Guide.