Holiday Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients

Archive, COVID Blog, December, Month

The season of giving is upon us. It is the time of year we remind friends and family how much they are loved. Due to the pandemic, this holiday season may be different from what we consider traditional, but you can still give to others from a social distance.

If you have a loved one that is going through cancer treatment, chances are you have not been able to visit with them in person. Cancer patients are some of the most susceptible to the coronavirus. As they continue to go through treatments and surgery, the patient navigators, music and art therapists at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Flint came up with some holiday gift ideas that may bring comfort during this time. Most of these gifts are easy to shop for online and can be delivered to your loved one’s front door.


Give a helping hand – Cancer patients can get tired and may put off certain chores or errands until they feel better. Ask your loved one what they have not been able to do and offer to complete that task. Doing yard work, shoveling snow, taking out the trash, and laundry are all great ways to help. Giving them a helping hand can be tricky during this time. Remember to social distance and wear a mask if you must be around the cancer patient to complete the tasks.


Professional cleaning – When cancer patients go through treatments, they often have side effects, or if they are recovering from surgery, there are some physical activities they may not be able to complete. If they have not been able to do chores or clean their home as detailed as they would like, you can hire a professional cleaning service. Make sure the company is practicing CDC guidelines before hiring them to complete the job.


Do an activity with them – If you are around the cancer patient during this time, an activity might be a great idea to help relieve some stress. You could host a game night, watch movies, do crafts, put together a puzzle – the list is endless. If you are socially distancing from your loved one, there are many online games you both may find interest in playing together.


Art supplies – Doing art and being creative can be a way of expression and reducing stress. Find an art kit, buy supplies for a craft your loved one already enjoys, or maybe introduce them to something new. Adult coloring books can also be a great idea, especially when waiting for appointments.


Art – If you have a creative side, try making something for your loved one. Each stroke, stitch or piece will be crafted with love.


Book – Some cancer patients love to immerse themselves in the life of a fictional character or learn something new from a book. Patients going through chemotherapy often like to open a book to pass the time. If your loved one uses a tablet and loves listening to audio books, an electronic gift card to purchase audio books would make a great present.


Journal – Many cancer patients use journaling to record how their feeling each day or week. Journaling is very helpful when going to doctor visits or treatment. Patients may use journals to help them cope with their diagnosis and record a timeline of their treatment journey. Patients can also write about when they experience certain side effects or how they feel emotionally.


Tablet – As your loved one waits for treatment, or during chemotherapy treatments, they can use multiple apps on a tablet to help them pass the time. A tablet can be used to listen to music, journal, read or listen to a book, do puzzles, play games, create art or video chat with loved ones.


Headphones – For those who enjoy music, audio books and movies, headphones make a great gift. Using headphones during treatment can help block out what is going on around them.


Music – If your loved one listens to music through CDs or records, order them a couple of albums from their favorite artist, or introduce them to a new artist that you know they will love. If your loved one uses their phone to listen to music, send them an electronic gift card to buy new music.


Blanket – There is something about wrapping yourself in a blanket – there is warmth and comfort. This gift is great for treatments, and just lounging at home. Weighted blankets can also help reduce stress, with the feeling of comfort.


Items to help them rest – Many cancer patients feel tired. Anything that helps with getting sleep is always a great gift.

  • Pillows
  • Comfortable pajamas
  • Air purifier
  • White noise machine
  • Blackout curtains
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs

Items to encourage relaxation – Mindfulness is important when going through cancer treatments. Help your loved one put themselves first with items to help them relax.

  • Candles
  • Diffuser and oils
  • Tea
  • Zen garden
  • A massaging showerhead
  • Bubble bath
  • Aromatherapy shower tablets

Water bottle or insulated tumbler – Depending on the treatment, some cancer patients need to drink water more than they may be used to doing. Giving a nice water bottle could help encourage your loved one to stay hydrated. An insulated tumbler would be a great idea if your loved one prefers their water cold.


Warm, comfortable clothing – Many patients are cold while going through cancer treatments. Whether they must leave the house for their treatments or relaxing at home, warm and comfortable clothing can be very helpful. Make sure you understand your loved one’s physical abilities. If they just had surgery, there may be some clothing they cannot comfortably put on or take off. Some ideas are:

  • Warm hat
  • Sweater
  • Socks
  • Lounge wear or pajamas
  • Slippers
  • Earmuffs (for those extremely cold days)

Food delivery – These days, delivery services are in full swing. Take advantage of surprising your loved one with a tasty meal delivered safely to their door.


Regardless of what gift you decide to get, as a cancer patient, it is always great to hear from your loved ones, especially during this time. Take a few moments to give them a call or video chat to see how they are doing.

For more gift ideas, search online for “gift ideas for cancer patients.”

Learn more about cancer services at