On a normal year I would normally not even have started my holiday shopping yet and I would be a complete Scrooge to anyone I came across playing holiday music or who had put their Christmas tree up already. Maybe it’s because I have a November birthday, but usually I think the longer Christmas gets dragged out, the less magical it becomes. But this, my friends, is not a normal year. 2020 has been so unprecedented (#WordOfTheYear) that this year I’m doing everything I can to make it a little bit more magical so I’ve already done the vast majority of my holiday shopping and will probably spend most of the weekend begging my partner to let me put the decorations up (I got away with some fairy lights in the living room last week). With all this in mind I wanted write a little something to help you forget the troubles of the year and get you excited for the holiday season, whether you are searching for a gift for a chronically ill loved one or you are a spoonie looking for ideas for your winter wish list, here’s lots of things I’m loving right now.
Note – If you don’t have a chronic illness or disability and are looking for a gift for someone who does please talk to them first. There may be things you wouldn’t even think of which mean they can’t use something which you think is a lovely gift. Whether it’s due to allergies, intolerance, sensory processing or aspects of their condition which might make things difficult. For example I am intolerant to lots of different foods which most of my loved ones know about but I’m also intolerant to certain fragrances and can’t take baths so something like bath salts which help a lot of people who live with chronic pain would be useless to me. My tip to keep things a surprise is to ask general questions around a type of gift (Do you like bath sets or What’s your favourite makeup brand) or ask about a particular allergen/ irritant (Can you tolerate wool? – you could be thinking of anything from a scarf to a blanket)
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click and make a purchase.)
Spoonie Apparel & Accessories:
This was really the first brand I knew about that made clothes for people with chronic illnesses by people with chronic illnesses. They have an incredible range of super comfortable tops and hoodies with hilarious chronic illness related phrases on them then they also have ones you wouldn’t necessarily know were chronic illness related unless you dug a little deeper, for example my one which says ‘Pretty Sick‘. But the best, most ingenious product they have by far which would make a great gift is their heat pad jeans which are comfy jeans with specially designed pockets for heat pads to ease stomach pain and cramps. You can also get 15% off shopping with them by using code: ChronicallyJenni . Shop with them by clicking here.
Unstigma shop has a HUGE array of spoonie related clothes and accessories from tops & jumpers to jewelry and even Christmas decorations! Plus they have lots of festive and topical pieces which aren’t spoonie related too. I have got their ‘Strong but Tired’ sweatshirt which is 100% the most comfortable things I’ve ever owned! I think their stuff would make a great gift as it has some brilliant humor in a lot of their pieces which would make us spoonies giggle even on a bad day – and did i mention how comfortable it is!! You can use code: JENNI15 for 15% off! Shop here!
Spoonie survival kits is an incredible little fundraising social enterprise and although they are closing at the end of the year they are going out with a bang by donating 100% of the profits to the amazing charity Astriid who help people with long-term health conditions find meaningful work.They still have some sustainable self-care kits and insomnia spoonie survival kits left on their etsy so be sure to grab them before they’re gone.
As well as being an amazing community for chronic illness support spoonie village have a store full of bits a pieces to lift any spoonies mood from badges and stickers to art prints and gift boxes.
If you are reading this and know anything about me you will know how much I love and adore my Neowalks walking stick family. I got my first one back in September 2019 and I currently have 4 in my collection. You might think a mobility aid is a rubbish gift but these are the perfect gift because they are useful AND beautiful! My Partner got me my light up DNA stick for my birthday and it was the best gift I got! If you can imagine a stick Lyndsay will somehow manage to make your stick dreams come true I have ones with bubbles, one that light ups and one with interchangeable sections so I can have different colours everyday. Plus she does a whole range of sparkly accessories for them including wrist straps and colour changing elements for light up sticks (which are definitely on my Christmas list!) Plus she now does polishing kits so if you or your loved one all ready has one of these fabulous sticks you can get them an added extra to keep them scratch free. The sticks are made to order and aren’t height adjustable so you will need to get a measurement so it’s best to ask or to measure a mobility aid they already have. For any fellow bendys (people with EDS or HSD) I highly recommend the question mark handle head to my youtube channel to find out more. There are also some great black friday deals to be had including 20% light up sticks using code fridaylight20 (27.11-4.12). To see more of my Neowalks collection head to my instagram and to see the huge range of neowalks colours and designs head here.
Silver ring splints are another type of beautiful mobility aid that can definitely be a gift. When I worked at a
cinema and took tickets I had lots of compliments from customers on my interesting and stylish rings and they had no idea about the support those rings were giving my finger joints. Zomile is the best in the biz and has detailed measuring guides to help find the perfect ring size. This does mean this gift probably can’t be a surprise but you can get jazzy with them and choose your metal and extra gem stones to add an element of surprise. Another beautiful but also practical gift! Last day to order for Christmas delivery is 10.12
I don’t know a spoonie who doesn’t love a comfort item whether it’s blankets of fluffy socks or cosy pjs. My sister gets me a new set of zebra pjs pretty much every year without fail and I always love them. This year I am 100% in on the matching pj trend and managed to persuade my partner to get use some lovely ones form ASDA. He wouldn’t go as far as getting Christmas ones but I’m sure I’ll be able to change his mind ( fingers crossed). ASDA, Primark, Avon and Next are definitely my go to places when it comes to comfies whether it’s blankets or pjs.
I know lots of people like to give more fun gifts at Christmas but I will never turn away a practical present. These things can be expensive and can add up so I always love getting helpful, useful and practical things to help manage my gifts. Who wouldn’t want a gift that gives them more energy and reduces their pain even if it might be seen as boring. I got a shower stool for my 21st birthday and it was the best present I ever got. Not the plastic and metal that makes the chair but the gift of being able to shower independently.
I have lots of different guides and survival kits which include all the things I find useful to manage my EDS & POTS which you can find below and I’m updating them all the time. Most of the items are helpful for all sorts of pain and fatigue so will also help people with a wide range of conditions.
You might think I’m talking about gift vouchers from shops and although these can make great gifts this kind of voucher will cost you very little but will make a huge difference to a spoonie. As someone with a chronic illness I often feel guilty about asking for help or not being able to do certain things but I often need help. I would love for a friend or family member (maybe not someone I live with) to give me some hand written vouchers as free passes so I don’t have to feel guilty. For example a booklet including things like ‘I’ll come over and do your washing up’ ‘a load of laundry on me’ ‘I will cook us a meal’ would mean so much and is much more useful to me than flowers or chocolates.Obviously covid restrictions may make this difficult at the moment but definitely one to keep in the back of your mind for future reference. Another thing I often struggle with is cooking when my pain and fatigue flares up so a voucher for just eat, deliveroo or uber eats (depending on your area) would be a great gift so I don’t have to feel bad for spending out on a takeaway when I don’t have the energy to cook.
Food can be really tricky for many people with chronic illnesses. Some might have allergies or intolerances and some might not be able to eat at all or only eat very small amounts at a time so something you might think of as a treat might be the absolute opposite. For the most part I’d rather stay away from food as I’ll tell people what I can have and they’ll always try and change it up slightly; they think picking a different flavour from the same brand might be more interesting but often it means I can’t have it at all. To avoid disappointment I’d rather buy my own treats.
If you are looking for a sweet treat for people with allergies and/intolerances I do highly reccomend NOMO chocolate. It’s the best vegan choclate I’ve ever tasted and, believe me, I’ve tried A LOT! It’s free from Gluten, egg, nuts and dairy but has wonderful flavours. Another brand I highly reccommend is Livia’s which has lots of different gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free treats. But if you are getting any food please double check the ingredients don’t just assume because it’s from the free from section that it will be free of everything your loved one is allergic to.
Charities have all had a difficult year this year so if you really can’t think what to get some maybe consider donating to a favourite charity, perhaps one that supports people with your loved ones condition. Many charities also have only shops selling clothing and accessories which help the charity massively, I know POTS UK are even doing christmas decorations so definitely see what charities have to offer.
Aware causes also make awareness jewelery and clothing in every awareness colour possible and donate a percentage of the proceeds to your chosen charity.
Small Business Shoutout:
We all know 2020 has been a very difficult year for small businesses so I wanted to promote a few of my favorites to give you some extra ideas for the spoonies and non-spoonies in your life:
The Princess Emporium – Gift Vouchers for a visit from a princess for your little ones if you are local to Essex in the UK or video messages if you are outside of the area. Find them at http://www.instagram.com/theprincess_emporium
By Chloe Louise Art – Chloe does incredible artwork including houses, travel and pet portraits. I bought an image of my Partner & I’s first holiday to Cromer and it makes me smile everyday! Find her at http://www.instagram.com/by.chloe.louise.art
Imogen Rose Designs – Imogen make beautiful handmade jewelery from seaglass she finds on the beaches in Suffolk. I love my necklace from her it’s so beautiful, simple and elegant. Find her at http://www.instagram.com/imogenrosedesigns
Hummingbird Natural Beauty – Lovely handmade soaps, soy candles and scrunchies made from all natural ingredients in South Africa ( check ingredients before buying for a spoonie) Find them at http://www.instagram.com/humming.bird.naturalbeauty
Andyours- Amy makes the most beautiful handmade scrunchies you’ve ever seen in an incredible array of colours and fabrics but what is most special is that 25% of the proceeds from orders including Zebra scrunchies goes to EDS UK. Find her at http://www.instagram.com/andyours__
The Stagey Couple- If you have a friend who loves musical theatre these are the people for you with everything from badges to posters but be quick as their store closes for Christmas orders on 4/12. Find them at http://www.instagram.com/thestageycouple
I hope you have found that gift guide helpful and that you find the perfect gift for the spoonie in your life ( or the perfect gift for your wishlist). Have a wonderful gift buying season and let me know if there’s anything else I should include in the comments and what your perfect christmas gift would be.
Spoons & Love,