Making a 'get well' gift basket special
Get Well Gift Basket Ideas
by Dollar Stretcher Contributors
When Your Friend Is Sick
Helping a Sick Friend
Get Well Gift Basket Ideas
I'm part of a close knit community. I'd like to do a "get well" gift basket when friends are sick, but I always seem to draw a blank when it comes to filling the gift baskets. Can anyone help me with some get well basket ideas?
Not For Kids Alone
This seems silly, but I've given a coloring book and crayons/colored pencils to some of my adult friends. It is amazing how relaxing it can be and it is also something that can be shared if they get some company with children. Crayons, markers, and colored pencils are all on sale pretty cheap right now. Go to a dollar store for many great coloring book choices.
Remembering Better Times
It will depend on the nature of the sickness and how well you know the person's circumstances.
If older or a child, many enjoy the little cups of applesauce that generally come in a four-pack (separate them from the box). A small box of tissues may be appropriate, and a few chocolate "kisses" are highly favored unless the patient cannot have them. Trail mix in the little packages makes a great snack. Again, it depends on the health issue.
Sometimes, a few new washcloths and toiletries work well. Be sure to avoid anything highly perfumed (in case of allergies), but some nice lotion, shampoo, and body wash are often appreciated.
If a person likes to draw or to write, add a notepad and colored pens or a stationery set.
I have received the above and loved them tremendously. The nicest gift may be an expression from your heart. Include a card where you have written about your memories shared with them and how special those thoughts are to you. That can add to a person's wellness by transporting them mentally to better times.
Fill Basket According to Illness
Flu/cold: Include a packet or can of chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, a box of high end lotion tissues, and a get well card.
Cancer: Include an encouraging or funny book to read during long waits in doctor's offices/hospitals, crossword/word search book, a bottle of hot sauce or special seasoning mix to jazz up food (cancer meds often kill appetite, but check for dietary restrictions first), fancy nail polish, temporary tattoos for a bald head, fun Band-Aids for IV wounds, soft stretchy cap, coupon for a free service (dishes, carpool, etc.), funny card, funny DVDs, and a jar of jokes or Bible verses on slips of paper rolled up.
Hospital stay (depending on how sick/mobile/conscious they are): Include an easy to care for plant (not in ICU or some specialty units), fuzzy colorful socks, books and magazines, a TV guide, a pack of blank notes and a pen for writing thank you notes, a handheld video game, a small needlework kit, crossword/word search puzzles and a mechanical pencil, a can of their favorite pop or juice or a bottle of hot sauce or special seasoning mix to jazz up food (check for dietary restrictions first), a jar of jokes or Bible verses on slips of paper rolled up, photos to attach to a bulletin board, and a get well or thinking of you card.
Don't Forget Puzzle Books
You can pick up various kinds of puzzle books (Sudoku, crossword, etc.) from a dollar store, which is a good way to pass the time. Saltine crackers, chicken soup, citrus juice, 7-Up, and Jell-O (pre-made) are also good to include.
Give Exactly What's Needed
Rather than making a basket, why not give a call and ask specifically what would be helpful and make life easier? Maybe he/she needs some juice, lemon-lime soda, and chicken noodle soup to help her feel better, but doesn't have them in the pantry. Or how about bringing a meal for her family so she doesn't have to cook (just make a double batch of your own family's dinner), picking up some medicine for her at the pharmacy, or just coming over to watch the kids for a couple of hours so she can take a restful nap? You can always add something fun like a magazine or book, some nice tea bags, or a small bottle of scented lotion or lip balm. Surprises are nice, but sometimes it's even nicer to get exactly what you need.
Combat Dryness of Hospital
When I have friends in the hospital, I like to give them lotion and lip balm. It is very dry in the hospital, and these things can increase their comfort. If they have had anesthesia or chemo or anything that might make them nauseous, I make sure it is unscented. These inexpensive items have been a big hit.
Emilie in Indiana
Help Them Quickly Feel Better
There are many items that would work great in a get well gift basket that I am sure your friends will be happy to receive! Include cans of chicken noodle and/or chicken rice soup, saltines, Kleenex, small bottles of ginger ale, flavor-ice, and cough drops. It should have them feeling better in no time!
Keep Their Mind Entertained
I've been the grateful recipient of some get well gift baskets after surgeries. Items I enjoyed receiving included small bottles of lightly scented hand lotion, puzzle books, nail files, lip balms, chocolates or hard candies/mints, lightweight socks, and relatively current issues of celebrity gossip magazines. (I found focusing long enough to read a book wasn't possible shortly after surgery, but the magazines were light enough to give me something to focus on.)
Many of these items can be picked up cheaply at dollar stores or on clearance and kept until needed. Our library offers recent magazines on a give and take table, and I've found some that have made great gifts.
You also might consider lending books or movies/TV series you own on DVD. Convalescence can take a long time and be pretty boring. The mind can be ready for entertainment before the body is ready to get out and about.
Start Universal. Make Personal.
My suggestion is to place items in the "Get Well Gift Baskets" that are universal for anyone, such as crossword puzzles, word search books, Sudoku, ink pens, hard candy/mints, single serving coffee/tea packets, a nice tea/coffee cup, and butter cookies and/or rolled wafers.
Each basket can then be "personalized" for specific people. For example, if the person who is ill is religious, you could include a daily devotion book. For a car enthusiast, you could include an auto magazine. The variations are truly endless, but I would start with the standard items that are universal and then add to it for personalization. Add a nice card and a fresh cut flower or two to the outside of the basket for a special touch.
Juliana U. in Indiana
Give a Get Well Gift Basket That Will Be Remembered
During the months in the hospital after my accident, I received a number of items from well-meaning friends. The best get well gift basket I got was from a neighbor, who included note cards with Forever Stamps already applied and my return address already written on the envelope, so I didn't have as much work to do. She also gave me coupons for free house-cleaning, a home-cooked meal, a day of on-demand shopping, a manicure and pedicure (along with new polish in my favorite color), and a careful assortment of personal care items specifically chosen to help me deal with the results of my disability. It was fun to get balloons and flowers, but this basket did the most to help me get back to living a normal life and was remembered for ages.
Include New Toothbrush in Get Well Gift Basket
People forget that they should change their toothbrush after they are sick, especially if they have had the flu, pneumonia, or anything of that nature. So, a new toothbrush included in the basket is a good idea!
"Food" for Thought
For the "get well" gift basket, I would include some dried soup mixes that contain less fat and are more tolerable. Include Jolly Rancher candies (tolerated even when a person is nauseous), teas, a jar of honey, and maybe a pretty mug. Hope these ideas give you "food" for thought.
What Would You Want in a Get Well Gift Basket?
The easiest way to think about what to put in the basket is to think about what you would want! I suggest soup (homemade or canned), crackers of different varieties to go with the soup, puzzle books, books to read, inspirational books, DVDs and/or CDs, comics, candles, journals, and a card.
Also, I think a schedule of the dates and times friends would be visiting would be nice. The friends could bring meals or just sit with them. It would be great to include a list of names and phone numbers of the friends they could call during their recovery.
Show You Care
Get well gift baskets are a great way to show you care. I keep a supply of baskets (which I usually purchase at garage sales and then spray with a disinfectant) along with colored tissue paper and ribbon. You can find a lot of new items at garage sales and in clearance aisles to have on hand. Pick up things that will make the basket more personal. For example, I have a friend who's into frogs, another who loves all things purple, and another who is an avid baseball fan.
Learn your craft your way at Craftsy.com
For those who are injured, I include a BP-free drinking cup with straw. This is great for one who has a sore neck or the use of only one arm or hand. I also include small, squishy pillows that can make injured limbs or neck more comfortable and a teddy bear. I put bandages on whatever part of the bear that correlates with my friend's injuries. Lightweight throws are always appreciated.
Include a few general items like coffee cups. You can fill them with tea bags, instant hot chocolate packets, instant soup, etc. Also include books, easy-to-hold crossword puzzle books, note pads and pens, hand sanitizer, and hand lotion
If you want, you can add last minute things like a CD or DVD you know your friend will like.
Take the Next Step
- Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
- Visit our "Handy Household Tips" board today!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- 8 things you shouldn't buy in April
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- 6 tips for a fabulously free vacation
- Secrets to living luxuriously for less
- Money-saving secrets of the rich and frugal
- 4 secrets to being a frugal foodie
- Pay attention to lose weight!
- Budget-minded wedding gifts from the heart
- Affordable solutions to dry hair and split ends Readers' Solutions