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Good Christmas Gifts for Friends with Cancer

Looking for good Christmas gifts for a friend fighting cancer? Here's an article with some great shopping tips, including what not to buy...

Gift shopping can be tricky at the best of times ... but what do you do when shopping for someone who is in the fight of their life with cancer? The 10 shopping tips below provide some suggestions of do's and don'ts...

Gifts4Good gratefully acknowledges one of our causes, CanAssist, for sharing an article by American cancer research and treatment centre 'City of Hope' that provided the original source material for this blog.

Your friend by now probably has all the fuzzy slippers and books about healthy eating that she needs.  But how do you know what is the right thing to buy and what isn't suitable as a Christmas gift for someone with cancer?

Luxury Silk Scarf

From: $169.00
The most iconic Florence Broadhurst prints have been reproduced for our premium Boxed Scarf collection. The oriental-inspired CIRCLES AND SQUARES print has been replicated here in an oversize square of 100% silk satin. Hand rolled hems and a signature logo border make for a sophisticated finish. 

What to Buy for a Friend with Cancer

Buying a gift card is the easy way out.  Instead, with a bit of thought based on one of these ideas, you can buy your friend a special and more personal Christmas gift.

Tip#1 - Keep It Light

Cancer is a serious journey and laughs can make a real difference along the way.  So the first suggestion is to think of what has made you smile together in the past, and buy a silly gift or novelty gift to lift your friends spirits.  A Gifts4Good retailer with a great range of fun novelty items is Yellow Octopus.   

Quirky coffee mug

From: $24.99

If you friend is a photography lover, then drinking out of a real camera lens will make them smile.  Stainless steel lined, so the beverage stays hot.  Lid doubles as a coaster ... because, why not?!

Tip#2 - DIY or Ready-Made Coupons

No matter whether your friend is at home or in hospital, and regardless of the prognosis, everyone with cancer values both your help and memories of great times spent with friends. Creating a book a homemade coupons just for him or her can be a great do-it-yourself Christmas gift.  Get some pretty paper or index cards and write up some redeemable coupons - such as an afternoon together watching movies, an offer of your help entertaining the kids for a morning, a pamper session with friends, a coupon to take a yoga class together or help around the home to help your friend save her energy.  

Manicure and Pedicure at Home

From: $119
Pamper yourself with this deluxe package in the comfort of your own home. Your treatment includes an indulgent manicure and pedicure with your choice of nail colour.

Tip#3 - Distractions

Sometimes being ill with a disease like cancer can give you too much time to think.  Particularly if you're stuck in a hospital bed.  So think about whether there is something you know your friend would really enjoy as a way to keep his or her mind busy ... like movie or magazine subscriptions, puzzles and books, art and craft kits, or board games you can play together.  Some Gifts4Good retailers to look at are: iSubscribe, Book Depository or Booktopia, Photobook Worldwide and

Fun for the Whole Family

From: $85.99 
This Deluxe version of Scrabble is an upgrade on the classic board game. With sleek storage, spinnable turntable and tiles that lock, you can revisit a fun favourite in style.
Craft Techniques & Projects Book

From: $41.39
This is the ultimate craft bible. From textile crafts to beadwork and soap making to glass work, "Craft" is the most comprehensive compendium on the market crammed with more than 50 contemporary projects and over 300 techniques for crafters of all abilities.

Tip#4 - Food

Good Christmas gifts for friends with cancer can include food.  Treat them to something special like a gourmet food or basket, but ask first!  With cancer treatment, your friend's tastebuds and needs have probably changed.  It's different for everyone, so you need to check whether he or she is sensitive to particular sweet or sour tastes, or whether your friend doesn't have much of an appetite at all due to feeling nauseous.   

Tip#5 - Something Special

When your focus is on getting through the day or living in the moment, luxury isn't something you go looking for. Therefore, your friend will probably appreciate something special that he or she wouldn't usually buy for themselves- like an upmarket scarf, or home décor item, a piece of jewellery or a beautiful framed photo of you together.  Some boutique jewellery retailers on Gifts4Good that are worth a look include:  Najo, Coco Kitten and Bijoux.

Paradiso Necklace from Ruby Olive

From: $48.00

Made from hand-poured resin, this papaya orange necklace is reminiscent of colourful bird feathers.  Neck drop: 21cm

Ruby Olive offers free gift wrapping on all purchases.

What to avoid when buying Christmas cancer gifts?

Tip#6 - Avoid Perfume

Treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can heighten the sense of smell, so perfumes and scents can be difficult to tolerate.  So even if your friend is usually a perfume lover, better to pass on gifts with heavy fragrances.

Tip#7 - Cosmetics are a no-no

Cosmetics fall into the tricky gift category and are best avoided.  Firstly, there can be some chemical sensitivities.  And secondly, you may unintentionally be sending a message that you think your friend isn't looking her best.  She may be feeling sensitive about her appearance, looking pale or tired and may not perceive make-up or other cosmetics as a positive or supportive gift.

Tip#8 - Stay away from flowers and plants

Buying flowers is a traditional gift for someone who is ill.  But for someone with cancer, it's important to avoid living plants that may carry spores or otherwise trigger an allergy.  There are other options which capture the spirit of a spirit of a bunch of flowers but won't compromise your friend's immune system.  If they are still eating sweets (check as per tip 4 above), then an arrangement of chocolate flowers from Edible Blooms or Tastebuds may be ideal. 

Tip#9 - Cute and Cuddly Dust Traps

Again, soft toys and stuffed animals are gifts we traditionally think of for someone in hospital.  But while they might be snuggly and soft, anything that can trap dust and other substances can be harmful depending on your friend's level of health.  Probably best avoided.

Tip#10 - Awareness Ribbons can be Touchy

If you know your friend well, you'll know whether he or she will appreciate something like this.  While there are some beautiful cancer jewellery items featuring a ribbon, your friend may not view a symbol of awareness a thoughtful gift. To some patients, they don't want to commemorate a cancer diagnosis or have a constant reminder at hand. Our tip is that this kind of gift is best kept for when your friend is ready to celebrate survival. 

Pink Hope Charm Bracelet

From: $99
Give the gift of hope with this pink Napa leather charm bracelet. Featuring a sterling silver butterfly charm detailed with pink enamel, and a filigree clasp, you will love wearing this meaningful piece. 

Proceeds from the sales of this collection will go to the Pink Hope Foundation. Exclusive to Emma & Roe.

We hope you've found these shopping tips for a friend with cancer helpful. 

One last suggestion for making their festive season more enjoyable ... your friend is sure to appreciate the gift of time.  Help them get their own holiday shopping done by taking their Christmas shopping list along with your own.  You'll save them the time and energy and its another way to let your friend know that you care this Christmas. 

Do you have any other gift ideas or tips? Please share them in the comments below:

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