1. Gift Certificates
Some people feel that gift cards are too impersonal, but they really do make the perfect gift for someone with cancer. Choose a gift certificate/card to their favorite restaurant, store, or spa. They can use their gift card at time that is convenient for them and their treatment schedule. A close friend of mine saved all the gift cards she received during the holidays for a shopping spree to celebrate the end of treatment. Another friend saved them for her "gloomy days". How uplifting it was for her to have a massage that was already paid for on a day when she felt down.
2. iPad or iPod
If you are in the market to purchase a big ticket item, splurge for an iPad or iPod. These handy, portable gadgets are perfect for long chemo sessions and hospitals stays. Your loved one will never miss an episode of their favorite TV show, the release of a new album, or playing addictive games like Angry Birds on an iPad or iPod. They can even read their favorite newspapers, books, and magazines with the help of the Amazon Kindle app. With an iPod or iPad, your loved one can ditch their "Things to Do" treatment tote bag that they haul to chemo.
There are several apps you can download on these devices. Among them are those designed for people with cancer. Check out 7 iPod Apps for People with Cancer for app reviews and more information.
3. Handmade Quilts
This gift may take a few months in advance to prepare, but making a quilt for your loved one can be one of the most thoughtful gifts you will ever give. Grab a bunch of friends and design and sew a quilt. You can choose a friendship theme or even tranfer photogrpahs on quilting squares. Don't have any sewing skills? No worries. Check out your local craft store for lessons that will take little time and money. If you really don't have the time or skill to handmake a quilt, hire a quilter. Ask your local craft/fabric store if they know of a quilter or put an ad online or in your local newspaper. Check out About.com Quilting for pattern ideas and other quilting essentials.
If you have ever stayed home sick for a few days, you know there is only so much daytime televsion you can tolerate. DVDs of movie and television series are perfect for someone with cancer. They can be watched at home and even in most hospital rooms. Don't limit your self to just movies. Television series DVDs make excellent gifts, too!
5. Magazine Subscriptions
Magazine subscriptions are also excellent gifts for someone with cancer. Choose subscriptions to publications you know your friend likes, but also throw in some unexpected selections. I once received a gift suscription to Archaelogical Digest -- something I probably would have never subscribed to myself, but throroughly enjoyed. It kept my mind off treatment and five years later, I am still a subscriber.
6. Travel Gift Certificates or Vouchers
Did you know you can buy a gift certificate for cruises and airline travel? Travel certificates are excellent gifts for people with cancer because it gives them opportunity to relax, whether it be in-between treatment sessions or after treatment has ended. You don't have to pay the full amount of the travel cost. Airlines and cruise liners sell gift certificates in various denominations.
7. A Laptop Computer
This can be a costly gift, but one that will go to good use. Surgeries and fatigue are part of cancer treatment and can leave cause a person to spend a lot of time in bed. Believe it or not, just sitting up to use a computer requires a lot of energy, so why not give the gift of being able to use one in bed or in a recliner? Plus, laptops are not expensive like they used to be in the past. This gives them the ability to communicate with friends and family efficiently by email and social networking sites. If your loved one is ambitious they can even blog about their cancer treatment.
8. Pajamas, Robes, and Slippers
Did you know that most patients in hospitals can wear their own PJs? Nothing is more unflattering and uncomfortable than a hospital gown, so why not spoil your loved with special PJs, robes, and slippers? Robes and pajamas that open in the front work best for both men and women, so look for things that button up or have elastic waist pants. Slippers and non-skid socks are also a great gift idea as well.
Crosswords, sudoku, and search-a-word puzzles can be therapeutic for people undergoing cancer treatment. They can ease the mind and help pass the time. Check out your local bookstores for entire sections devoted to puzzle books. Considering buying two copies of a book and accompanying your friend to chemo so you can do them together.