| Dialysis | Kidney disease | Transplant

5 Thoughtful Holiday Gifts for People with Kidney Disease

December 12, 2022, 10:42am EST

Family in pajamas holding hands

The holidays are just around the corner, so it's time to dust off your decorations and pick out presents. If you struggle to find the right gift for the right person, specifically if they have a chronic illness like kidney disease, don't worry! Here are five ideas to inspire you this gift-giving season.

1. Self-care basket

Everyone needs self-care, especially if they live with something as stressful as kidney disease. As kidney disease worsens, waste can build up, making people feel sick or cause complications like high blood pressure, weak bones, and poor nutritional health.

Take Maria, a kidney transplant recipient with IgAN who experienced severe side effects as her kidney function declined: "I was put on steroids, immunosuppressants, and high blood pressure medications. The side effects were horrible. It made me tired, dizzy, nauseous, bloated, and gave me heartburn and headaches."

How can you help? Let them know you're thinking of them by creating a basket filled with all the items your friend or loved one could need. Hopefully, this gift can make their hard days a little better.

What to fill the self-care basket with:

  • Cozy blankets
  • Fuzzy slippers
  • Calming bath products
  • Coloring or puzzle books
  • A journal
  • Soft clothes
  • Winter-themed mugs

Here are more self-care ideas to inspire your gift basket purchases.

2. Kidney-disease-friendly cookbook

Following a kidney-friendly diet is important in slowing kidney disease and maintaining kidney function–just ask Audra, a transplant recipient. She managed to keep her kidney disease under control for almost 15 years by following her doctor's instructions and dietary restrictions.

"I've been battling kidney disease for a long time and got it under control," Audra said. "I listened, educated myself, and kept in shape as best I could."

Finding new recipes that align with nutritional limits–like following a low-sodium, low-potassium, or low-phosphorus diet–can be challenging. That's where a kidney-friendly cookbook comes in handy. Registered kidney dietitians and other kidney disease professionals design these cookbooks to help people with kidney disease eat properly. As a bonus, they list the important nutritional values your friend or family may need to watch. 

Please note: Only purchase cookbooks that a healthcare professional, like a kidney dietitian or nephrologist, has written. Contact our Patient Helpline, NKF Cares, to double-check the validity of a cookbook.

If you want to get extra creative, design your own using these kidney-friendly recipes.

3. Subscriptions

People holding each other's faces looking excited

Want to give your friend or loved one a gift that keeps on giving? Choose a subscription! There are subscriptions for every hobby or interest under the sun, but here are five common ones to get your wheels turning.

  1. Meals or snacks that are kidney-disease stage appropriate 
  2. Entertainment like books, audiobooks, or streaming services
  3. Health, exercise, or beauty
  4. Couples activities
  5. Hobbies like embroidery, candle-making, or pottery

4. Say I owe you with a coupon

These coupons aren't just for adorable kids offering to make their parent's breakfast or clean the dishes–Giving someone your time and skills is an amazingly thoughtful gift! Between doctor's appointments, managing kidney disease, and day-to-day responsibilities, people with kidney disease have a lot on their plates. 

Unfortunately, not all may feel like they can ask for help or be in a place where they are ready to ask for help, like Jason, whose kidneys failed unexpectedly. At first, Jason was ashamed that he needed help and avoided asking for it, but his wife's efforts to find him a kidney donor eventually changed his mind.

 "I think as human beings, we feel like we're taking everything on by ourselves. Don't be ashamed to ask for help," Jason said. "Your family and friends love you." 

These coupons show how well you understand your loved one's needs without making them ask for assistance–seeing how willing you are to help may even give them a sense of permission to ask for more in the future. Plus, they won’t have to do an annoying or difficult task! Who wouldn't want that?

Here are six IOU coupon ideas:

  1. Deep clean the kitchen and bathroom
  2. Mow the lawn twice a month during the summer
  3. A day or night out on the town 
  4. Childcare for date-nights
  5. House upgrades like painting or putting furniture together
  6. A meal at a restaurant of their choice

5. Gift card

Person happily ordering online

Some people may think that gift certificates aren't exciting, but they are a great way to provide flexibility to the giftee because many can be redeemed over a long period of time. If you choose an experience, make sure there is a refund option or the ability to switch dates in case they have a doctor’s appointment or aren’t feeling well.

Here are six gift certificate ideas:

  1. An in-person or online store they love
  2. Spa or massage
  3. An overnight getaway
  4. Painting or drawing class
  5. A city or nature tour
  6. Healthy cooking class or consultation with a nutritionist

We want to hear from you

Share your favorite gift ideas with other people in the kidney disease community on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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