This post was first published by our friends at Mend Together.

By Kate Rigg w/ Sarah Miretti Cassidy

Cancer brings many challenges – but it also can bring out the best in the communities that surround us. From “porch fairies” who stop by to bring socially distanced delight to community members who chip in for fundraisers or family members who schlep back and forth to appointments.

Learning to accept help is hard (but necessary!) and saying thank you for that care can take many forms. (Support Volunteer Ann hosted a post-treatment party.) Offering help presents it’s own challenges – what’s the best way to show your care without adding to your loved one’s burden by making them create a list.

If a party’s not practical and words of thanks don’t seem quite enough, or if your goal is providing tangible love, our friends at Mend Together have put together a list of practical and fun gifts.

Mend Together’s free communication tools are a way to keep friends and family informed and their gift + support registry often provides help for cancer patients. (Coming soon – a volunteer scheduling option to coordinate help!) For each registry created using code HOPE$100, Mend Together will make a donation to Cancer Hope Network and each registrant will receive a $100 site credit when a registry reaches $200 in total contributions. (plus, a free Cancer Support Kit!)

Here are 5 gifts to say “I’m thinking of you” or “thanks!” no matter what time of year.

1.     The Gift of Pampering

Caregivers spend a lot of time taking care of other people, so it’s always nice to give a gift that invites them to pamper themselves – from Scented Candles or Aromatherapy sets to coupons for a cleaning service.

Mend Together favorites:

  •  A handcrafted wood diffuser set made of Japanese Hinoki Cypress combines elegant design with healing essential oil aromatherapy. A blend of Pine, Hinoki and Eucalyptus essential oils are included in the set and help create a sense of calm.
  •  An organic salt and sugar body scrub is just the thing for tired skin and a luxurious end of day treat.  The all-natural scrub exfoliates, cleanses, improves circulation, and is scented with natural lavender.

2.     The Gift of Yum

Never underestimate the power of food to make someone feel happy, satisfied and cared for. Caretakers often don’t have a lot of time to spend thinking up recipes or researching great restaurants so this is always a welcome gift. From a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant (bonus points for  helping a small business!) to a new recipe book with great vegetarian options or a soothing cup of tea (check this relaxing tea sampler), food and drink can be a practical, thoughtful way to show every day love.

Mend Together favorites:

  •  The Plenty Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi is packed with ultra-tasty vegetarian recipes from one of London’s most famous gourmet chefs. It combines a healthful attitude towards food with wonderful recipes from his four top rate restaurants and syndicated food column.
  • A Specialty Pear Gift Basket brings the fresh, crisp, creamy taste of pears right to your caregiver’s door. Farm fresh and a serious cut above anything available at the grocery store this is a truly special gift of deliciousness.

3. The Gift of Beauty

 Looking and feeling good are linked to overall feeling of wellbeing. So why not give the gift of beauty to someone who spends more time thinking about others than themselves? Think Scrubs and Body Treatments or Nail or Cosmetic Kits.

Mend Together favorites:

  •  Anti-Oxidant Miracle Oil A wonderful radiance boosting oil for face, body and nails. This skincare line was created by Horst Rechelbacher after he sold Aveda to Estee Lauder. A pioneer in organic, food-grade beauty products, Mr. Rechelbacher introduced the concepts of plant-based products, aromatherapy and environmental impact into the world of beauty.  This is one of our favorite products.
  •  A Rosewater Facial Gift Set This nutrient-packed rosewater facial gift set includes a Cucumber + Watercress Cleanser, Rosewater Moisturizer and an Avocado Eye Serum. It’s a refreshing, uplifting combo that revitalizes the whole face.

4.     The Gift of Chocolate

Chocolate is a gift that most everybody enjoys. (So good it gets it’s own bullet!) Dark Chocolate has also been proven to uplift mood and increase overall health.

Mend Together favorites:

  •  Our Vosges Exotic Chocolate Gift Set takes flavors from around the world like Green Tea Matcha, Guajillo and Chipotle, Banana and Goji combined with super dark chocolate to give your taste buds and your mood a surprising, uplifting treat.
  •  The Antidote 4 Bar Gift Set uses imported organic dark chocolate in combination with delicious ingredients like Rose Salt, Coffee, Cardamom and Ginger.

5.     The Gift of Laughter

Nothing is a better pick-me-up than a gift of good cheer. Bring some light into your caregiver’s life with some creatively curated laughs! There are many options – including subscriptions to classic humor magazines like Mad Magazine, a funny tribute video about your caregiver by professional comedians or a stand-up comedy class.

Mend Together favorite: 

  • Comedic self-help book F*ck Feelings is a New York Times Bestseller by a psychiatrist and a comedy writer combining practical tips for living a good life with jokes and humor. We love the combination of laughs with helpful advice.

Whatever you choose, it’s important to remember that the thought matters most. A funny or thoughtful card is a bright spot in a mailbox too often filled with EOB statements and bills, suggesting Cancer Hope Network’s free and confidential caregiver support is a practical or just picking up a the phone to drop a “thinking of you” text – your love, care and support are meaningful.

A version of this piece was previously published on MendTogether.com.