Send Gift Good Wishes When You Make Your Own Get-Well Baskets

Your Personal Touch

When you make your own gift baskets, you show an extra layer of caring by making the basket unique to the individual receiving it. That adds a special bit of warmth and cheer that most people will appreciate as much, or even more, than the gift itself.

Containers

One problem with receiving a gift basket can be having an unusable container left over that is too good to toss away, but takes up space that is needed for other things. Make your own get-well gift baskets in more practical, reusable containers, so that your recipient gets a double gift.

For a gardener, paint a terra cotta pot in a cheerful pattern, using acrylic paints. When the patient finishes the goodies inside, the pot is ready for filling with a new plant. In fact, for someone with a long recovery period ahead, you can return with a plant for the same pot on a later visit.

Chipboard or wooden boxes also give you a chance to make things extra special for the patient. Decoupage the container with photographs of the recovering person’s family, friends, hobbies, favorite movies or sports, or other cheering images. Use a box size that can later be used to hold jewelry and keys, or use a larger one that will store picture albums, magazines, or craft materials.

A plastic canvas or wooden tissue box cover is also a practical choice, especially if it coordinates with the person’s room décor.

Finally, consider a woven basket embellished with stenciling or ribbon, or a wire basket decorated with beads. Add a fabric napkin with rubber stamped, embroidered, or beaded decorations, and the container becomes a bread basket for future dinner gatherings.

Contents

Filling your basket can be fun, but it does sometimes require asking a few questions. Before adding snacks of any kind, be sure the patient doesn’t have any dietary restrictions; don’t provide the temptations for ignoring the doctors’ instructions. Also, be sure the person feels up to reading before sending a stack of books and don’t send romances to someone who only reads true crime.

Start filling your basket by adding hand or body lotions and lip balms. Hospital air is often drying to the skin and the remedies can be quite expensive if they come from the hospital pharmacy. If you are sure of the patient’s favorite fragrance, it’s fine to include it; otherwise, unscented products are usually the best option. Even a favorite can be overwhelming to someone who isn’t feeling well. An aloe-based lotion can be especially soothing. A small plush animal is also a cheering addition if the patient is in a regular hospital room or at home--even for the person you wouldn’t normally consider stuffed toys as an option as a gift. A slideshow picture frame loaded with pictures of family and friends can provide comfort and can help with the confusion that often accompanies a prolonged illness, especially one involving critical care.

Socks or bed slippers make a warming addition, as hospitals and sick rooms are often kept at cooler temperatures to help with germ and infection control. Bright colors and silly patterns can bring a needed smile every time the patient wears the gift.

If the patient is strong enough, puzzle books, paperbacks, magazines and small electronic games can help pass the time; a long recovery is often filled with periods of boredom. Music disks and pillow speakers can help calm patients while also breaking up the monotony, as well. If the patient is unable to hold a book long enough to enjoy reading, tuck a few books-on-tape and a player into the basket. A small craft kit---one without a lot of small pieces--can fill those long hours, too, even for those who usually think of themselves as non-crafters.

Another consideration is to make your own get-well gift basket to give to family members of critically ill patients; the hours spent in waiting rooms between visits can stretch interminably and puzzles, books and other items help distract the family from the grim and frightening thoughts about the crises. Add a travel mug to the basket; waiting rooms often have coffee available, but the foam cups don’t do much to keep it hot. Packages of instant coca or cider, tea bags, or even instant soup are also much appreciated additions. Add some bottled water, as well, as drinking fountains can be rather scarce in hospitals, particularly on critical care floors.

In addition to the snacks, books, puzzles and kits, tuck in a small journal or calendar. While dealing with the critical or precarious health periods, it can be difficult to keep track of visitors and gifts. Having a calendar or a notebook with a pen or pencil attached makes it easy to keep the information handy for compiling lists for thank-you notes when things calm down again.

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