Top 10 Gift Ideas for Depressed People
Gift Ideas for Someone Who's Feeling Depressed
The best thing you can do for someone who is depressed is to be their friend. Listen to them and encourage them. I know because I have been there more than once. Just be with them.
Gift-giving can be complicated because holidays make very many people feel depressed, whether or not they are diagnosed as depressed. People have so many expectations about what they are supposed to do and be, that when one more year rolls around and these expectations haven’t been met, they may brood. In addition, it can be exhausting for a depressed person to try to figure out what relatives and friends expect during about the holidays. Feeling obligated to show pleasure at receiving a gift could just add to the stress.
Then again, there's a lot to be said for including your depressed friend or relative in the gift-giving ritual, especially on a birthday or holiday, by giving them a physical reminder that they are valued. You've already given them your support and love, but you might want to give something more.
If so, here are the best gift ideas for people with depression. I've selected gifts that might cheer them up, or give them some enjoyment. Don't expect any flood of gratitude, of course, but at some point your friend may find your gift useful.
- A calendar with a daily positive message
- An excellent book about depression
- A teddy bear
- A trinket with a message
- A light box
- A blank journal
- A funny movie or TV show
- A gift for their hobby
1. A Book With Daily Positive Messages
When I'm feeling down, reading something positive and spiritual can help me get through the day. A wide variety of calendars—religious, twelve-step, motivational, feminist—include a daily encouraging thought.
Chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, which cause pleasurable feelings, and might help lift depression; in any case, it can't hurt.
Music is a great gift idea.
Tastes in music are very individual; people say different things about the music that makes them feel better. Some say their usual music makes them sad or angry, and they want to try something different. If the person likes rock, get them rock, if they like jazz, get them jazz. If you don't know what kind of music they like, buy them a gift card.
I own this particular CD and it truly is relaxing! All of the CDs in this series (the "Sound Health" Series from the Center for Psychoacoustic Research) are excellent for inducing the kind of mood they promise. There is a CD for motivation, one for thinking, one for sleep, and so on.
4. One Very Helpful Book
I highly recommend this book by David Burns. This is the closest thing I've found to depression therapy in a book!
There is always something you can do to feel better. As if you were your own therapist, you can examine your own thoughts, question them, and choose more valid thoughts that will improve your mood. Dozens of tips and exercises for almost any situation, based on the cognitive therapy pioneered by Aaron Beck.
5. A Teddy Bear
No one is too old to hug a nice soft teddy bear.
6. A Trinket Saying You Love Them
Sometimes when you're depressed, there's nothing better than a reminder that you are loved. A trinket with a message—a locket, a potholder, a cookie, a piece of candy—is at least a reminder within reach.
7. A Light Box—For Seasonal Depression
Some people get depressed in the winter when the days are shorter (a pattern called Seasonal Affective Disorder). If that is the case, a lamp or light box specially designed for light therapy can make a huge difference.
This model gets great reviews, and is portable, so it can be set up just about anywhere.
8. A Beautiful Blank Journal
Writing a journal has been shown to be therapeutic. Invite your friend to write or draw in a pretty blank book.
9. A Funny Movie or TV Show
Laughing makes everyone feel better!
10. A Gift for Their Hobby
Your gift doesn't have to be different because they're depressed!
Do they like to...
Be normal, if you like, and buy them a normal gift related to something that you know they've always enjoyed. It might bring back some happy memories and maybe even inspire them.
If they can't enjoy your gift while they're depressed, help them get treatment or medication for the depression. When they start to feel better, they might enjoy your gift then.
More Gift Ideas: Things You Can't Buy Online
- Make a home-cooked meal, or order food in.
- Take a walk with them. Go somewhere. Get out of the house.
- Money is a great gift idea. They might be behind on bills.
- Help them set up a doctor's appointment and offer to go with them. There is treatment for depression.
Depression: Be Informed
- Why People Become Depressed at Christmas | Psychology Today
Why do people become depressed at Christmas?
- 8 Things To Do for Someone Who's Depressed
Someone suffering a clinical depression needs medication and therapy. In addition, here are some things you can do for them as a loving person in their life.
Wonderful website by Dr. Jim Phelps on Bipolar II, mood swings without mania, depression and anxiety, mood stabilizers, hormones and mood, light therapy, and much more.
- McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web
Wise and funny articles on depression and bipolar disorder by John McManamy.