Stepping beyond these popular blessings, there are many ways to think through gift ideas. I like to think topically. What needs are important to your someone during this time in his life? What obstacles might be getting in his way?
You might not come up with a perfect solution, but you might give an assortment of things to try—a tote filled with different first aid supplies or a basket of beverages like the one described at the opening of this chapter. If this is a time of transition in your someone’s life, then likely no one yet knows what will be most useful, so it can be fun to be given the freedom to try out options. A gift of options also has the benefit of being low-pressure; you haven’t picked out something particular, so you won’t be asking whether the item you have sent was as wonderful as you had hoped. Instead, an assortment sends the message that you’re not certain what will be used or loved, and that it is okay either way.
The following gift ideas are grouped topically. There is a lot of overlap, because one gift might match a few different needs, but you may find it helpful and even fun to try designing a gift around a particular need or problem.
THINK HOT & COLD
- Soft, lightweight, washable blanket. My mom used to give Shane a new one yearly because his was heavily laundered. Some might appreciate down or an electric blanket.
- A cozy throw for a favorite chair. Almost any climate can produce a chill that can be warmed with fleece; in our cold climate, I enjoy a puffy down throw.
- Toasty nonslip socks for walking indoors. Fluffy socks for sleep. Thick wool or cotton socks for outdoors. Silk sock liners, fleece socks, knee-highs, tights. Fancier gadgets include a heated footrest, rechargeable warming booties, and microwavable slippers.
- Soft scarves—silky fabrics in warm climates, fluffy in cold.
- Gloves and mittens in different weights. A supply of hand and foot warmers to be inserted inside boots and mitts.
- Lightweight and soft long underwear in silk or new manmade blends that trap body heat. These aren’t cheap, so you might try one pair to start with. Some in our family prefer long undies in heftier cotton weaves, or flannel-lined pants.
- Standing fan. Portable, battery-operated fan for placing in any location, including outdoor events. Maybe even installation of a ceiling fan.
- Space heater. Of course safety concerns must be kept in mind, as there are too many house fires started by these small heaters; however, our bathroom space heater makes a big difference on cold winter mornings. You can purchase one designed specifically for humid bathroom conditions, with safety features. Some heaters can be mounted on the wall, with the cord safely tucked behind, so there is nothing to trip over and things won’t accidentally end up leaning against the hot surface.