Multiple Sclerosis Holiday Gift Guide – 2021

This annual Multiple Sclerosis Holiday Gift Guide is a HIT every year. I’ve updated it this year with new products that either I’ve come across or have been suggested by others in the FUMS community.  I hope you find this helpful – and, if you have suggestions for great gifts, please share them with me at Kathy@FUMSnow.com so I can add them to this list. We all benefit when we all share information!

Holiday Gift Guide Present Image

I can’t believe it’s that time already – time to make that list and check it twice . . .   To help alleviate some of the guesswork – and to help those who are receiving the gifts get what they can really use and enjoy – I asked the FUMS community to send in their best and most useful products that help in everyday living.  As always, they came through with an overwhelming response.  If you are an MS warrior – forward this list to your friends and family.  Make it easy for them.  Or – print it out and leave it “laying around” – maybe highlight a product or 20!!  People will appreciate the help.

If, instead, you are a gift-giver, start with this:  know thine audience.  Some MS’ers would not look at the “MS specific” gifts as gifts – but rather as reminders of their disease. Gauge the attitude of the intended recipient and give accordingly.

I’ve tried to provide helpful suggestions and link to several products.  Links are those words that appear in ORANGE that you can actually click on and you’ll be brought directly to the page where you can purchase or learn more about that product.  Some of these linked items are affiliate links for me meaning, if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  There is no additional cost to you and please know – I would never recommend or suggest something that I didn’t believe in or use myself.

 

🎁  🎁  🎁   🎁

 

 

Before you even begin your online shopping extravaganza, may I suggest that you sign up for Rakuten  This fantastic program is where you can get Cash Back for shopping at over 2,500 stores! Becoming a member is free! Stores pay Rakuten a commission for sending you their way, and Rakuten shares the commission with you as cashback!!  Last year, I finished all my shopping online and got a check for $74.58!!! That was a nice gift for ME!

 

 

 

Big News: you asked for it, you got it: FUMS MERCHANDISE!!! Now you can wear your attitude with FUMS tee shirts,

sweatshirts, tote bags, socks, and FUMS FACE MASKS!! Be loud and proud – wear and carry “FUMS” in

your heart and on your body!

 

 

  1. Cooling Gear– if you’re not aware of it, a great majority of MS patients cannot tolerate the heat – and in fact, find themselves thrown into a flare or a full-blown exacerbation when unable to cool down.  As such, several companies have come up with helpful products designed to lower the temperature for those who need it.  Here are some of the best: Cooling Vests – for an all-over quick cooling effect, choose one of these cooling vests.  It is almost instantaneous cooling and lasts for hours.  Read the descriptions carefully: some can be worn underneath clothing more easily than others.  Neck Wraps – this is my personal favorite item from this category.  There are several different styles to choose from.  I like those that can be either frozen or heated.  I have spasticity in my upper back and neck so the heat helps me at times.  When it’s 90+ degrees with equal humidity in the hot southern Virginia summers, a cold neck wrap brings my temperature down fast and keeps it down.  It’s imperative for me if I’m going to be able to function in the heat. The kind that have lavender in them are my favorites.  You get aromatherapy as well!!  BONUS!!  I LOVE this one: Aroma Wrap Heated or Cooled Herbal Neck Wrap OnThe Go Series (Lavender). Here’s MY FAVORITE: Thermapparel.  I LOVE my Thermapparel Undercool so much – I partnered with the company!!     Seriously, it fits tight to the body and I can wear teeshirts and you can’t tell I have a vest on underneath!!!  I was used to those big bulky vests. This is revolutionary!!  AND – it keeps me cool for 3+ hours at a time – in the southern Virginia heat and humidity!  Here’s a link: Thermapparel.  Our FUMS community member Grace Kopp has the opposite problem: she’s always cold. She suggests getting a heated blanket and being in control of your own thermostat! 
  2. Help Around the House– there are numerous national home cleaning companies that are happy to work with you on gift certificates or long- or short-term contracts. Molly Maid, Merry Maids, and Maid Brigade, just to name a few.  Want to keep it local?  Just Google “Maid Service” for your local area.   **Don’t forget the low-cost opportunity to provide cleaning services yourself.  Just design a “gift certificate” (link to a gift certificate template you can use) yourself with however many service dates you’d like to provide.   Don’t forget the outside of the house as well.  It’s often not possible for MS’ers to get out and mow the lawn, rake the leaves or put up holiday decorations.  A friend offering to provide those services would be a wonderful gift (see “gift certificate” template provided previously).  Don’t have the time to do it yourself?  Again, check Google or Angie’s List for local lawn services or handyman services.  What a relief it would be to look out my window and have all of these blasted leaves gone!   🍁  🍁
  3. Gift Cards– massages, yoga classes, facials, mani/pedis, movie theater, restaurants, and VISA or Mastercard gift cards – so people can choose their own gifts. 
  4. Home EntertainmentNetFlix, Hulu, Amazon Prime (One Year Membership), warm socks, sweatshirts, blankets, fluffy pillows, audiobooks (see Audible), puzzles, books – anything that you’ve enjoyed or that your intended recipient is interested in.  Here are links to suggested MS specific books.  A great book that will help with the stress of the holidays (so get one for yourself and some for your friends!!)  is Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness by Lene Andersen. It’s got day-by-day (from December 1st on) suggestions both for the chronic illness warrior and for those “people helping someone with a chronic illness.” It’s great. Some of my very favorites are: Yin Yoga for Every Body by my real-life, awe-inspiring friend Sue Blei (this will rock your world!); Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body by the AMAZING Mindy Eisenberg (I kind of adore her), New Altitude by my incredibly inspiring MS-friend Wendy Booker; Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies, Recovering from Multiple Sclerosis, The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, Facing the Cognitive Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis, The Wahls Protocol and other books by Dr. Terry Wahls, and Awkward Bitch:My Life with MS – submitted by fellow FUMS’er Karen Rotert who said “this [book] gives people without MS a real look at what we go through and makes MS’ers feel normal with their feelings.” One more to add by a wonderful FUMS’er and a member of the Patients Getting Paid membership community: Managing MS: A Roadmap to Navigate Multiple Sclerosis.  AND don’t forget MY downloadable ebook:  Bowel and Bladder Issues in Multiple Sclerosis by Two Pee Brains With Potty Mouths Talking Shit About MS.  Bowel and Bladder Issues in Multiple Sclerosis
  5. And don’t forget an e-reader, like a Kindle.  Sometimes those big books can be rather heavy.  If an MS’ers hands are numb, tingling, painful, or just tired, a book can be a difficult thing to hold. An e-reader may be just the ticket.  Downloads are very easy thus offering the recipient a never-ending opportunity for personalized entertainment.  The gift that keeps on giving! **Pssssst: you can just add the Kindle app to your device (i.e., your desktop, laptop or iPad) – for free!
  6. MS Digital Resources – Let technology take some of the burdens and help with reminders, questions and keeping track of things: MS Healthline – this comes from Healthline.com, a wonderful online health information site that specializes in a multitude of chronic illnesses – including Multiple Sclerosis. This app is GREAT for meeting other MS’ers and being able to talk about that which only we can understand! Additionally, there are podcasts in the app (by yours truly) and links to a TON of articles about MS. And LIVE CHATS 5 days a week – talking about ALL things MS! Bonus: I host the LIVE CHATS!!  It’s really a wonderful resource and it’s FREE!!
  • MS Journal— this app, created for MS patients and caregivers, helps keep track of the day-to-day issues that MS’ers need to keep track of – namely – injections, reactions, medication reminders, a place for comments (think: weird symptoms, sleep issues, how tired you are of having MS, etc.) – all of which can be put into a report form and downloaded for your doctor.
  • MSAA – Multiple Sclerosis Self-Care Manager– this app, backed by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) won a lot of points with FUMS readers.  It keeps everything in one place:  medications, side effects, lab results, allergies and other conditions.
  • Any calendar app.  I use Google Calendar that links my desktop, laptop and my iPhone.  I put EVERYTHING on that calendar.  And I use alarms.  When to take my meds, when to call my nurse, when my next appointment is scheduled, when to record my podcasts!!  It keeps me straight on everythingCog Fog be damned.  I don’t forget if my alarm is reminding me of everything.  It helps reduce the stress – and that’s good for everything – especially MS.

This year has been such a strange one.  COVID made us all remote workers!!  There are a lot of options for desks, but if there’s a need to work from a recliner, a sofa, or a bed  – a “bed desk” can be the most practical gift of all.    This baby’s incline can change with the user’s, always keeping the arms at the optimal, ergonomically-correct distance for computer usage.  I LOVE mine not only for being uber-productive but for being uber-lazy!!  I like to set my iPad up on it and watch Netflix in bed!!  There are TONS to choose from. Here you go: Bed Desks

 

 

 

7.  Meals – a certificate for a meal once a month for a year – or sign up for a service in which people can rotate and bring in a meal.  I really like Meal Train for this purpose.  It’s clear and everyone can choose dates and times that work for them.  This can be something you do for your friend, a group of neighbors can get together to sponsor and share the cooking, or you could find a caterer in the area to schedule meal deliveries.  If your gift-getter (!) is a pizza-lover, schedule to have pizza delivered once a month with a local pizzeria. How about subscribing (for yourself and/or a loved one) to BLUE APRON – a wonderful meal delivery service that will bring all the ingredients along with simple recipes right to your door. No more stressing about getting to the grocery store. They bring it all to you. And it’s good, healthy food. Nutritious and yummy!  Hello Fresh is another service I’ve used many times. I really LOVE them. Great, fresh food with easy to follow instructions. 

 

8.  Mobility– Wheelchairs, and scooters, and canes, oh my!!   This probably isn’t something that most people could buy someone as a “gift.”  However, if you’re helping someone in their search for mobility assistive devices, here’s a great place to start: Mobility.   Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for help in navigating insurance requirements, etc., to be sure to get the most bang for your buck!! And from FUMS community member Ruth Saunders:  “I’ve just bought this rollator and I love it.  A bit more funky than your average rollator.  I am happy to be seen out & about with it.  It’s at the pricier end of the market,  so a great option for a present!”  Rollator Recommendation

9.  Jewelry– while this can be a very personal taste-dependent gift, it can also be an opportunity to expand the horizons of someone’s personal tastes!!  Aside from local jewelry stores, don’t forget to check out Etsy.  This is a wonderful site that offers handmade and unique gifts of all kinds – including jewelry.  AND in the FUMS Merch shop – we now have FUMS bracelets that you can wear and share your FUMS attitude. 

 

 

10.  Warrior Wear –  MS Gets on My Nerves T-Shirt –  Peace Frogs is a full line of clothing, designed to help promote positive and optimistic thinking throughout the world. Their clothing places a premium on comfort, quality, and style, but it also allows you to spread a little bit of a positive feeling every time you wear it. They worked with FUMS to come up with a GREAT tee shirt that incorporates that FUMS attitude and spreads a little sunshine in the MS world (“MS Gets On My Nerves”).  It’s comfortable, looks great and promotes MS awareness.  Go ahead – get ‘cha one!  The folks at Race to Erase MS have a whole shop with great products sold specifically to raise money for researching a cure.  You get a great product and contribute to the cure.  Win-win!

 

🎁  And  don’t forget, FUMS logo’ed Warrior Wear (tshirts, sweatshirts, socks, etc.) is now available in our FUMS Shop.  🎁

 

11.  Miscellaneous Gift Ideas– here are a few more ideas that were submitted by fellow FUMS’ers: Shower Grab Bar, toilet grab bars, Sombra cooling and pain relieving cream, extra large rearview mirroraromatherapy, a small refrigerator (to have handy near a recliner), night lights (to make the home a safer place), flameless candles (ambiance without the worry), pill minders, a shower seat, foot bath, body pillow and a charging station.  Want something to remind them of you throughout the year?  How about an “of-the-month club” gift? Flower-of-the-month, beer-of-the-month – and my personal favorite: wine-of-the-month!!  FUMS community member Tori Davies-Wompey suggested a weighted blanket. It relieves stress and anxiety and can really help with insomnia. Community member Felisha Gonzolez suggests an electric toothbrush to take the “work” out of that twice-daily task.  Carol Hollans Pratt suggests getting a TON of Post-It Notes so you can leave notes for yourself!! Amanda Devaure-Croft suggests good orthotic arch-support insoles. And now – receiving a resounding thumbs up from the FUMS testing committee (me):  SQUATTY POTTY!!!  If you’re a fan of the television show “Shark Tank” you’ll recognize this wonderful invention.  It’s a stool that fits around your toilet that will elevate your feet and put you into the “squatting” position that has been found to alleviate a lot of the problems that MS’ers have with bowel and bladder issues.  And it’s fun to say! And along those lines – I’ll add my book: “Bowel and Bladder Issues in Multiple Sclerosis by Two Pee Brains With Potty Mouths Talking Shit About MS” It’s got a lot of good, solid, medical information from a world-renowned pelvic floor dysfunction physical therapist, and me – the smart ass. So – you’ll get good information – and a giggle or two as well. It’s a two-fer!

12. Perhaps the best gift you could give someone with MS is something that is one-size-fits-all, comes only in the color orange and is guaranteed to be well-received, and never returned or exchanged:  it’s a donation in their honor.  There are any number of charities that service this community – The National MS Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, and my personal choice – the Center Without Walls at the Race to Erase MS.  This really is the gift that keeps on giving – to the one whose name or memory you’ve honored – and to the entire MS community.    Tributes In Your Honor

 

  **Equally important – some things FUMS community members suggested NOT giving as gifts:  

  • Season tickets to anything – or date-specific tickets – this can be a lot of pressure for someone who can’t be sure they’re able to do anything from one minute to the next.  And by the way, pressure and stress are VERY bad for anyone – most especially someone with Multiple Sclerosis.  The physical manifestations of stress are often flares. Not good. Stress=bad!
  • Inspirational or religious gifts – what I find inspirational may be very different from what you find inspirational.  And religious gifts – well, unless you’re very well acquainted, this can go very wrong, very fast!
  • No surprises and no surprise parties – see the earlier mention about what stress can do to MS’ers. 

 

**MS’ers are often in need of flexible employment – something that can be done from anywhere (think: infusion center, home, hospital bed, etc.). There are a ton of scam sites out there but this isn’t one of them: FlexJobs. They have a TON of opportunities that can be done remotely and on YOUR time. Check them out. And if you sign up, use the coupon code FUMS for 30% off! **They have gift certificate available too!! 

 

NEW THIS YEAR – We now have a sister website and community: Patients Getting Paid. This membership is designed to help people with chronic illness find and create flexible, remote work that allows then to generate an income while taking good care of their health.  The membership includes condition-specific gigs posted weekly; workshops on topics such affiliate marketing, websites 101, how to become a voice-over artist, and how to monetize your patient advocacy;  and two co-workings and 2 office hours/coaching calls per month continue to build the educational content. But the real gold is in the community: a bunch of wonderfully kind and supportive people all with chronic illness, all working together toward the goal of finding and/or creating flexible, remote work to better care for their health. Come for the content – stay for the community.  

Finally – I’d like to give you a gift as well – a link to a song I wrote –  🎶  “Wash Your Mouth Out With Hope”  🎶  written for those of us in the MS community – but it could certainly be for anyone dealing with any sort of difficulty.  Include a copy of the link with your gift and brighten the spirit of those you share it with.  

 🎁  🎁  🎁  🎁

I hope you find great value in this gift guide and it proves to be very helpful to you and yours.  Happy holidays and remember – sometimes it helps the stress, just to say F-U-M-S!! 

***PLEASE share this gift guide far and wide. Thank you.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Multiple Sclerosis Holiday Gift Guide – 2021”

  1. Just want to say “Thank you”, for creating this info for other MS people!
    Continue to stay Strong and Stay safe!!

Comments are closed.

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