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The holiday season has arrived! The holidays are a time that many of us choose to show those we appreciate in our lives that we’re thinking of them with a thoughtful gift. While some people in our lives are easy to find that perfect something for, others can be a bit more challenging. Family caregivers often fall in the “tough to buy for” category: they are busy and rarely focus energy on themselves, leaving you with very few clues as to what they could really use or would love to receive. If you’re shopping for a California family caregiver this holiday season, then this guide is for you.

The secret to finding the perfect gift for anyone is to understand what they want and need, which as we mentioned, isn’t always easy with caregivers. Through this article, we’re going to explore what a common caregiver experience is and how you can support them or brighten their day with a thoughtful gift.

The Family Caregiver Experience
While every family caregiver has a unique experience and perspective, across the board one thing is certain: caregiving is a stressful job. Their stress often multiplies during the holiday season due to the added events and logistics required to safely celebrate the holidays with the loved one in their care. But regardless of the season, it’s always an overwhelming and difficult role. For most, recognizing this and acknowledging them for their effort is always welcomed and appreciated.

Caregiver Holiday Gift Ideas
If you’re looking to shop (or make) something for a caregiver in your life as a token of appreciation, then here are some ideas for you that are sure to brighten their holiday.

  1. Experience-Based Gifts.
    A word of caution on experience-based gifts: the nature of the family caregiver role is to provide support to someone who is unable to care for themselves, so offering activities (like a weekend away) and experiences may be a gift that creates more stress than it relieves. It isn’t easy to step away from the caregiver role.

    That said, each individual is different, so if you’re confident in a getaway-type gift or can offer assistance to help them take a night off, then this may be a fantastic idea. Just be sure to gift something that doesn’t require a lot of time, effort, or additional money to enjoy.

    Pro tip: Print a brochure of the place or event you’d like to send them and gift it to them before booking. Wait until you’ve coordinated schedules before booking to prevent logistical issues.
  2. Self-Care Basket.
    Caregivers are often so preoccupied with the care and needs of their loved one that they tend to neglect their own.

    A “spa day” themed gift basket in the era of COVID-19 is a great alternative to an in-person spa treatment that will give them the tools they need to pamper themselves and relax at home. Pair it with a book or movie you think they’ll love for a perfectly tempting excuse to care for themselves, even if only for an evening.

    You can find locally made gift baskets by searching Etsy.
  3. A Senior Shower.
    A unique gift idea for the caregiver in your life is to offer them a “Senior Shower.” Much like other life milestone showers, (baby showers, bridal showers, etc.), a senior shower is to celebrate initiation into the caregiver’s club.

    Check out the Senior Shower Project for more information about this innovative gift idea.

    If a party seems out of reach at the moment, check out their caregiver cards for another meaningful gift for the caregiver in your life.
  1. A Family-Sized Home-Cooked Meal.
    An affordable and well-appreciated gift for someone caring for others this holiday season is a big premade home-cooked meal.

    Find a cute holiday-themed dish to bake or store it in and create a big (preferably freezable) family favorite, like a lasagne or baked pasta, chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie, chili, soup, casserole, cake, cookies, or anything else they’ll enjoy. Pair it with compostable plates and utensils to take it to the next level. Offering them a night off of cooking and cleaning duty is an affordable way to show you care.
  2. A Night Off.
    If you’re in the position/locale to offer a night off duty and step in their place (or pay for a professional to step in temporarily), this may be the best gift of all.

    Giving them the comfort to know their loved one is in good hands and they’re free to take time for themselves would be a welcomed holiday treat.

Closing Thoughts
Caregiving is undoubtedly a challenging role. Finding the right gift to show a family caregiver that you appreciate them is often a challenging and daunting task. We hope this guide sparked some inspiration for gifts you can give a family caregiver in your life this holiday season. 

If you have additional ideas or want to help them beyond the holiday season, check out the California Caregiver Resource Centers. We would love to connect you with their local Center, who can talk more about local programs and how they can support the caregiver in your life. 

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