Buying Christmas gifts can feel overwhelming in a normal year. When you are fighting cancer, it can feel almost impossible.
Tight budgets and a child who has already received a lot of gifts throughout treatment can make things feel more complicated.
So, here’s a list of ideas to help you get started.
1. Board Games
Our family played a lot of board games while Cooper was on treatment, especially to pass the time when we were home in isolation.
And when I say a lot, I don’t mean a great variety.
It’s always great when you can find a game your child and you enjoy playing. Here are a few ideas.
No matter your age, Memory is a challenging game. It’s a good choice for younger kids. They make sets now with every Disney character you can imagine.
I’m listing these two games together because they both have basically the same premise: to move pieces around a board and try to get them home safely before everyone else. Our family loves these two games.
This ancient family game is simple to learn, yet challenging to play. Truly a game that will entertain kids of all ages.
A deck of cards is less than $5, but the hours of entertainment are priceless. For years, both my sons have had the same favorite card game: Trash. As an added bonus, adults usually enjoy it as well.
Buy some yarn and a crochet hook or knitting needles, and teach your child how to make scarves or blankets. YouTube is full of teaching videos. Figure it out ahead of time, so you can teach your child, or wait and learn together.
Buy embroidery floss—loosely twisted cotton strands—and teach your child how to make friendship bracelets like we used to when we were kids. If that seems too complicated, just teach them a simple braid.
Sending bracelets to school for friends can feel like a great way to stay connected with classmates.
Craft stores have all sorts of kits and projects you can do with your kids. As an added bonus, your child’s creations can serve as homemade birthday gifts throughout the year.
Or consider auctioning them in a fundraiser to raise money for childhood cancer. Talk about empowering your child to help in a situation that can make them feel helpless.
There’s nothing better than family movie night cuddled up on the couch with blankets and popcorn, but chances are you already have a ton of movies, right? Use Christmas to introduce them to some classics from your childhood. Back to the Future, anyone?
Or sneak in a little learning with a fun video. We have a movie called The Letter Factory that my kids ask to watch over and over.
The movie’s witty dialogue and catchy songs taught both my boys the sounds of the letters. It’s a perfect choice for a child who is missing a lot of school due to treatment.
This is a great option because payments can be spread out over time.
For example, if you get your child a Netflix subscription for a year, you don’t have to pay a big hunk of money right at Christmas because they charge a monthly fee. As an added bonus, sometimes you even get the first month free.
Magazines are another fun subscription option. Everyone loves getting mail, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving all year long. They have neat magazines for kids of all ages, such as Highlights, Ranger Rick, and National Geographic Kids.
The magazines for younger children even have activities, stories, and games you can punch out and play—for hours, so buyer beware.
5. Fingernail Polish
When our friend’s preteen daughter went through cancer treatment, fingernail polish brought her hours of entertainment.
While in the hospital, she even offered the staff free manicures. They’d stop in her room at break, and she would paint their fingernails. Lots of colors and variety can make this a fun gift—and don’t forget the sparkles.
Christmas might not look the same for your family this year, and that can be hard. However, a Christmas celebrated during cancer treatment has its own set of blessings that just might surprise you.