Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Merry Solstice! Happy Non-Denominational Winter Event!!!
It’s my long awaited holiday gift guide!
Holiday shopping induces a kind of paralysis for me—I want to strike the perfect level of thoughtfulness and utility while finding something really well priced. (I’M SO BROKE IT HURTS.)
I hope I can relieve you of these feelings with my gift guide!
While all of these items range in price from at little as $7 to as much as $150, I want to remind you of this: the best gift you can give someone with dysautonomia is your time and patience. (And maybe throw some $3 fuzzy socks in there or a reusable water bottle. We’ll love it.)
But my point is this: we have to sideline ourselves in life because our bodies don’t cooperate. Health always comes first, even when we want to throw it to the side and just do something fun for once. Please don’t forget us, especially at the holidays.
Shopping reminder: when you use Amazon, shop through smile.amazon.com and select Dysautonomia International as your charity of choice! 6% of your total purchase price will be donated to them at no extra cost to you!
I’m really excited about this recommendation because this is the first time ever I get to offer you guys a discount exclusively through my blog. (OMG.)
At this year’s Dysautonomia International conference, I got to know Tomas Reyes, who’s the founder of Tramps Hosiery. He founded his company after a loved one developed dysautonomia and needed to wear compression stockings to help with her blood flow. Coming from the world of fashion in New York, Tomas wanted to design something way more fashion forward than the standard medical options available.
We had a ton of really interesting conversations about how dysautonomia and POTS affects life, and their company has been really generous to our community. AND! They’re offering 40% off your purchase (!!!) if you use the code dysautonothankyou!
*Make sure you know your recipient’s size before purchasing! Compression stockings are very tight!*
Chip and salsa bowl
One of my favorite bits of dysautonomia advice came from one of my doctors who said “Walk more. Drink more water. Eat chips and salsa.” to encourage me to get my salt intake up.
I have definitely taken the last piece of advice a little TOO seriously.
If there’s one thing I know about life and food though, no one scoffs when chips and salsa appear—so go ahead and give the person you love an excuse to consume more in their life in a cute bowl.
(Also, everything is more fun in cute bowls.)
If I could live a life of luxury where I could drop $50 on a single candle, I would. (Looking at you, Anthropologie.)
I’m fairly certain that all of my readers are in the same boat as I am, high class candle tastes on a budget, which is why I’m a big fan of holiday scented Glade candles. Their “Tree Lighting Wonder” scent candle smells even better than a Christmas tree and has my house and bedroom smelling so good for once.
It’s an easy win, and it looks really nice, too, so it’s not an insult to give it to someone as a gift.
Throw some candy canes and a couple of these bad boys into a gift bag and bam!, you’ve got yourself a Christmas gift. (The plug-in inserts are really good, too… but giving a plug-in gives a vibe like, “hey your house stinks, get your life together.” Candles are #classy. Take it from me, Emily Post.)
The other plus to Glade candles is that I don’t find their scents overwhelming or overpowering. Obviously, if the person you’re shopping for has Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, they might need to live in a candle free/scent free home, so check with them, and see what their needs are.
A lot of us with dysautonomia suffer from painsomnia—we’re up all night with pain and discomfort and sleep later into the afternoon. This makes the short days and long nights harder, we hardly get any sunlight.
Separately, my depression worsens with the seasons and my doctors have recommended that I use light box therapy for 20 minutes every day.
I have several friends who LOVE light box therapy and thrive on the boost it gives them. For me, it’s a nice buzz while I use it (when I remember to use it… sorry, doctors), but I know it’s a good, science-backed way to offer someone someone who who struggles with the time changes.
- NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp ($57)
- Verilux HappyLight Liberty Personal, Portable Light Therapy Energy Lamp ($32)
My dad bought me a set of Jane and Bleecker slipper socks from CostCo and I am obsessed. They are cozy, have great grips on the bottom, are cute, and fun to wear.
The blood circulation to my feet is always terrible, but it’s always worse in the winter. These stay secure around my leg and don’t fall down.
The ties *did* break off on one foot while I slept (I move around quite a bit when I sleep) but the sock is still tight and snug around my calves without being tied.
My friends have an Amazon Echo at their house and they have it wired up perfectly.
Want to turn on the lights? Tell Alexa, the Amazon assistant, to do it. Want to listen to music? Alexa does it. Need to search for something online? Alexa does it. Want to set a timer, call someone in another room in the house with an Alexa in it, use an app, buy something on Amazon? Alexa does it.
It’s a chronically ill person’s dream come true—all of these commands can be done from the couch.
There are definitely some security concerns to take into consideration, but there are ways to keep it more secure.
- Amazon Echo ($79.99, on sale)
- Amazon Echo Dot ($29.99, on sale)
- Amazon Echo Spot Preorder (released December 17) ($129.99)
Listen. I know this sounds like a joke. And it might be to some of you. Maybe it could be a funny joke gift or White Elephant present.
But this is one of the BEST products that has ever come into my life, and when you have dysautonomia, you probably have digestive problems, and THIS HELPS by changing the way you sit on the toilet! Things just… move better.
Because let’s just be real about what happens in a bathroom sometimes: straining, discomfort, really unpleasant positions… THIS FIXES THAT NONSENSE.
So if the person you’re shopping for has been complaining about digestive problems, this is step one for them.
(Maybe don’t give it to them in front of a big group of people though, unless y’all love bathroom humor and they’re a really good sport.)
I have a growing obsession with family history. This summer I got my ancestry report done by 23 and Me and while there were zero surprises (I’m 100% European. One HUNDRED percent.), it’s really cool to trace how much of what region’s DNA I have, and compare that to my family trees I have through genealogy reports. (Thank you, FamilySearch!)
What I like about 23andMe is that they have an add on you can purchase at any time after your additional kit that will analyze your DNA sample for Health information besides basic ancestry. (And the chronically ill cannot get enough information about Health.)
The Health + Ancestry Kit is currently on sale for $149 (savings of $50). The other main DNA analysis company, Ancestry.com, does not offer a package like this.
You can use my referral code with 23andme!: https://refer.23andme.com/s/shanlinford
Ah, yes. You didn’t think I was going to go another year without mentioning a FitBit, did you? It’s the dream gift for people who love tracking health data!
The most important feature of this particular model (Fitbit Charge 2), is that it tracks Heart Rate, and that’s what everyone with dysautonomia is looking for: checking in on their heart rate while exercising. Or walking. Or sitting. Or breathing.
I also particularly like this model because it can help you track sleep—the number one question I’m asked when I go to any doctor. (“How much are you sleeping?” “I don’t know, a lot?”)
It can also be synced with your phone to show you text and calendar alerts on the display which is such a convenient feature.
If you’re like my family, our favorite Christmas movie is Christmas Vacation. I’ve considered a few times getting my mom a subscription to a Jelly of the Month Club, because like Cousin Eddie says, that’s the gift that keeps on giving.
But even if you’re not like my family, you’ve probably been interested in one of the billion types of subscription boxes out there. They range from samplings of snacks every month to makeup samples to monthly survival boxes for the chronically ill.
- Birchbox ($10/month)
- Book of the Month ($15/month, savings offered if purchased annually)
- Causebox ($50/quarterly)
- Ipsy ($10/month)
- Spoonie Essentials ($40/month)
Subscriptions to Hulu & Netflix
Do I really need to explain this? There’s so much good stuff to watch. Give the gift of entertainment. (Go watch The Mindy Project on Hulu and The Crown on Netflix. They’re SO good.)
- SaltStick Caps ($13) (some proceeds go to Dysautonomia International!)
- NormaLyte ($8.99) (some proceeds going to Dysautonomia International!)
- Donation to Dysautonomia International in your recipient’s name!
- Water bottles, blankets, salty snacks
So, how did I do? What did I miss? And what are you asking for this year? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re still looking for ideas, check out my 2016 Gift Guide and my 2015 Gift Guide!
And most importantly,