If you have a family member or friend who lives with a chronic illness or disability, these stocking stuffers and small gifts under $25 are great ways to show them how much they mean to you — without breaking the bank. Gifts don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to show someone how much you care; even small presents can mean so much. We’ve got plenty of ideas for inexpensive yet meaningful gifts that are sure to make your loved one feel appreciated this holiday season!
Chronic Illness and Disability Stocking Stuffers – Body Care and Wellness
Chronic illness and disability can affect a person’s appearance in dramatic or subtle ways. Some medications have side effects such as weight gain or loss, dry or oily skin, etc. Even more significantly, chronic illness often changes the way a person feels about their body and can have a negative impact on body image. Stocking stuffers and small gifts that encourage physical self-care can help your loved one take back their sense of bodily autonomy and feel better about themselves.
Between dry air inside and crisp air outdoors, chapped lips are practically inevitable during the winter. Some medications also cause dry mouth and skin. Lip balm makes an excellent stocking stuffer for any gender, and Burt’s Bees is a fabulous brand!
Along with dry lips often comes dry skin, so this Burt’s Bees lotion set will be welcomed by your loved one with a disability or chronic illness this holiday season.
A hot bath with Epsom salts can be a great remedy for chronic pain. These mineral bath salts are individually packaged so you can divide them among a few friends, or give them all to one person and they can easily open one when needed rather than having to lift a heavy container.
Bath Bomb Set
Bath bombs are a soothing treat for folks who take long baths to relieve chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
If your family member or friend doesn’t have a bathtub or can’t get in and out of the tub due to their disability, shower steamers are a perfect alternative to bath bombs.
Herbal and Organic Tea
Herbal and vitamin-infused teas can help your loved one with pain, insomnia, anxiety, and other symptoms, and they make easy stocking stuffers.
Electrolyte or Vitamin Drink Powder
Staying hydrated is important for everyone! Electrolytes and vitamin drink powders can help people who struggle with chronic fatigue or get dizzy due to dysautonomia. They’re also beneficial for those who are not able to eat much due to their symptoms or medication side effects.
For larger gifts like these, check out our guide to self-care boxes.
Disability and Chronic Illness Stocking Stuffers – Accessories
These small clothing items and accessories make ideal Christmas stocking stuffers or gifts on a budget for someone you care about who has a disability or chronic illness.
Who doesn’t love a pair of fuzzy socks? We recommend these because they have nonslip grips on the bottom, so your gift recipient can wear them around the house like slippers.
Speaking of slippers, if they prefer to wear a shoe with a sole around the house, a pair of comfy slippers will warm their toes and their heart this holiday season.
This multifunctional hair scarf can be used as a headband, a head cover for someone with hair loss due to chemotherapy, etc.
Headband with Buttons for Face Mask Ear Loops
Many people with a chronic illness or disability are still wearing masks in public places to protect us from COVID and flu. These headbands include a button on each side where mask ear loops can be attached for greater comfort.
Despite elected officials proclaiming that the pandemic is over, COVID, flu, and RSV still pose a threat to many people with a chronic illness or disability, especially those who are immunosuppressed. High-quality respirator masks like these KF94 from Korea can help protect your loved ones and those around them from airborne illnesses all year round.
If you have a family member or friend who struggles with migraine, insomnia, or chronic fatigue, a sleep mask would be a welcome stocking stuffer this Christmas or anytime.
Stocking Stuffers for Chronic Pain Relief
Chronic pain is one of the most debilitating aspects of living with a disability or chronic illness. Cold, damp weather tends to exacerbate pain, so winter can be a rough season for people with these struggles. Our recommended stocking stuffers can help ease the toll of muscle, joint, and nerve pain for someone you care about.
Pain Relief Gel
Voltaren is an effective remedy for arthritis and joint pain. Although it falls under our $25 gift limit for this article, the cost can add up for folks with chronic illness who need it. However, you should check with them first before gifting a tube to them to make sure it doesn’t conflict with the treatment regimen recommended by their doctor.
Microwavable Heating Pad
This microwavable heating pad delivers pain relief on the go, so your relative or friend can use it in the car or while waiting at the doctor’s office.
Heat patches can be hidden under clothes for pain relief at work or while out and about, so they make thoughtful stocking stuffers for a wide variety of folks with chronic pain.
Disability and Chronic Illness Stocking Stuffers – Toys and Games
Stocking stuffers for someone with a chronic illness or disability don’t need to focus on their health condition; in fact, many people would prefer a gift that distracts them from distressing symptoms. These toys and games can help to do just that, yet will be accessible and usable for folks with limited energy, strength, or coordination.
Squeeze it, throw it, punch it, who wouldn’t want a set of funny stress balls to play with? With this set of emojis, they can even choose a different one each day to reflect their mood.
Tangle toys are a great gift for neurodivergent folks (autism, ADHD, etc.) but can also be good distractors from pain and other nagging chronic illness symptoms. They are easy to twist so they should be usable by many folks with cerebral palsy, arthritis, and other disabilities that limit hand function.
If you’re shopping for someone who stays in bed a lot due to chronic illness symptoms, a Squishmallow makes a perfect cuddle buddy that can double as a pillow.
Mood Stuffed Toy
This octopus helps people of all ages start conversations about mental health or just lets everyone know how they’re feeling from day to day. Be sure to check out the product listing as there are many more colors and mood combinations available!
Whether your loved one prefers positive affirmations or honest rants, there’s an adult coloring book for them.
Crosswords and other puzzles can help keep someone’s brain stimulated when they are stuck at home or in bed a lot. Once again, you can choose between funny, serious, outrageous, and anything in between.
Looking for more like this? Check out our article on productive yet restful self-care activities for people with chronic illness.
Chronic Illness and Disability Stocking Stuffers – Home Accessories and Decor
Many people with a chronic illness or disability stay home a lot, especially in the winter, because the cold can worsen our symptoms. These stocking stuffers will brighten their house and bring them holiday cheer.
Candle in Jar
Candles are a very popular low-cost holiday gift, but they can also be a potential safety hazard for people with a disability that affects their coordination or memory. A candle in a large, deep jar like those sold by Yankee Candle and featured below is safer because they don’t tip over easily and the flame stays within the jar. They can also be put out quickly and easily simply by putting the lid on.
Wax Melts and Warmer
If jar candles are not accessible or safe, wax melts are a great alternative as they don’t use any flame. Wax warmers are a useful small gift for someone who wants to refresh their home and bring in seasonal scents all year round.
Essential Oils and Diffuser
Many people with a chronic illness or disability like essential oils as symptom remedies or to elevate their mood. However, some people are allergic to them, so always check with your loved ones before purchasing any scented gift.
Stocking stuffer might be stretching it on this one… I’m not sure how you would fit a body pillow into a stocking! But if you’re looking for a meaningful gift under $25 for someone who spends a lot of time in bed or on the couch, a body pillow is a good choice.
This one is for your family member or friend with a sense of humor! Help them banish anxiety with this funny mug.
Drink Cup with Lid
Many people with a disability use cups with lids around the house because they are less likely to spill. We always need more of them, so they are a welcome low-cost gift for Christmas or a birthday.
Straws make it easier for people with disabilities that make it difficult to lift a heavy cup to stay hydrated. Disposable straws are bad for the environment, and metal straws are a safety hazard (Ralphie, you’ll poke your eye out!) but silicone straws are flexible and easy to use. This set also comes with a straw cleaner so they won’t get yucky on the inside.
Many chronically ill people take a lot of pills, and need to bring some with them at all times for emergencies. A funny pill case that can fit in their purse, pocket, or bag will help them stay on track and make them laugh.
Funny and empowering disability stickers are among my favorite small gifts to receive, and they could be perfect for your friend too!
I hope these stocking stuffers have inspired you to find just the right last-minute gift for your loved one!
What are your favorite stocking stuffers to receive as someone with a chronic illness or disability?
Let us know in the comments!
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Ability Toolbox. I received my BA in English from Stanford University and MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles, and have worked in entertainment and health media for over 20 years. I also blog about traveling with a disability. As a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, I am deeply committed to amplifying the voices of the disability community through writing and advocacy.