Remember when those smug Whos down in Whoville convinced the Grinch that Christmas doesn’t come from a store? All they needed was each other? Welcome to 2020, bitches. Holding hands and singing around a giant tree is the stuff of fairytales that in real life, makes Grandma die.
In the absence of presence, presents take on even more importance this year. But you guys already know how I feel about gifts (as in, if you have MS, you deserve extra).
And so, without further adieu, here is my annual gift guide for the Tripper in your life.
If you’ve been washing your hands as often as you should be, you need a quality hand cream, and lots of it. There’s nothing nicer than l’Occitane. It’s a splurge, which makes it the perfect gift, because it’s not always the kind of thing we buy for ourselves. Lavender is my fave (possibly because I have yet to try the bergamot), but good old shea butter is the most hydrating.
I used to be a fan of experience gifts, but it’s Covid Times, and I have no desire to experience a ventilator, so most gifts in this category are cancelled. The good news is we’ve never had so many TV options; Netflix is no longer enough. Adding a subscription service like HBO, Prime, Apple, Hulu, Crave, or whatever streaming service your Tripper is missing, is a great gift for people with MS, or anyone who plans to spend a lot of time on the couch this winter. So, like everyone.
Disability Visibility (Alice Wong) is a collection of first person essays that will make you feel seen. Sitting Pretty is Rebekah Taussig’s memoir about life with paralysis, and if you’re not already following her on Insta, you should be. I’m looking forward to reading Michael J. Fox’s new book No Time Like The Future. Parestroika in Paris is also on my list, as well as Lindy West’s new book Shit, Actually, because Lindy and I speak the same language, and not everything is about MS.
Last week I had a shower and washed and dried my hair; and if you don’t know why this is note-worthy, congratulations, you’re cleaner than me. Skip to the next gift item. The energy it took to get dressed in underwear, socks, and leggings, took 4 days off my life, and that’s fine, I accept that, because those are the shitty days at the end. But when I went to stand up, I realized I’d tragically put my leggings on backwards. I would have burst into tears if I’d had the strength. There’s a limit to the amount of times I’m willing to put my legs through leg holes, which is why I sleep in my clothes.
The good news is adaptive stylish clothing is finally starting to be a thing. These underwear by Slick Chic are side-fastening. They are high quality, super cute, and totally brilliant. Note: if you have difficulty with dexterity, these may not be the gitch for you as they fasten like a bra (although, kinda perf if bae can help you take them off).
When my giant soaker tub started to threaten my safety (rude), I was advised to get a shower bench or chair. After scrolling through medical supply store websites, and only finding white plastic and metal, hospital-issue benches, I was so demoralized that instead of getting one, I decided to keep rolling the dice with the murder-tub. And so, it was a revelation when I saw a new occupational therapist (OT), who pointed out that I don’t have to shop at a medical supply store. Duh. Now I have this beautiful wooden bench and can safely shave my legs again. I mean, I won’t. But, I could.
My spirit animal is a half-dead reptile: my blood runs cold. Any gift that can warm me up is gonna be a home-run. This water bottle by Yuyu is the size of my dreams and just as hot. I will never put this in the freezer, but you totally could, meaning this water-bottle doubles as a cooling agent, and is an all-season life-saver of a gift for people with MS.
Okay, this is a bit of a baller present, so consider it an investment in your loved one’s health. Covid, MS, and winter, all make it difficult to stay active, yet we know how important it is to use it or lose it. I wasn’t sure my legs would be strong enough for this under-desk elliptical. At first I could only do 5 minutes with a resistance of level 1, pedalling backwards. After a few weeks I increased the resistance and now I’m good for 30 + minutes, pedalling backwards and forwards. I have the Cubii Jr., but there are different brands at various price points. Purchase somewhere with a good return policy just in case.
Warning: Gifts for people with MS can sometimes veer into Fix-Me present land, so make sure your Tripper has expressed an interest in fitness equipment before investing. To learn about why your Sick Person Present had better come with a side of earrings, click here.
I recently had a relapse that impacted my speech and swallowing. One of the first things I learned from my SLP (speech language pathologist) was the importance of keeping my mouth clean. I assumed she’d read this blog and wanted me to stop swearing. She explained why I’m choking more on water (gin, tbh), than anything else. Ever feel like you’re literally drowning in your own saliva? Turns out MS can make the least viscous fluids the most likely to slip past my lazy swallower. The body is mostly water, and if I’m gonna choke from time to time, my lungs can handle a little H20, but if my mouth is full of germs, that can lead to serious infections. Some SLP’s recommend brushing your teeth before and after you eat, or six times a day (really? Who are these people who don’t snack?). I invested in an electric toothbrush and it has been life-changing. I can’t believe I was brushing my own teeth all these years like a sucker. Now my mouth feels dentist clean all the time. Look out, lungs.
The best things in life are free. I can’t believe I just typed that, but hear me out. Everyone’s Covid sitch is different so this might be the opposite of what you need, but a great gift for someone with MS who maybe isn’t able to get out as much and is safe with the same person in an open-concept but cozy loft all day, the greatest gift might be some actual time alone. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s that I don’t miss you. Ever.
I feel like a fake and a phony anytime I put on anything remotely intended for athletes, but these socks that are made for dancers, have a tread which will keep you from slipping when you’re without shoes indoors, and may make a great gift for a person with MS, because a bonus side-effect, and the real reason I love them so bad, is that putting gloves on my feet keeps my toes from curling. I don’t know how; I’m not a scientist. I can only tell you that they are helping with this annoying problem.
This app is part guided journal, part therapist in your phone. There’s a free version, but I recommend doing the trial and then investing in the app. It’s that good. Even gooder, is that Jour is helping me give away 5 subscriptions. Say something nice in the comments about someone you love with MS (it could even be you!), and I will draw winners at random.
Basic bitches, rejoice. Ugg has joined the growing number of companies offering adaptive clothing that doesn’t look medical with the awesome, easy-to-get-on-and-off Ugg Universal.
Shop local when you can. Covid is destroying the businesses that make our communities liveable. Shop safely by ordering online and doing curbside pickups, or have items delivered when possible. Gift certificates for take-out from local restaurants make a thoughtful present that supports your neighborhood economy while saving your Tripper precious time and energy this holiday season.
It’s going to be a different kind of celebration. Keep each other safe, and if you haven’t checked out my guide for surviving the season in the time of Covid, click here.
Happy Holidays, Trippers! What’s on your wish list?
62 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide To The Best Gifts For People With MS”
Thank you so much! I love this list and may by myself a few items. Also thanks for the info on Jour. I am going to try it.
Nancy F. Boston, MA USA
Lemme know what you think about Jour!
I just saw this and would like to add personalized t-shirts from Amazon. I have thought up some funny sayings that apply to MS. Actually today I put my orange shirt on that says on the back – if found on ground please drag over the finish line. My personal favorite is my original -And we all know what happen to Humpty Dumpty
I wore this at car show in town on my powerchair.
A lady came up and said “he sat on a wall, right” Not where I was going. Lol it is “He had a great fall”. Besides swearing I like the funny. Have a good night.
Am I missing links to this stuff or are my MS eyes failing me? Lol
Some have links, others aren’t brand specific. Is there something you’re having trouble finding?
I am very interested in the bath bench you have. Can you say who makes it?
Hi Allison – did you find the bath bench? I have a brand new shiny concussion from my last battle with the bathtub. Just the way to start the new year. Good news is CT says no bleeds and no cracked skull. So reassurance that the headache will visit for a few weeks. So – Ineed a bath solution. Can you help? Did Tripping reply. Oh HNY too
I am interested in bath bench.Were you able to purchase or find who sells?
This bench is from Lowe’s. Good luck!
Yes, the bath bench! Need it…
I love how you always suggest empowering ways to adapt to and live with disability – I know it means so much to so many people.
I’m excited about how design is evolving. Every year there are better and more inclusive options for people with disabilities. It’s about time!
We are spending the first Christmas in 40 years alone. Because of Covid our son can’t travel from Ottawa and our other son is living in this province but is a first responder. I dare not risk a get together, because diaphragm and such….I know I don’t need to explain. This list of gifts is good. I was also think a gift of a food subscription might be useful to some as well, for times when things are difficult. I think they are available in most provinces and small towns now. Happy holidays to you and the guy. I am going to enjoy the peace and quiet without having to feed a crowd or look healthy.
That’s a great idea, JoAnn. My fave food subscriptions are Butcher Box and Plan B Organic farms (local). But there are many options, including meal kits.
I am absolutley going to try out the Toe socks, the toe curling drives me crazy!
Thank you as always for your practical recommendations, and the side of humour is always fantastic! Happy Holidays!
Thanks for another great article! My husband has MS and I love him so much and we are trying very hard to keep him upright for as long as possible. I love your toe sox idea. Thanks so much for all you do.
Yes! Tell me what I want, what I really, really want. I always look forward to the luxurious and accommodating products you have to show us. I think I will treat myself to some and pass on a list of goodies, in the off chance someone else wants to spoil me.
I love myself!! I recently signed up for a membership to the MS Gym and am using it to push myself to move more – even if it is just a little bit at a time from my chair!
Fantastic! Keep moving!
I did too! I am about 2 weeks in and am really trying to do one video every morning before starting my day! Good luck to you!
Love the ideas thanks – will be passing some on to the hubby and kids!! And the whoville photo with comment almost made me spit out my water!! 😉 Will look into the Jour app as well – sounds interesting.
OMG zipper UGGs.
I just squeed
Ardra, Chica You crack me up!! 1000% relatable from the shower, to the leggings & beyond. Reminding me that I, am NOT ALONE in those moments…. Seriously, I Loved this!!! Great suggestions…. thinking I’m LOVINGGGGG the Toe Sox ?
Thank You for Always being an inspiration xx
Love, love, love this list. I’m gonna share it with my family. I’m the one with MS and these are PERFECT. THANKS.
Love, love, love this list. I’m gonna share it with my family. I’m the one with MS and these are PERFECT. THANKS.
I love my Cubii! You’re the first person I’ve seen recommend it… everyone usually laughs at me for buying a gimmick from QVC.
I have to look into Jour. I spend my time trying to help everyone except myself.
Who knew that toe socks could help with toe curling. I need to check these out! Thanks for all of your great suggestions.?
I love me. Most days.
I love this list ❤❤ thank you for taking the time to share your fun finds with us trippers! I would love to try the Jour app. I am thankfully still working and I actually am a therapist. As a therapist it is so hard to find someone of quality to help with what I am going through. I hope that approved help!
This is a great list. While I don’t have MS, I have M.E. and these are good ideas for me too. Going to check out the journal app. Thanks.
I don’t know anyone else with MS and I don’t think I really love myself but….me =’)
Oh my goodness, I thought I was the only one who got really into toe socks after my MS diagnosis! They just feel better and I always get a chuckle from the TSA agents when passing through security shoeless.
I loved that you called them “gitch” ? I don’t think everyone would understand that! Love to read your blog and all the great things you find for us to use. ??
Hahaha….yes, it’s a Canadianism. 🙂
My First MS Christmas…..sounds like the title of a Hallmark Movie. But, alas, this will, in fact, be my first MS Christmas. I’ll be gifting myself with wine, lots of sleep, puzzles, a few good books and wine. Did I mention wine? Oh, yes, I see that I did. As a side note, have you used the LCBO online ordering system? I just used it and had hubby pick up my case of wine today. How freaking glorious! I don’t care what you say about 2020 but discovering online wine ordering is a PLUS no matter how you look at it! Anyway, Ardra, thank you for all that you do to keep up informed and laughing at what is, obviously, a shitty situation. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!
Husband is literally ordering from LCBO RIGHT NOW. Can you imagine how much worse this pandemic would be if we couldn’t order everything we need online? Gah.
Merry Christmas, Melissa. It sounds like you are all about self-care for your first MS Xmas, and that’s great. I hope you have a peaceful, boozy holiday.
I’m surprised you didn’t list a rollator!
Thanks to your advice, I just gifted myself the BiAcre. Not only is it beautiful but as you said, super easy to lift and handle.
Now I am gliding down the road instead of stumbling along looking like the tail end of a three day drunk. 🙂
I put rollators in past lists, so I figured people are tired of hearing about them from me! That said, congrats on your byAcre! It is the best.
I don’t know what Jour is, but I like free shit and I have MS, so…
I love the wine bench, I mean shower bench. Beautiful and great idea. I’m guessing you half to fold the shower curtain ontop of the bench to keep the bathroom floor dry. Lol. A sippy cup for the wine would prevent it from getting watered down too. Just a thought.
The intent is to add a detachable shower head, but we’re just waiting for the plague to calm down before we have someone come in and install it. (We are not handy DIY people, unforch.)
With our regional support group I have found so many of us MSers & it’s exactly like a family reunion (with the good family members). We all have gotten so close but one I’ve become so close to that we bounce everything off each other’s head to see if what we say or plan on doing makes sense. She started calling me her little sister & once she started doing that I did it back…she’s got a heart of gold….so now majority of us MSers around our region call each other brother or sister…bc of our MS connections.
It’s so important to connect with others who get it. So glad you’ve found your tribe.
This is effing great- thank you.
I love ALL of these ideas! But, since I have been working from home since March, as has my husband, I covet some alone time. I’m sure he would enjoy the same thing ?.
Thank you for the great suggestions!
I think I will buy some of these as a Christmas present to myself! 😉
What IS up with the toe curling? I also just move my toes, to the point that the skin get sore.
You are an inspiration, thank you for everything you do!
Great list!! I’m totally checking out the toe socks. I had a pair of knee high rainbow toe socks when I was 8 I think. I loved those damn socks!! Everything needs to be non-slip nowadays. The Uggs are going on my wishlist – they are so cute and I am done trying to pull boots on! Off to check out Jour!
Ardra, Ardra, Ardra, master of all! I don’t know when I laughed harder: at the thought of maskless motherf-ing Whos or whilst reading the sample of “Shit, Actually,” but either way you bring fabulous perspective and amazing practical ideas to the management of this crap disease and for that I’ll be forever grateful. My toesox are already en route and my husband has been instructed to put them in my stocking (along with a Kindle card for most of the books)! I raise my glass to you!
Hi. You deleted my post altogether? I’m sorry if it wasn’t right for your blog. I only posted the truth, I am learning to love myself again.
It’s hard and I’m sorry if I divulged too much.
No, not at all! I couldn’t move it, so I deleted it because I thought that was what you wanted. It was a beautiful post and thank you for sharing.
Help, I cannot find the under chair elliptical. I have difficulty with my recumbent bike as my legs buckle inwards and scrape the center of the bike making it incredibly difficult to pedal. My ankles are weak and initially I couldn’t get my feet in the stirrups. They are stronger now and with the help of my hands I shove those feet in with sneakers with an arch to force my legs outwards. I’m really excited about the elliptical because there is no center piece to impede my movement. Do you think this would benefit me? Lastly the JOUR app looks excitingly motivating! I just found your blog and I can’t stop reading. Thank you for your gift guide for those of us that have MS!
Thanks so much for reading! I’m posting a link to the cubii jr which is the model I have but you could find this on amazon, or walmart etc. Purchase somewhere with a good return policy in case it’s not right for you, but fingers crossed it does the trick!
I am trying the toe socks for sure! Thank you for the great ideas and sharing your journey!
OMG… Awhile ago I “dreamt” about an Elliptical-type exercise thingeee that looked like it was just what I need. I was so excited -told my husband, and have searched around online several times looking for what I thought I saw…. but couldn’t find what the I was looking for – so gave up and decided it was just a dream. ☹️
I just looked at your Best Gifts Guide… and there is the Cubii! NOT A DREAM! Exactly what I want and need.THANK YOU ARDRA! Might have to secure my foot to the plate with a wrap of ace bandage or something? But can probably make it work.
Might have to try those toe socks as well!
So, I have been suffering from MS for the past 10 years but was only just formally diagnosed. It explains so much!!!
I love the Toe Sox idea and the Jour App is definitely something I would like to try out. I plan to start journalling about my medical journey and how things go from here.
I am thrilled to have found your blog and will definitely be using your site as a resource.
I thought I was unique with the toe curling thing. Is that part of MS?
I have so much still to learn…
Merry Christmas and I hope you have a safe and healthy holiday and that everyone you encounter wears a mask.
Found your gift guide through A Chronic Voice on twitter. Love the shower bench idea!
My mother-in-law was a lovely woman with MS, died from cancer two years ago this last week. She really helped as I started going through my own health issues.
Thank you for this post, I learned about a few new things to check out! I definitely need to check out the our app and I am trying to find where that bench is from as I have been looking for one to use that doesn’t make me feel like my grandma! 🙁
This bench is from Lowes. Happy shopping!
You have given us a very interesting and pertinent selection of gift ideas. I particularly like the idea of a safe shower, I have been unable to shower for years, It’s just as well that I like to soak in a bath.
Your recommendation of reading of disability visibility and the suggestion to follow Rebekah Taussig’ on Instagram are both suggestions I may well take.
I hope you are well in this lockdown world and you are not too isolated in this social distancing environment.
P.S. I notice that your blog has a very respectable DA score on AHREFS,
I’m so glad to have heard your interview on sick boy that led me to your blog. I volunteer at a therapeutic riding barn and have a great guy, whom we love, ride with us. He presented at 29 with double vision and now is greatly challenged in pretty much all motor skills. Fine and gross. He will be delighted to know you exist, are so pretty and very forthcoming on your experience. Thank you for what you do on behalf of Tommy, our rocker and horseback rider. XO
Hi great list. I unfortunately bought a medical plastic stool for the bath last week, how back timing is that!
Plus the Google app store is bringing up a French café’s ordering app along with random journaling apps. Could you please post slink so I can find the correct app? Thanks
Here’s the Jour app