When visiting a friend or relative in hospital, you might like to take along a special gift. It doesn't need to be much and the thought here is very much what counts.

Here are ten gift ideas that show you care and will hopefully help to distract your friend from their situation and surrounds.

  1. A big hug. Ok, you can’t wrap this one up but you can wrap your friend in a loving hug that will speak volumes about how much you care.
  2. Kind heartfelt words in a card chosen or made specially. Sometimes its hard to express how you feel face to face and writing it down may be easier.
  3. Flowers are always welcome, but be sure there is something to put them in or consider the potted variety - Potted plants and flowers are also easier to transport home.
  4. Food - Check first on whether there are dietary or hospital restrictions and then consider what your friend likes to eat. Chocolate, mints or a basket of fresh fruit are obvious choices but you might also consider taking your friend a home-cooked meal or one prepared at her favourite restaurant.
  5. Special indulgences - Perhaps some hand cream, lip balm, slippers or fluffy socks. Or luxury  toiletries which will be a welcome relief from the standard hospital-issue sorbolene.
  6. A magazine or book- Consider your friend's interests in magazines: Lifestyle? Design? Gossip? News? And in novels: Thriller? Romance? The Classics? She will appreciate the thought as well as the content.  If you don't know your friend's reading taste  share one of your own favourites.
  7. A  journal. A personal journal is a great outlet for venting and reflection or for simply whiling away the hours doodling. Add a pack of pencils for drawing and colouring.
  8. Puzzle or novelty book - Think sudoku or crosswords, or for a bit of mindful distraction, a colouring book or origami pack. 
  9. A pack of cards or small game that can be played alone or with visitors. Games like Uno, Bananagrams, and Yahtzee don't take up a lot of time or space and can be easily packed away.
  10. Digital gifts in the form of ebooks, music or movies will help to beat the boredom of long days in hospital and offer what may be much needed distraction. Consider a gift card which will allow your friend to download exactly what they want. Or  add them  as a user on your Netflix account and loan them an iPad if need be.  (Most hospitals are wi-fi enabled, but if the hospital is older, you might want to make sure that internet access is available.)