A CARDIAC-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS
A person with heart disease has been confronted with the reality of the fragility of life. We are all limited, mortal beings. We can’t control everything, What happens next is uncertain and unpredictable. Sometimes we need help to cope, and even to survive. Cardiac patients are on the accelerated program to understanding, processing, and accepting these facts of life.
At the beginning of their journey, they may be depressed, angry, unrealistic, whiny or downright cantankerous. As they resolve their issues, they become wiser, more compassionate, and more grateful for what they have. They may even lose their fear of death and learn how to live with an intensity that inspires others. True friends will accept what is happening and offer support through the process without trying to impose their own time-tables and agendas. Appropriate gifts can reflect that.
When selecting a gift, consider the personal style and emotional state of the intended recipient, as well as any physical limitations. When in doubt, choose a neutral gift that does not specifically address cardiac issues. Focus on the person, not the condition.
The Gift of Nutrition
Gifts of food should be heart-friendly. Think pretzels instead of potato chips, oatmeal cookies instead of chocolate, salmon pate instead of pate de foie. The staff at your health food store can help.
Herbals and supplements may interfere with heart medication. If you know that the patient is taking a supplement under medical supervision, you could add some of that to your gift basket. A gift certificate is the safest option.
Arrange for a lunch or dinner at a restaurant that offers delicious heart-friendly or vegan dishes.
The Gift of Encouragement
An inspirational plaque, picture, book or journal will be doubly appreciated if it is accompanied by a letter of appreciation.
A stuffed toy with a message of love or appreciation may be just what the doctor ordered.
A mug that proclaims WORLD’S GREATEST fisherman, golfer, cook, dad, mom, etc. could brighten the days to come.
Flowers are an upper for most people.
The Gift of Information
There are many books available for avid readers. If possible, check with a health care professional before buying. Browse through the book. Does it have an upbeat tone? Is it easy to understand? Take a look at “Heart Disease for Dummies.”
A heart smart cook book could be a big help for somebody who is not used to heart-friendly cooking. Take a look at Company’s Coming Heart Friendly Cooking or the Healthy Heart Cookbook for Dummies. Focus on dishes that will appeal to all members of the family.
The Gift of Motivation
Anything bright and cheerful will help. If the intended recipient is struggling to stick to a fitness program, how about some peppy music, a talking pedometer, funky athletic socks or shoelaces, a fancy monogrammed towel for the gym, a fancy fanny pack, or a glow-in-the-dark water bottle?
Become an exercise partner, or extend an invitation to go dancing or dog-walking or strolling through the park.
The Gift of Relaxation
How about a vibrating massage mat, a comfy pillow or fleece throw, a foot spa, a meditation CD, a relaxation DVD, a bug-shaped vibrator, an indoor fountain, a facial, or a professional massage?
The Gift of Focused Attention
Just be there. Listen. Pay attention. Play cards or board games, do a jigsaw puzzle, or work on a craft project. Help out with chores.
The Gift of Laughter
Have fun together. Ride bumper cars. Play carnival games. Watch crazy movies. Make music. Plan a party. Stick a geranium in your hat and a rose in your lapel. Buy silly ball caps and T-shirts. Dance like no one’s watching. Forget all about the hassles of everyday life.
Your gifts will come back to you, with interest. Guaranteed.