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Top 10 Gift Ideas for Depressed People

Gift Ideas for Someone Who's Feeling Depressed

The best thing you can do for someone who is depressed is to be their friend. Listen to them and encourage them. I know because I have been there more than once. Just be with them.

Gift-giving can be complicated because holidays make very many people feel depressed, whether or not they are diagnosed as depressed. People have so many expectations about what they are supposed to do and be, that when one more year rolls around and these expectations haven’t been met, they may brood. In addition, it can be exhausting for a depressed person to try to figure out what relatives and friends expect during about the holidays. Feeling obligated to show pleasure at receiving a gift could just add to the stress.

Then again, there's a lot to be said for including your depressed friend or relative in the gift-giving ritual, especially on a birthday or holiday, by giving them a physical reminder that they are valued. You've already given them your support and love, but you might want to give something more.

If so, here are the best gift ideas for people with depression. I've selected gifts that might cheer them up, or give them some enjoyment. Don't expect any flood of gratitude, of course, but at some point your friend may find your gift useful.

  • A calendar with a daily positive message
  • Chocolate
  • Music
  • An excellent book about depression
  • A teddy bear
  • A trinket with a message
  • A light box
  • A blank journal
  • A funny movie or TV show
  • A gift for their hobby

Details below!

1. A Book With Daily Positive Messages

When I'm feeling down, reading something positive and spiritual can help me get through the day. A wide variety of calendars—religious, twelve-step, motivational, feminist—include a daily encouraging thought.

2. Chocolate

Chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, which cause pleasurable feelings, and might help lift depression; in any case, it can't hurt.

3. Music

Music is a great gift idea.

Tastes in music are very individual; people say different things about the music that makes them feel better. Some say their usual music makes them sad or angry, and they want to try something different. If the person likes rock, get them rock, if they like jazz, get them jazz. If you don't know what kind of music they like, buy them a gift card.

4. One Very Helpful Book

I highly recommend this book by David Burns. This is the closest thing I've found to depression therapy in a book!

5. A Teddy Bear

No one is too old to hug a nice soft teddy bear.

6. A Trinket Saying You Love Them

Sometimes when you're depressed, there's nothing better than a reminder that you are loved. A trinket with a message—a locket, a potholder, a cookie, a piece of candy—is at least a reminder within reach.

7. A Light Box—For Seasonal Depression

Some people get depressed in the winter when the days are shorter (a pattern called Seasonal Affective Disorder). If that is the case, a lamp or light box specially designed for light therapy can make a huge difference.

8. A Beautiful Blank Journal

Writing a journal has been shown to be therapeutic. Invite your friend to write or draw in a pretty blank book.

9. A Funny Movie or TV Show

Laughing makes everyone feel better!

Hogan's Heroes:  silly TV show

Hogan's Heroes: silly TV show

10. A Gift for Their Hobby

Your gift doesn't have to be different because they're depressed!

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Do they like to...






Be normal, if you like, and buy them a normal gift related to something that you know they've always enjoyed. It might bring back some happy memories and maybe even inspire them.

If they can't enjoy your gift while they're depressed, help them get treatment or medication for the depression. When they start to feel better, they might enjoy your gift then.

More Gift Ideas: Things You Can't Buy Online

  • Make a home-cooked meal, or order food in.
  • Take a walk with them. Go somewhere. Get out of the house.
  • Money is a great gift idea. They might be behind on bills.
  • Help them set up a doctor's appointment and offer to go with them. There is treatment for depression.

Depression: Be Informed

Do you have any good birthday or Christmas gift ideas for someone who's depressed?

elephantpackages on December 02, 2016:

Also check out elephant packages - they create care packages for adults and children with a mental health disorder. Packages are created at an affordable price by psychologists.

anonymous on February 28, 2013:

Good article . It could be more informative and interesting if you focus on your data . Thanks for sharing.

darciefrench lm on November 17, 2012:

Music by Robert Gass is very inspirational and motivational, I would love to recommend you offer his CD's, mp3's as gifts for those suffering from depression.

anonymous on August 06, 2012:

Sometimes the best gift is time. I remember two of my darkest times. One of them, one of the busiest moms I know loaded up her 5 kids into their van and drove through the snow to my house JUST to give me a Mountain Dew and a Hershey bar. I was so touched that she took the time and effort that it cheered me right up! The second time, I hadn't been out of my dark bedroom in 3 days and another friend came over and barged on in. She got right under the covers and looked at the ceiling with me, making it clear she had every intent on staying there until I got up. It wasn't too long before we were both laughing and crying together. I say there aren't too many things that are better than a great friend giving you the gift of their time when they know you need it.

siobhanryan on July 10, 2012:

This is a very good article and brilliant gift ideas

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