This time of year, family and friends of docs and/or docs in training are looking for the last minute holiday gifts (if you are trying to have them shipped) or planning the trip to the store(s) for gifts.
The one thing any busy person doesn’t have enough of is time. If you think about it in that context, you can find presents to support interests, fitness, studying (or just having fun) in a thoughtful way.
1. Someone to help clean their home. It is the most amazing present to come one once a week (or even once a month) to a house that has been cleaned by someone else. If there are family members who are willing (and it’s appropriate) you can put together a gift of cleaning supplies with a certificate for monthly housecleaning. If not, word of mouth to find the best person is usually the best way, and will often help you find someone who also does laundry and ironing. (a true gift!). There are professional services in every city as well that can be found with an easy internet search.
2. Something to help integrate fitness into their every day activities. If they don’t have a good bike to commute to school or the hospital (and this is something they would like) this is a great present. Don’t forget the helmet, reflective vest and very bright lights as part of the package!
3. A fast computer. If they have the same computer they had in college and you are able to do this for them, the time they will save in uploads will be very appreciated!
4. A smart phone or mini iPad (especially the new iPad air). Like the computer, if the phone they have is more than 3-4 years old, the upgrade will be much appreciated. The mini iPad (instead of the regular size) fits in a white coat pocket, which is why it’s ideal for anyone who wears a white coat. If they have an iPad, think about some of the more expensive medical apps. (or a certificate for the App store
5. Kitchen appliances to save time (and promote healthy eating). My favorites on this list would include a rice maker (which can also be used to steam meat and vegetables), a pressure cooker a slow cooker or the Krups multi-cooker. A blender is always a good gift (to make smoothies and soups). If you are feeling particularly generous, a VitaMix instead of a blender is much more versatile (and makes much better smoothies!).
6. Prepared meals. If you have family who love to cook, you can make a “certificate” for homemade food in freezable portions. If you can afford it, there are personal chefs who do the same thing. You can also give them a gift certificate for a grocery store like Whole Foods that has healthy prepared food or companies that deliver healthy meals (In Houston, it’s companies like MyFitFoods – but this varies from city to city).
7. Fitness equipment for home. For medical students who are spending a lot of time studying think about a FitDesk, FitBike or a treadmill desk. The standard stationary bikes, treadmills, etc are another option, but they are expensive and you have to really know that they are preferred over going to the gym (see #8). A less expensive but very effective gift would be a “fitness care package” with resistance bands, FitDeck cards, a gift certificate for running shoes, and other small less expensive gifts.
8. A membership in a local gym. You can also consider a certificate for group classes in spinning, yoga, or whatever they enjoy.
9. Time with family and friends. Think about a “certificate” for time together – maybe with restaurant gift cards or movie gift cards attached. A “certificate” for a monthly home cooked meal? If you aren’t in the same town, think about how to make it easy for them to spend time with their friends. If you know their favorite restaurant or hangout, see if you can get a gift certificate. If not, go for tickets to the local theater, one of the movie chains (find out which one is closest to where they live), or their favorite restaurant chain. If they have children, babysitting is a wonderful gift.
10. Whatever you can think of that makes gives them more time and/or will support them during times of stressful and busy work!