10 Chemo Care Package Ideas to Show You Care

When a loved one is going through chemo, you want to do anything you can to make them feel better. You can show support in a lot of different ways, but one good place to start could be with a thoughtful care package. An assortment of their favorite or most helpful goodies is sure to bring a smile to their face.

We asked our community to share some of the favorite items they’ve given or received in a gift basket while going through chemo. Check out all their wonderful ideas:

1. A Handwritten Note

A handwritten note has a place in every care package. You can write a personal note, or get a whole group to share their well wishes. 

If you’re looking for a place to start, here are some tips on writing a get well soon card.

“[Give] notes and cards with supporting words.”

Nancy O.H.

2. Foods that Help with Nausea

Gift your loved one a food or drink that can help combat any nausea they may be experiencing. Consult this list to see what foods and drinks help with nausea. One idea is to gift a pack of herbal tea. Peppermint and ginger can help with nausea, plus a cup of tea can provide a calm, soothing warmth.

“Dark chocolate always worked for me as well as assorted crackers for nausea.”

Deanna F.

“Lemon/ginger candy!”

Christine F.L.

3. Meals & Restaurant Gift Cards

Include a gift card to their favorite restaurant for when they get a craving. You can also consider making some prepared meals and dropping them off at your loved one’s home. Time spent in hospitals or clinics likely means fewer home-cooked meals, so that can be quite a thoughtful gesture.

“Get them a [gift card] for the days they want their pizza.”

Sandra Z.

“My best gift was a cooler filled with prepared meals. So thoughtful.”

Kathy H.

4. Lotion

High-quality lip balm and lotions are a helpful and considerate gift that can help with your loved one’s dry skin and lips. Opt for unscented options, as chemotherapy can increase sensitivity to smells.

“Hand cream their hands get very dry, numbing mouth rinse for sores in their mouth, body lotion for overall dry skin.”

Sandra Z.

5. Cozy Items for Sleep

Chemo patients may experience trouble sleeping due to changes in their sleep schedule brought on by treatment and medications. A thoughtful gift could include items that encourage sleep to come a little easier. 

This could include things like:

  • Sleeping masks
  • Satin pillowcases
  • Neck pillows
  • Weighted blanket
  • Fuzzy socks/slippers
  • Pajamas
  • Bathrobe
  • Bath soaks
  • Diffuser and essential oils
  • Heating pads

6. Water Bottle

Having a water bottle on hand can help your loved one stay hydrated. A high-quality water bottle, (perhaps with a fun design) is a practical and helpful gift that will likely get a lot of use.

7. Subscriptions

The hours can get long during chemo treatments. Your loved one might appreciate some new options to keep themselves entertained.

Find out what subscriptions they already have and purchase something new. This could include subscriptions for: streaming services, audiobooks, music, or online games. Consider what your loved one would enjoy the most and brainstorm from there.

8. Games

In addition to the more technological forms of entertainment, consider going back to the basics and buying your loved one some physical games. This could include card games, cribbage, board games, word games, trivia. Pick out something you can play together, whether virtually or during an in-person visit.

9. Clothing

Scratchy or irritating fabric is no good for someone going through chemo. You can consider adding very soft, comfortable clothing options as part of your gift basket. A few options could include:

  • Sweaters and sweatshirts
  • Non-slip socks
  • Hats
  • Comfy sweatpants
  • Head wraps/scarves

10. Books

Books have a unique way of helping hours slip by. Consider including a book you think they might enjoy in your care package. This may be a novel or book of poems, or something more active, like a coloring book or journal. 

“Word searches, crosswords, Suduko puzzle books, coloring books, crayons, markers, pens, journals, notebooks.”

Patricia G.

Speaking of journals, you might consider starting a CaringBridge for your loved one. CaringBridge offers a free online journal that your loved one can use to keep friends and family updated on their health, and receive messages of love and support back. 

Start a CaringBridge Site

When you’re going through a health journey, you have a lot on your plate. CaringBridge replaces the time-consuming task of sharing your health news over and over. It’s a free, easy to use online journal for sharing health information with your family and friends.  

Don’t go through your health journey alone.

You can stay connected to friends and family, plan and coordinate meals, and experience love from any distance.

All of this is ready for you when you start your personal CaringBridge site, which is completely free of charge, ad-free, private and secure. Don’t spend another minute alone!

Have More Care Package Ideas?

If you’ve given or received a care package that made you smile, what items were included? Please feel free to share your stories and ideas in the comments below. 

  • Jodi Marneris

    I received so many wonderful and useful items—a reusable tote bag that I took back and forth to chemo. It was filled with lemon drops, a journal book, warm socks and a book with inspirational quotes. An assortment of cotton caps–I called them “chemo caps.” They kept my head warm and could be fancied up with a scarf around them. Caps came from headcovers.com. I got another basket with lemon drops, a bottle of Biotene (to help with dry mouth), hand and body lotions, a coloring book and colored pencils, and a small, polished stone that read “Hope.” I also received beautiful blankets, “warrior” bracelet, bath bombs, eye mask to get the light out when trying to sleep, slippers, and several books–one of which was “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” Plus, a package of note cards that I used to send thank you messages to those who gave me the gifts–along with a booklet of stamps! Another basket had a soup mug and an assortment of broth soups, plus a gift from a soup company that had a huge container of homemade chicken noodle soup, a ladle, some crackers and some homemade chocolate chip cookies. Another gift was an assortment of wonderful novels to read along with a journal book and pen. The list goes on….and everything was most appreciated!

  • Brenda Stowell-Smith

    I received a couple of different blankets…one quilted…one heavier and softer; a pillow…and an outdoor lounge chair for convalescing in the summer. Great ideas for recovery time on the couch or outside!!!

  • Barry Grainger

    Packs of chewing gum to keep from gas buildup in your stomach after intestinal cancer surgery. A good straw cup to hold ice chips and spill proof. A can of handi wet wipes for emergency spills or general cleanup.A small bottle of hand sanitizer for Covid a long with extra paper masks. I just recently came thru 13 day stay in hospital in cancer rehab and found these items to be useful but not supplied by hospital