Gift guide for mast cell disease

Like many people with chronic illness, my life is shaped by fatigue, pain, and mobility issues. However, mast cell “allergies” or triggers present unique challenges with life threatening consequences. As a result, most people are downright scared to give me a gift.

Well, technically everyone. On my birthday this year. I’m not bitter.

So here is my gift guide for people with mast cell disease. Because I think we deserve gifts!

Practical gifts

  • Delivery services

My favorites are Amazon Prime and Instacart. Leaving the house is difficult for people with mast cell disease. Delivery services allow us to avoid a myriad of triggers, while getting what we need.

  • Air filter

The most expensive item on my wishlist is an Austin Air Filter. I have one at work and one at home. The Healthmate Plus helps me combat laundry fumes.

  • Extra long phone charger(s)

These are especially helpful in the hospital, where phone batteries usually die and the outlets are far from the hospital beds. It’s great to have more than one charger to stash in different places.

  • Vogmask

I always carry a Vogmask in my purse to filter out chemicals, smoke, and pollen. It’s great to have more than one design to choose from! I prefer the Medium + size. If you  get a mask that is too small, you will struggle to breathe.

Self-care gifts

  • Magnesium salt

Magnesium salt baths are not only relaxing, but they can soothe muscles and reduce swelling. I prefer magnesium salt over epsom salt because there are less issue with toxicity and I think the salt is less messy than magnesium oil.  I buy mine at Whole Foods.

  • Vanicream

Winter is coming and every year it destroys my sensitive skin. Vanicream was developed at the Mayo Clinic, and is my personal favorite moisturizer.

  • Books, music, and movies

These gifts help us pass the time, escape our realities, and sometimes find inspiration. Subscription services are great if you’re unsure of the recipient’s taste. I particularly like Audible, because audiobooks are perfect for when I can’t focus my eyes or sleep.

Gifts of love and support

  • Cards with handwritten notes

Sometimes it’s easier to write the touchy feely stuff than say it aloud. I cherish cards much more having been through tough experiences with mast cell disease.

  • Homemade gifts

Particularly those we can admire from our couch or bed, where we spend most of our time. Consider incorporating our favorite colors, or quotes.

  • A framed photo or art piece

Remind us what we are fighting for! Beauty, inspiration, nostalgia.

Bonus gifts

  • Toys for pets

Most spoonies I know have pets that are incredible companions. We find joy in making our pets happy.

The no-no list:

  • Anything that smells
  • Anything containing health advice
  • Plants
  • Food
  • Clothes, beauty products, or jewelry
  • Gift cards to stores we cannot enter due to allergies or mobility issues. If you’re going to give a gift to an online store, please consider the shipping fee.

There are exceptions if you’re willing to put in extra time and energy! 

For example:

  • Buy a few clothing items for the recipient to choose from and offer to return/exchange what doesn’t work. Soft, loose clothing is best. I like Pact clothing because it’s made with organic cotton.
  • Restock their favorite products. Take the time to find out exactly what they enjoy most.
  • Fulfill a specific request. When in doubt, ask! We are thrilled when people want to learn more about our illness and help!

Whatever you do, don’t make us feel guilty if your gift makes us sick. Sometimes our triggers change and we are as surprised as you are. Thoughtfulness, flexibility, and communication goes a long way with mast cell disease.

Please note, this is a general guide. Not everyone with mast cell disease will benefit from all of these gifts. Our triggers vary by individual.

10 thoughts on “Gift guide for mast cell disease

  1. I don’t have mast cell disease, but I do have Lupus! My favorite gifts are soft clothes. It’s pretty much a winner, along with comfortable shoes. Anything that’s soft and comfortable. I joke that I’ve essentially become a cat. If it’s soft and warm, I want it!

  2. So much of this was absolutely spot on for me (not everything, because we’re all so different in the Mast cell world, right?).

    But thank you for posting this, because I never would have thought to ask for a delivery service when folks ask about gift ideas, and yet that’s such a perfect gift idea!

    Thanks again for putting this up!

  3. This is so great! a few things I have asked for: hand/foot warmers. I can wear cozy socks and UGGs and still feel like my toes are icicles. Home maintenance services- there is so much we don’t have the energy to do, or is just too high risk. It gets very expensive. For the other masties, I create a pinterest board I share with my gift circle. I add things to it with the pinterest browser extension throughout the year and then they have a personal catalog of items for birthdays or other holidays of things I like. Since I explain I don’t really ‘need’ anything, it’s just a ‘like list’, and I can add enough variety that I am still surprised when I open the box.

  4. I’ve desperately been looking for a face cream that I can tolerate so I am happy to find the Vanicream. I have looked up the ingredients, though, and it has petroleum jelly in it which concerns me. Aren’t petrochemicals dangerous?

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