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10 Handmade Christmas Gifts For A Loved One With Mental Illness

Often financial pressure over Christmas can be really stressful; the pressure to ‘keep up’ with everyone else and give expensive gifts can be daunting and can make it tough to stay stable if you have a mental illness. For loved ones of someone with mental illness, they may not be sure what gifts they could give that would be helpful. Fear not, handmade gifts can be just as beautiful and even more special.

These handmade Christmas gifts could be ideal to give a friend or family who suffers with mental illness, or for anyone you feel would enjoy them!

1. A handmade Christmas card

This might seem simple, but a handmade card or handwritten letter with a message inside to say how much you love them and care about them can mean the absolute world. Sometimes what seems like the ‘small’ things, can mean the world to someone else.

2. A framed handmade poster with a positive affirmation

Writing a positive affirmation or quote on a poster and framing it can be a lovely gift. You can make it as colourful or stylish as you like, you could stick to just the words or add drawings and paintings to get more creative, and you could even hand decorate the frame!

3. A jar full of self-care tasks

An empty jar filled with little folded pieces of paper, each with a self-care task on them that your loved one has to do when they pick it out, can be so thoughtful and practical. You make it as big or small a jar as you like depending on how many self-care tasks you want to include. You could include things like: take a break, watch your favourite movie, put on a particular song and dance around, call me for a chat and so much more. You can really personalise it.

4. A happy box

Making a box full of comforting and calming things to take out when your loved one feels they need some extra care can be such a lovely gift. You could decorate the box itself and include anything you can afford or feel is appropriate inside, like a cuddly teddy, a colouring book, some nail varnish, a fidget toy, really anything that you feel would be helpful.

5. A jar full of things you love about the person

Often mental illness can knock your confidence and make you feel worthless or hopeless. You could fill a jar with all of the things you love about them or even happy memories you have together on small folded pieces of paper so that when they’re feeling down or need a little confidence boost they can pick one out. You could even decorate the jar itself.

6. A handmade voucher book

You could make handmade vouchers and staple them together to make a little voucher book of activities such as ‘spending the day together’, ‘one homecooked meal’, ‘I’ll do your housework’; these vouchers could be for anything that you feel would be practical and helpful, or could be more funny and silly if you prefer depending on who you are making it for. Often those of us with mental illness struggle to keep up with daily tasks and may not ask for help, or may not reach out when we need someone to talk to, having a voucher is a fun and lighthearted way that can take the stress out of asking for assistance. You could get as creative as you like to decorate the vouchers themselves.

7. A handmade necklace or bracelet

Making handmade jewellery can be something so personal; you could include charms that really mean something to the person or speak to the relationship between you, or you could include a positive word or message on your jewellery.

8. Homemade biscuits or cakes

Home baking is always a welcome gift; for a lot of us with mental illness, it may not be something that we have the energy to do often and so getting some home-baked goods as a present could be so meaningful and comforting. You could package them in a creative way and include a positive message on the packaging.

9. A hand-drawn mindful colouring picture

Mindful colouring can be very calming. You could create your own mindful colouring picture for a loved one with just a piece of paper or card and a black pen. You could even include a little pack of colouring pencils to make the gift even more special. You don’t need to be an artist to create one; a lot of them are just patterns and shapes, it can be anything that you feel you can create.

10. A framed picture of you and your loved one

Giving the gift of a picture of you and your loved one, sharing a happy memory in a frame can remind them of those happy memories and be such a thoughtful keepsake; you could even hand decorate the frame.

I’d love to hear if you have any handmade Christmas gifts ideas in the comments! Happy holidays!



10 Handmade Christmas Gifts For A Loved One With Mental Illness

Ann-Marie D'Arcy-Sharpe

I am 32 years old. I live in Glasgow, Scotland UK with my husband and lots of lovely pets. I battle with Bipolar Disorder, fibromyalgia and arthritis. You can find my YouTube Channel here and you can also follow me on Twitter, here.

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APA Reference
D'Arcy-Sharpe, A. (2019). 10 Handmade Christmas Gifts For A Loved One With Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Dec 2019
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