Obviously, the holidays are here. Haven't you heard the Muzak? So... have you done your shopping? We've already surpassed the last night of Hanukkah this year (ugh), but for those of you still looking for something special to make someone with diabetes smile, take a look here first. This is the first official DBMine Holiday Gift Guide, featuring some "out of the box" ideas for giving —
Give the gift of... health items:
Stop guessing and find out what someone with a health condition really wants and needs. Check out MedGift, an online "patient gift registry" that allows people to register for items important to them during illness, such as assistance with personal medical expenses, specific household items, and also emotional support like prayers and visits. MedGift was launched by Diem Brown, a former cast member on MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 23. She felt alone and lost trying to cope with chemotherapy, expensive medical bills and new challenges such as finding an affordable human hair wig. Friends and family kept offering to help, but Diem didn't have a way to accept, organize or keep track of these many kind offers. So she decided to build a medical gift registry that she could share with family and friends.
Any PWDs reading this might want to consider registering themselves, to help point your family and friends towards your real diabetes needs.
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Give the gift of... charitable items:
The Diabetes Research Institute in Miami recently partnered with fashion designer Amy Smilovic, owner of the Soho boutique Tibi, who designed a shirt in memory of Alfred Shaheen, who passed away in 2008 from diabetes complications. Shaheen was a garment industry pioneer, credited with "taking the 'Aloha' shirt beyond the shores of Hawaii to iconic postwar fashion status."
The new Tibi shirts in his honor are not cheap at $198 a pop, but $100 from every shirt will be donated to DRI. You can purchase them online at the Tibi website.
Here's D-gal Stacey Divone modeling her shirt:
If you're looking for something even cozier, check out PJs for a Cure, a new line of women's and children's pajamas launched by Komar, the largest sleepwear and intimate apparel manufacturer in the United States. The inspiration for PJs for a Cure is Liz Komar, the wife of Komar's President and CEO, Charlie Komar, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1990. Doing what they do best, Komar launched the new line to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation — and get this: 100% of the sales go directly to JDRF. Not just the profits, or the proceeds — all of it!
The American Diabetes Association also has a newly updated online gift store with proceeds benefiting the ADA. Items range from kitchen ware to candles and holiday decor to children's toys. Honestly, I've never been a big fan of their stuff before, but they are branching out of late with some more fun ideas, from Woozies to keep your wine cool to some pretty quirky table accessories.
Give the gift of... music:
The diabetes community is filled with musically-inclined folks:
* For teens, the Jonas Brothers have a D-Collection in their store, which benefits their Change for the Children Foundation (the foundation supports three organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). Their albums and memorabilia are also for sale. (See my chat with Nick Jonas last week, btw)
* Bret Michaels is making the rounds as the American Diabetes Association's newest celeb spokesperson and released his solo album, Custom Built, last summer.
Give the gift of... diabetes accessories:
There are lots of small businesses you can support this holiday season offering accessories designed specifically for PWDs; many of them are owned by PWDs themselves, and also support diabetes research in a variety of ways.
If you have a traveler, student or a pack mule in your life, aDorn's line of messenger bags are perfect for those who are tired of schlepping around multiple bags just to make sure they have everything they need. aDorn has also expanded to include glucose meter cases and a new, sleek handbag line. All products are designed for PWDs by Jennifer Dorn, diagnosed with type 1 in 1992. You can read my previous review here.
Skiddadle and Stick Me Designs also produce attractive yet very functional bags in a variety of styles and sizes for diabetes supplies. Creative cases for insulin pumps are also available, and CWD has a long list of companies that make fun insulin pump cases.
We all know how important medical ID bracelets are to PWDs, but the basic bracelets are, well, boring... and the pretty, snazzy versions can run a pretty penny. If you're in the market for an upgrade that bridges the gap, check out the line of Holiday bracelets at Lauren's Hope (launched by a teen with type 1, and where I purchased mine).
Looking for something a little more light-hearted? A few folks in the D-OC have launched their own virtual shops. Have a diabetes ninja in your life? From Mr. Ninjabetic himself, George Simmons, you can pick up your very own "Ninjabetic" t-shirt, mug or magnet, or the hilarious "Hate Diabetes, Love the Diabetic" magnet, mug and button. Or check out Gina Capone's Diabetes Talkfest store, which has a collection of creative tees featuring sayings like "I'm so sweet, I need insulin" and "I pump for seconds" and of course, my favorite...
Notice the no-food-included policy on gift ideas here? Nice to focus on something else at this season, ay?
Your additional holiday D-gift ideas are welcome, of course!