Holiday Gift Ideas for Those with AxSpA
It's the time of the year when I start wondering what to get my husband, Keegan, who was diagnosed with AxSpa 8 years ago. What can Santa bring this year to bring fun? Relaxation? Pain relief?
Look local for relaxing experiences
Keegan is a big fan of getting massages. His rheumatologist at Johns Hopkins even tried prescribing them. (No luck on the insurance side, unfortunately!) But if you're out looking for gifts to bring relaxation, I highly recommend looking locally for any of the following:
- Massages: Keegan finds medical massage and even sports massage to be beneficial, ideally for 90 minutes
- Candles and essential oils: Finding a local shop with lotions, candles, essential oils, etc. is great. Aromatherapy is a big part of helping him relax
- Bath time accessories: Epsom salts, bath bombs, you name it. These are great to look for at local shops selling home goods
Ask what helps the person with AxSpa relax mentally
For Keegan, that's video games. While I may not be getting him the latest and greatest (hello, PS5) this year, I can look for new games that are out. He finds playing video games to help distract him from the pain at his worst in the afternoon. Asking the person you're buying gifts for what activities help them get through the day or a rough flare-up. My go-tos for gifts are:
- Board games and video games: Board games are also great for having friends over and getting some social activity without having to go outside during those tough days
- Extended versions of movies: I'm thinking specifically of Lord of the Rings, but something where Keegan can deep-dive into the behind-the-scenes while resting on the couch
- Coloring books, art supplies, etc.: Keegan's an artist, so having easy art supplies is a must. Procreate on the iPad is his favorite app currently, as it gives him tons of tools without the clean up!
Find experiences to enjoy with others (and get out of the house!)
Finally, it's great to find experiences or activities to do together once Keegan is feeling better. This is particularly helpful if Keegan's struggling with depression. Over the years, I've collected tons of ideas for date nights and afternoons out to create good experiences with low physical exertion. Ideas include:
- Museum tours: Since we both love art, why not do a museum tour?
- Art classes: We did a ceramics class together and ended up signing up regularly to do ceramics. (Plus Keegan got to teach me a new craft!)
- Movie theater passes: Another opportunity to support a local business
- City or walking tour: If living in a big city, find a tour depending on how physical Keegan can be
- Surprise date night: I love taking Keegan out for a date night, but surprising him and planning something a bit more indulgent.
No matter what I may choose, what's most important for me is to make Keegan feel comfortable and happy. What gifts have been most meaningful, relaxing, and fun for you?
Can you tell when a flare is coming?