A well-chosen gift can mean so much more than an exchange of a physical object, especially to someone unwell or going through a hard time”, says Anikka Burton founder of Not Another Bunch of Flowers.

It’s a way of communicating a message to the recipient and when some thought has gone into the selection process, it represents a wish for someone’s happiness”, continues Burton.

When someone is having a tough time, selecting a gift that expresses how you are feeling about that person can be an even trickier scenario than shopping for regular presents, such as those we give at Christmas.

If the recipient is unwell, a gift will likely mean so much more to them so choosing something that is thoughtful and even useful to them in their time of need shows amazing sentiment.

Not Another Bunch of Flowers was set up to help anyone be able to give a thoughtful present. The concept was inspired by Anikka’s personal experience when going through cancer; she received so many bunches of flowers that she ran out of vases, glasses, pots and pans to put the in. Anikka spotted a gap in the market for gifts thoughtfully curated for poorly people, things that would be meaningful and of use.

Here are Anikka’s top five tips for expert gift-giving to the unwell, although several can be transferred to gift giving to everybody:

  1. If your recipient is in hospital, make sure that your gift is hospital friendly. Some hospitals don’t allow flowers and some foods and toiletries may be unsuitable (pregnancy changes sense of smell and taste beyond belief and patients undergoing certain treatments are recommended to avoid certain chemicals in personal care). The toiletries on Not Another Bunch of Flowers are 100% natural, free from nasties such as parabens and SLS.
  2. Look for gift-spiration on Pinterest, as well as our website! If your friend has a Pinterest account of their own take a sneak peek on there to see if anything is suitable.
  3. If the recipient is going through a series of treatments, whether check-ups, back and forth trips for broken bones, scans or chemotherapy, keep a diary of the important dates. Not Another Bunch of Flowers offers a 100% bespoke gift subscription service, for which you can send a gift selection curated by you and to your budget to coincide with every milestone. These little tokens will give the recipient something to look forward to receiving at what may be a very emotional time.
  4. Don’t let the illness rule your final decision; keep the recipient’s personality in mind, and always be observant of their likes and dislikes. They are still the same person they were before, and they will be trying to not let their illness define them. That said, make sure your gift is sensitively chosen and appropriate.
  5. Don’t forget to include a letter or at least a card with containing a note. If they are in hospital or bed-bound, the accompanying words are going to help break the monotony and will brighten the recipient’s day no end. These Empathy Cards by Emily McDowell are ideal for those who sometimes struggle with what to say in times of health crisis.