13 Great Holiday Gifts for a Loved One With RA

Some of the most cherished gifts are the items that we open up and think, “This is going to make my life better.” With a little creativity, you can give “that gift” to a loved one with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) this year. To give you some ideas, we asked people with RA what they’d love to get for the holidays. Their ideas? Items that can help them get things done, make everyday life more comfortable, and help them feel relaxed and pampered. Read on for a list of the services and stuff that will help do just that.

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Streaming Subscription

Real talk: When RA flares happen, they can knock you on your back for multiple days until you feel well enough to get up and move again. That means your loved one with RA can be looking at some chunks of downtime in their future. A streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Apple TV can be great company. Add a personal touch by putting together a list of your favorite feel-good shows so they have some ideas for what to watch when they’re resting up.

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Jomst Hand Warmer

Heat therapy can help reduce pain and stiffness in joints affected by RA. It works by reducing muscle tension and stimulating circulation. Hot baths, heating pads, and hot compresses can all do the trick, but what about when you’re on the go? This hand warmer is small and compact, heats up in three seconds, and has three different temperature settings. It’s also rechargeable and can even be used as a battery pack for a phone in a pinch. Your loved one can easily keep it in their coat pocket or purse so it’s ready whenever they need some relief.

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Thixotropic Fat Pens

Super-big pens go great as a gift alongside a journal, but you can also give them on their own (they make great stocking stuffers!). Why are these pens special? People with RA often have a hard time gripping things. These fat pens from Thixotropic, a company that designs ability aids for people with arthritis, let them loosen their grip and relieve some of the discomfort that they may feel with regular-sized pens or pencils. While you’re at it, maybe just snag a five-pack so they can keep one in every place they might need it.

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Prepared Foods Delivery

Cooking meals—especially prep work—can be a real challenge for swollen, painful joints. A subscription or gift card for a healthy and nutritious meal delivery service is a great gift for someone with RA. Look for one that sends ingredients pre-chopped and pre-portioned, or better yet, find one that sends already-made meals. Daily Harvest items—smoothies, grain bowls, flatbreads, soups, and more—are a great option. They all come frozen and require minimal prep work: Just add to a blender (smoothies) or heat up on the stove, and you’ve got a delicious and nutritious meal or snack ready to go.

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Book-of-the-Month Club

Know a literature-lover? A book-of-the-month club subscription allows them to choose from a curated list of five books every month, and it gets mailed right to their front door. Having some good reading material on hand—and particularly, a book that’s a real page-turner—can help when RA flare-ups result in cancelled plans and a need for a quick mental escape. There’s nothing like a really good book to distract you from what’s going on in life, if even just for a brief amount of time.

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CBD Olive Oil

Research suggests that CBD may be beneficial in helping people manage chronic pain, including those with arthritic pain. While the science isn’t totally conclusive yet, anecdotally, many people with RA say that they’ve found some relief ingesting CBD or putting it directly on the affected joint. This Cannaves olive oil, infused with organic full-spectrum hemp extract, makes it easy to incorporate CBD into a daily routine. They can simply use it in place of regular olive oil when cooking or drizzling over salad. (Just make sure that your loved one has cleared the use of CBD with their doctor before giving this as a gift.)

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Electric Jar Opener

Electric jar openers can turn opening jars from a painful necessary evil to an effortless part of the day. This electric jar opener simply attaches to the top of any jar, and with the press of a button, it will rotate automatically to open the jar. No gripping and twisting required. Make the gift more special by including a few jars of their favorite food so they’ll be excited to test out their new gadget ASAP.

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A Gratitude Journal

With any chronic health condition, caring for one’s mental health is just as important as caring for the physical. And let’s be honest, a lot of people may not give it as much attention as they should. A journal that helps your loved one be more mindful and focus on the things in life they are grateful for can be a really helpful way to foster positivity and joy despite what’s going on with their body. This Self-Care Reflection Journal prompts the writer to reflect on their day, and this 100-day Happiness Planner merges to-do lists and goals with introspection to make sure the writer’s planning their life around things that bring them joy.

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Cleaning Service

Cleaning your house requires a lot of physical work that can sometimes be impossible for people with RA to do. Whether it’s a deep clean once per season or a service that will come clean their house for a couple of hours every few weeks, any help with this task would be greatly appreciated. Look for a local cleaning service and give a gift card or set up a recurring service so they don’t have to worry about how they’re going to get it done.

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Compression Gloves

If they don’t already have a pair of compression gloves, it’s time to change that. Compression gloves apply pressure to help improve blood circulation, thereby reducing swelling. Many people with RA find that wearing them can help relieve stiffness and pain. The open-finger design on this pair from Vive makes it easy to still go about daily life (as much as they can) when they’re wearing them. This pair from Thermoskin is another great option. The gloves combine compression and gentle heat therapy to maximize arthritis relief.

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Hand Massager

For some people with RA, massages can really relieve pain and improve function. This CINCOM rechargeable and portable hand massager can help your loved one with RA get quick, immediate relief for stiff hands. This handy little device has three massage modes and three strength options, so the user can adjust the settings until they have the perfect amount of pressure to feel better. It also has a heating feature, so they can benefit from heat therapy at the same time.

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Mineral Bath Salt

Something a lot of people with RA told us is that sometimes they just want to feel pampered. Bath salts can help turn a regular old hot bath into a more spa-like experience, which can help your loved one feel more at ease and less stressed while they simultaneously soothe their stiff joints. These AHAVA bath salts come in two relaxing scent options—eucalyptus and lavender. If you want to make a cute gift set, pair the salts with an equally soothing candle or a plush bath robe.

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Foot Peel

Giving oneself a pedicure isn’t easy, and for people with RA, it may be impossible considering the positioning you have to get yourself in to access your own toes. The Baby Foot Peel is hugely popular because it is so simple to use (just slip your feet into the “socks” and it does its thing) and thoroughly exfoliates your feet—leaving them literally baby soft. It’s a great way for someone to pamper themselves with very minimal effort, leaving them feeling fresh and new (well, their feet at least).

Amy Marturana Winderl
Meet Our Writer
Amy Marturana Winderl

Amy is a freelance journalist and certified personal trainer. She covers a wide range of health topics, including fitness, health conditions, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, and more. Her work has appeared on SELF, Bicycling, Health, and other publications. When she's not busy writing or editing, you can find her hiking, cooking, running, or lounging on the couch watching the latest true crime show on Netflix.