Hospital Novelty Gift Ideas

Written by melanie j. martin
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Giving and receiving novelty gifts can be a lot of fun on any occasion. Sometimes, though, they sit unused in a closet after a few moments of laughter. A novelty gift for a hospital patient should be something the person can use, since that person might have little to do for days or weeks on end. Many novelty gifts are both clever and useful, brightening up a person's day in many ways.

Personal Care

Personal care items are often welcome gifts for hospital patients. For teens, a makeover kit with brightly coloured nail polish, temporary tattoos, body glitter, and temporary hair dye (if parents are agreeable) could make a great gift. For either a teen or adult, you could purchase a facial scrub, masque, cleanser, toner, and lotion, and label them "Spa in a Basket." A personal massager would also be an excellent gift for a hospital patient, who might be sore from lying in bed much of the time.


Games are a great way to relieve boredom for a hospital patient, and they come in many forms. A handheld pinball machine or other small game can create hours of entertainment. Many people would also be thrilled to receive a customised puzzle featuring a picture of them and their loved ones, or a customised book of word searches and crossword puzzles. Anyone can create customised word puzzles on sites such as Discovery Education (see Resources), and have them bound at a copy centre.

Brain Teasers

Brain teasers can also include games, such as a Sudoku cube or a gift set of three-dimensional puzzles. Both of these gifts give the recipient at least a handful of puzzles to solve, instead of just one. Other brain teaser gifts could include books of riddles and logic problems, or optical illusion puzzles.


The giver should also consider the recipient's interests when choosing a gift. If the patient likes magic, he might enjoy a new prop or set of cards, or other materials for learning new tricks. Someone who enjoys modelling might love to receive a new project. Encouraging him to pursue a hobby will boost his spirits greatly.


Doctors and hospital administrators largely agree that exposure to nature aids in the healing process, as Nalini Nadkarni says in "Un-Natural Remedies," published in Orion Magazine. Psychologists agree that nature can aid in healing or preventing depression as well. At the same time, many patients have little direct exposure to nature. Plants are always a welcome gift, and a potted plant has the advantage of growing healthier instead of wilting. A terrarium would make an excellent novelty gift for a patient. A book about nature, with lots of colourful photos, could accompany the plant.

Animal Greetings

While in the hospital, some people long to see their animal friends. A slide show or videotape of their beloved companions might cheer them up, even though it might trigger some sadness. Some people need to see that their animal friends are doing well, and a video could help them to feel more connected as well. Use your best judgment about whether this would be beneficial to a loved one. You could also inquire with hospital staff about a therapy dog visit. Alternatively, a realistic stuffed animal could be comforting to many patients. For a child or teen, or even some adults, a virtual pet game could be fun and comforting as well.


Sometimes the delivery of a gift can be a gift in itself. Why not deliver it with a singing telegram? You could make up a song and practice it with another friend or family member beforehand, picking out silly hats or outfits. The recipient would probably appreciate the extra time and effort you spent.

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