How to plan for Christmas with terminally ill relative?
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  1. #1
    Registered User AspiringToBeFrugal's Avatar
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    Default How to plan for Christmas with terminally ill relative?

    As in past years, DH and I have our Christmas gift budget planned out for the 15 or so people we plan to buy for. However, this year is slightly different as my brother has terminal cancer--according to doctors, he has just a few weeks left, though we all know that God is in charge and NOT the doctors. Sad, but at the same time, being able to know and plan ahead of time is a blessing.

    My question is, how do I plan for Christmas gifts for him when he may or may not be here? Additionally, due to my impending due date, we'll be celebrating Christmas early with him and his family. My initial thought is to plan something very generic for him--gift card, some baked goods or snack items--that I can buy/make at the last minute.

    A follow up question would be--do I reallocate the money I have budgeted for his gift to someone else's gift amount?

    Do you have any other suggestions or ideas? TIA.
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  2. #2
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    I would give him a present that the whole family can use, maybe a GC for something that will help them out now but could be used later, if the people he leaves behind need it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User valerian's Avatar
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    I'm sorry that you are going through this! We had the same type of situation with my dear Grandma. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer the first week of Nov. and died on Jan. 28th. Christmas was a somewhat happy time because it was Christmas and she was still with us, but it was also very, very sad because we all knew that it would be her last one with us. I felt almost smothered by the sadness, but everyone made the best of it and we cherished the time we had with her. She was very well loved. As for gifts, she received the same type of stuff that she would normally get. Her favorite flowers were violets and I bought her some special jewelry made by the Bradford Exchange I believe that was called "Violets in the Snow" or something like that. I got her the ring and she loved it! She wore it til her death! Dh bought me the matching bracelet, earrings, and necklace after she died and I got the ring back. I also bought her a small pillow with a sun on it that played "You Are My Sunshine" when you pressed on it...'cause she was my sunshine. I also got her some smaller items like lotions and candy...things to make her more comfortable.

    For your brother I'd just make or give him something that he would really enjoy for the time he has left or something to make him feel more comfortable or "normal". At some point during my Grandma's last few weeks (not for Christmas) I fought her a little Coke in the glass bottle and some Cow Tales candy...not nutricious of course, but her appetite was non-existent and she loved those two things so what did it matter? The point is it made her happy.

    I wouldn't personally allocate his gift amount to anyone else, but that's just me. Sorry I can't help more.

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    Registered User pollypurebred39's Avatar
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    How about a family video? Compile all the pictures of your childhood together, family outings, graduations, birthdays. Any home movies too. Set to music, add captions. Something heart felt that you all can watch together and create a new memory, and that he can watch later if he's up to it?

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    I'm so sorry to hear that you and your family are going through this. Some good ideas up above. Another idea might be to give him a present that will "live on" after he passes, like maybe planting a tree in a special place.

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    How about a scrapbook or album of cards where family members, friends, co-workers write what he has meant to them during the time that they knew him? Have them tell him how he influenced them for good in some way or how he affected them in a good way. If I were terminal, that would mean more to me than anything else I could think of..to know that I had been a positive influence on people or to know that I had encouraged them in some way.

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    I was going to suggest family pictures etc - that will have so much meaning for everyone. I know that I will be doing something similar for my dear MIL.

    Allocate the funds - I wouldn't = it would be the same thing if you planned to spend XX amount on someone and found just what you wanted on sale - you win both ways - getting the gift you want and saving money- nobody's keeping score.

    I'm glad that you'll be having an early holiday - shall be thinkig of you.
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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Get him something you'd normally get him for Christmas but buy it closer to the actual time when you will be seeing him. It may cost more but it won't be money spent that you will have to spend more time trying to get a refund. Should he not be able to share the holidays with you (if he's passed on) I'd allocate the money you'd normally spend on his gift and use it to make a donation or his fave charity in his name and present it to the rest of his surviving family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valerian View Post
    I'm sorry that you are going through this! We had the same type of situation with my dear Grandma. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer the first week of Nov. and died on Jan. 28th. Christmas was a somewhat happy time because it was Christmas and she was still with us, but it was also very, very sad because we all knew that it would be her last one with us. I felt almost smothered by the sadness, but everyone made the best of it and we cherished the time we had with her. She was very well loved. As for gifts, she received the same type of stuff that she would normally get. Her favorite flowers were violets and I bought her some special jewelry made by the Bradford Exchange I believe that was called "Violets in the Snow" or something like that. I got her the ring and she loved it! She wore it til her death! Dh bought me the matching bracelet, earrings, and necklace after she died and I got the ring back. I also bought her a small pillow with a sun on it that played "You Are My Sunshine" when you pressed on it...'cause she was my sunshine. I also got her some smaller items like lotions and candy...things to make her more comfortable.

    For your brother I'd just make or give him something that he would really enjoy for the time he has left or something to make him feel more comfortable or "normal". At some point during my Grandma's last few weeks (not for Christmas) I fought her a little Coke in the glass bottle and some Cow Tales candy...not nutricious of course, but her appetite was non-existent and she loved those two things so what did it matter? The point is it made her happy.

    I wouldn't personally allocate his gift amount to anyone else, but that's just me. Sorry I can't help more.
    I agree with Valerian I would not allocate his gift amount to anyone else. If he is not around for the holidays I would celebrate it with him like it was actually that Holiday, decorate his room just for the holidays. I know that I would enjoy it.

    I am sorry that you are going thru this, just have the holidays with him before the actual holiday.

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    Registered User Momto5RN's Avatar
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    i would make something personal if i had the time something that maybe his family or your parents could have after he passes.

    if no time for that i would probably shop closer to the time and if sadly he doesnt make it donate that money to a charity - drop it in a salvation army bucket or slip it i a card and anonymously drop it off to someone i knew was having hard financial times and smile knowing he was contributing to making someone else happy even after he was gone.

  11. #11
    Registered User AspiringToBeFrugal's Avatar
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    Thank you, everyone, SO MUCH for your kindness and suggestions. They are very much appreciated!
    Every Little Bit Helps
    February 2014 Goals
    ~ Only 4 eat-out days: 3/ 4
    ~ Get checkbook balanced
    ~ Track spending daily: 18/28
    ~ 15 no-spend days: 13/15
    ~ 16 exercise days: 3/16
    ~ $200 for groceries: $200/$200
    ~ No wasted food
    ~ Read 3 books: 2/3
    ~ Meal plan each week: 3/4
    ~ Try one new recipe each week: 4/4
    ~ Make an extra $100 for savings
    ~ Make 2 Christmas gifts: 0/2


    Debt (as of 1/1/2014):
    Car Loan: $
    Credit Card: $
    Personal Loan: $1600

    Change Jar Challenge: $3.68

  12. #12
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    That's so hard and I'm so sorry you are going thru this. If it were me I'd go for something meaningful. Something that will make him feel good. Is he still able to get out? Could you get him tickets to do something with you or take him to some kind of an experience or event? Another thought is cash or thoughtful gift certificates- are massages comfortable for him? Or something that will make him comfortable....does he listen to music? I'd give him time and love. So hard- I'm sorry.

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    Registered User ncarr's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry about your brother. I would get a giftcard and make a small scrapbook with pictures and favorite memories written out. I'm sure he would like it and it would be nice for his kids to have later

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    We went through this a few years back with my dad, he had cancer also. Really, we didn't do anything "different", but our family had not been big gift exchangers to begin with. I think the normalcy of it all was much appreciated by him. He got to sit back for a day and watch the grandchildren play, without the focus being on him and his cancer. It was a nice day. In our case, I think a memory book would have upset him, but that's just the way he was. Normalcy was good. Everyone was there, that was the important thing.

    He didn't care about the present, we actually got something that was a combined gift for him & Mom (new faucet in their house that was much needed). If you do something like this...install it! That's even a better present. lol Getting him something that required him to "go out" would have been a really bad idea in our case, especially since he could no longer drive and lacked the energy to do that. At this stage of cancer, that's often the last thing he'd wanted to do (he passed shortly after Christmas). Take into account things like this before buying a gift certificate to a restaurant or something like that. Food is often not appealing to a terminally ill cancer patient.

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    Default helping the terminally ill & their families with wishes

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