8 Care Package Ideas for a Sick Friend or Family Member

Make their day instantly brighter.

7 min read

Fall is my favorite time of year — give me all the cozy sweaters, gorgeous leaves, and pumpkin-spiced everything. But it also means sniffles are ubiquitous in my house (I have two little kids in preschool), and it’s close to impossible to avoid colds and other completely unfun sick days.

What I’ve learned from this experience is that it’s always nice to get a little get-well-soon gift from a loved one when you’re sick. It may or may not speed up the recovery time, but it will make the day a little less miserable. So if your friend — or anyone you love — is stuck at home with piles of tissues, why not send them some treats?  

For a little inspiration, here’s what I’ll be sending the people in my life when they need a pick-me-up. These unexpected and thoughtful care packages will make their day a little more entertaining, or soothing, or delicious. They’ll also remind your loved one that you’re thinking of them and cheering for a fast recovery.

And if you’re wondering what to order for me on DoorDash, well, hint hint. 


All the Sheet Masks

 When I’m sick, you can see it on my face. It feels incredibly blah. A face mask is the ideal solution. It will banish winter-is-coming dullness and give your complexion a healthy glow while pampering you when you’re stuck at home. I always feel like I’m doing something nice for myself when I unwrap a sheet mask and lay the cool fabric on my face. You can browse lots of face mask options  here. 

Fancy Nonalcoholic Drinks

 I’m a firm believer that large volumes of tea will help me recover, so I spend all day carrying around cups of ginger turmeric and Earl Grey tea when I’m not feeling 100%. By the time evening rolls around, I can’t look at another tea bag. Yet I don’t want to drink alcohol when I’m sick. Fortunately, there have never been more quality options for nonalcoholic cocktails and beer — I love the selection from Athletic and Brooklyn Brewery. Your local liquor store probably carries something delicious. I highly recommend The Pathfinder non-alcoholic spirit, which is smooth, complex, and just the right amount of bitter, and St. Agrestis Non-Alcoholic Phony Negroni, which tastes astonishingly like the real deal. 

Excellent Bagels

There’s no better sick person breakfast, lunch, and anytime-snack than a bagel. Especially if your sick friend does not live in New York City, hook them up with the joy that is Black Seed Bagels. They’re perfectly dense — not overly so — and soul satisfying. They’re fantastic slathered in scallion cream cheese, piled with Black Seed’s house smoked salmon, or used as a vehicle for an egg sandwich. When my stomach is acting funny and I don’t want to eat much, a toasted bagel with butter hits the spot. 


Fancy Lotion and Refreshing Face Spray

Back to my face mask theory: If you’re stuck at home, you might as well turn it into a spa. Lovely smelling lotions and face sprays are cues to slow down and inhale. Plus, you don’t have to break the bank to gift something lavish. I’m a big fan of Garnier SkinActive Facial Mist Spray with Rose Water, which is available at most drugstores. It makes your skin look and feel all dewy and smells like a rose garden after a rainstorm.


There’s no better gift for your woo-woo friend then crystals to usher them back to health. The Crystalary, an ethically sourced, women- and veteran-owned rock shop, has plenty of excellent options. Send a bracelet made of amethyst, known for its soothing vibes and said to help ease anxiety and stress. Or go for moss agate, a grounding stone that brings emotional, physical, and intellectual balance — and that earthy shade is beautiful, too. 

Gorgeous Fruit

Fruit makes an ideal sick person gift for a few reasons: It’s colorful and happy making; it’s a great dose of Vitamin C, and your sick friend may not have much time for grocery shopping. Frog Hollow Farm doesn’t supply just any fruit, though. The organic fruits are picked at the height of ripeness so they make the platonic ideal of a mango, or an Asian pear, or an orange. They look and taste rather perfect (they might make you a little sad when you return to the grocery store standard).


A Pretty Puzzle

Sometime around sick day number two, the prospect of watching endless television starts to feel less luxurious. A 1,000-piece jigsaw can keep me happily occupied for hours. Staples has some fun options. When my kids get older, I hope they’ll enjoy taking on a puzzle with me while we listen to music and munch on fancy fruit. Until then, it’s an after-bedtime or sick-day-only activity for me.

Sick Day Standbys 

When in doubt, send a care package that will save a trip to the pharmacy and help speed up the healing process. Start with hydration essentials, like coconut water, Gatorade, and/or soothing tea. Throw in some cough drops, tissues with lotion, and even a lip balm. Practical and sweet.

  PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Walgreens