As we head into the holiday season, figuring out what gifts to give everyone can add stress to what should otherwise (hopefully) be a peaceful, relaxing time of celebration with family and friends. And while we can’t allay all of your holiday stressors, we (at Origin Nurses) thought we could help eliminate some guesswork in finding a suitable Christmas gift for the travel nursing heroes in your life.
Things to Consider While Buying Gifts for Travel Nurses
The role of gift-giving is to add something to the lives of those around us, which can be achieved in a few different ways.
We can address a need. This would be more of an obligatory purchase that doesn’t necessarily evoke joy or enthusiasm but is needed nonetheless—for instance, something like laundry detergent. Sidebar, we will not recommend you buy a laundry detergent for anyone in this article.
We can address a desire which we don’t necessarily need but want. And this could be a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 428 V8. I don’t know about you, but our bank account won’t be buying cars for anyone anytime soon, but it’s a fun example.
We can address a problem which is the primary approach we’ll take here. However, it will overlap with the first two points in this problem-based approach. Now that that’s out of the way let’s get started.
10 Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas for Travel Nurses in 2022
We’ve identified 4 core problems that travel nurses encounter on a regular basis. Since travel nurses/healthcare workers love their acronyms in medicine, we decided to make our own here. And that is CL-A-U-S. These letters relate to the four core problems we’re trying to solve. So here we go. Cl stands for the clock as in time; A stands for alleviating; U stands for unwinding, and S stands for selflessness. All the gift ideas below would cover one of these categories.
Get them a subscription to a meal prep/ grocery delivery service
The problem here is time. Travel nurses typically maintain a hectic schedule, so they don’t always have time to do what they need or want to do outside of work. So any gift that saves them time or puts it back into their schedule is likely to be a success. And a great idea here would be anything related to food because meal prep outside work can be relatively time-consuming and tedious. The first idea here would be buying them a subscription to a grocery delivery service like Instacart. Another idea would be to buy them a subscription to actual meal prep and delivery service. There are many options here, but one we’ve used in the past is a pretty good factor. These can get a bit pricey over time, but one way around that would be to do it for a month.
Buy them comfortable shoes/scrubs/jackets
Moving into A (of CL-A-U-S), we have alleviated. The problem here, which hopefully won’t be surprising, is that healthcare workers work hard. The demands of the job can often be not only challenging but overwhelming. So any gift that will help alleviate some of that hardship in the workplace will be a surefire winner. This can be anything that will help make their job easier, make them more productive and comfortable or simply put a smile on their face while they’re working. Some ideas here would be comfortable shoes, scrubs, or jackets. Hospital shifts can be anywhere from 8 to 12 hours and sometimes even longer. So, if you’re going to be in uniform for that long and moving around as much as healthcare workers do, it’s essential to be comfortable. Any sort of comfortable, quality clothing item would be a great idea here. And if you want to add some extra flair, you could have it embroidered, such as a Patagonia jacket.
Get them a unique Badge reel
Adding to the uniform, you could also get them a fun, unique badge reel for their hospital ID. This helps to add some personality to the uniform and can also be a great conversation starter. For example, a Marine Corps badge reel helps illustrate more of who you are as a person. It helps remind you of where you come from and can spark great conversations when you meet veteran patients. This gift idea is relatively simple and cheap. It can be deep and meaningful or lighthearted and funny. But either way, when your friend who’s a travel nurse looks down at their ID and sees that badge reel, it’ll make them smile. And then also it’ll remind them of the awesome person that gave it to them.
No one can ever go wrong with Coffee.
One gift idea that will apply to the overwhelming majority of healthcare workers and students is Coffee. It could be something as simple as a gift card or a bag of Coffee, which is always appreciated. But if you want to make it extra special, you could get them a coffee subscription where they essentially get sent a different bag of Coffee from various roasters across the US each week. There are plenty of options here. However, this could get expensive over time. So, it would be reasonable to do it for a month. And just in case you’re curious, the Coffee of the week here is Joe Coffee. It’s their big city French roast Christmas coffee. Since it’s that time of the year, anything can be Christmas if you put the word Christmas in front of it.
Since everyone loves having Coffee, another great option related to it would be a personalized engraved Tumblr or a travel mug. And then, every time they take a sip of that delicious Coffee unless it’s hospital coffee, they’ll see that engraved message, smile, and think of you.
Find means to support their physical fitness journey.
Moving into U, which stands for unwinding. The problem here is stress. Secondary to the fast pace and literal life-and-death job that nurses perform daily, understandably, they’re exhausted physically. To help address this, a great gift idea would be anything to help them unwind, relax, or cope with the stressors of the job healthily. Some of the strongest levers we can pull to help combat stress relate to exercise, sleep, and diet. So, any gift that would help improve these things could go a long way. This could surprise them with a membership to the gym, CrossFit, yoga, or any exercise activity or group they like if they’re into lifting. A training template could be great if you need some ideas. Barbell Medicine and RP strength have some great templates. Getting them a gravity blanket is another excellent option. We’re not aware of any substantial supporting evidence for this, but at least anecdotally, they’ve had purported benefits to help with stress and anxiety.
Noise Canceling Headphones
Another Christmas gift idea for this category would be a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones. We all know the hospital can be very chaotic with all the fast-paced emergencies and alarms ringing around the clock. When you leave all that behind at the end of the day and get back home, it can be nice to unplug from all that chaos and zone into your world with some peaceful, relaxing music. Headphones are a great idea because they serve a dual purpose, particularly for students. Aside from promoting relaxation, noise-canceling headphones are also incredible for studying.
A day at the Spa
Moving into S, we have self as in cheap sale. The problem here relates to selflessness, which isn’t inherently a problem. However, sometimes travel nurses can get so wrapped up caring for others that they neglect themselves. So, a great idea to help address this would be any gift that permits and encourages them to be selfish or to feel pampered. This could be a day at the Spa or preparing a special dinner for them.
Take them out for a nice meal
One of my favorites would be taking a loved one out to a nice meal, which would hit on several points we’ve discussed. It could help save them time because that’s one less meal they’ll have to worry about. It could also create some of the weight of the job by allowing them to unwind or destress and then finally circling back around to the problem of the hectic schedule. It’s easy for all of us to get cocooned in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, and as a result, sometimes we can lose touch with people we care about, so taking a loved one out for a nice meal is a fantastic option. Because sometimes the greatest gift that you can give someone is your time.
Personalized gift box
Adding a touch of sentiments to ordinary and inexpensive gifts can, sometimes, make them extraordinary and invaluable. Many companies, such as Knack, Something Splendid, Fox Blossom, and Happy Box, specialize in personalizing gifts. Some things you can add to the basket are scented candles with a quote that hits home for them, a photo blanket, a personalized travel journal, a collection of personalized photo frames, or a chocolate basket with sentimental notes. Choose a theme, and personalize every aspect of your gift box. This is a picture-perfect gift for a partner or a BFF.
Travel nursing is far from an easy job. Constant moving and everyday life-and-death situations make all the more reasons for you to make your travel nursing friends’ holidays special. We’ve added all sorts of Christmas gift ideas for you to this list in hopes of helping you. If you’re looking for a travel nursing adventure, visit our website and view our job board to see whether there is something for you. Happy Holidays!