18 DIY Post-Surgery Care Package Ideas to Send

Contributing writer, former long-term care admissions counselor and social worker

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It’s hard to know what to say to someone after they have surgery. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to show how you feel by taking action.

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These 18 surgery care package ideas will show that you care and can help to support your loved one post-surgery.

Post-Surgery Care Package Ideas for a Child

Kids don’t like to sit still. However, it can be extremely important that they do so after surgery. Keeping kids comfortable and entertained is difficult but can be helped with the following surgery gifts

1. Fleece tie blanket

You’ve seen them before: The blankets just about anyone can make with some fabric and a little time to dedicate to it. All you’ll need to do is head to the craft store to pick out 2 large pieces of fleece fabric and fabric scissors. Once you’re ready to go, cut around each piece of fabric to make pieces long enough to tie to the piece beside it. 

Pro tip: Choose thick fleece, like these fleece sewing squares from Amazon, and a pattern that reflects the little one’s personality so they will feel extra special (Think: Superheroes, cars, planets, princesses, mermaids.) Next, read these instructions so you are clear on how to perfect the blanket. 

2. Treat basket

A bucket of chocolate and sugar may not be what the child’s doctor had in mind. You still want to promote healing! A colorful basket filled with treats like popsicles, trail mix, Jell-O, fruit, and a little bit of candy, like this CraveBox Care Package from Amazon will be sure to bring about a smile. 

Pro tip: Ask the doctor (or the child’s parent) if there are any post-surgery dietary restrictions involved. 

3. Art supplies 

Laying around post-surgery might spark a child’s creativity. Offer up some paints, brushes, and canvas to let loose on. Or offer molding clay instead. Or, you can send them a full kit, like this FunzBo Arts and Crafts Supply Kit, pictured above.

Pro tip: Another less messy and easier option would be some coloring books. There are wide assortments for all ages in stores. 

4. Slime 

Slime is all the rage and there are endless kinds. You might consider sending over a care package, like this DIY Slime Kit from Amazon, of various slimes in different colors, textures, and consistencies.

Slime will give a kid something to play with — and binge-watch a bunch of favorite shows all at the same time. 

5. Puzzle books 

Look for word puzzle books like crosswords and word searches to math puzzle books like sudoku. There are also books for mazes and also riddle books as well.

These books, like The Everything Kids' Puzzle Book, can burn time and keep the child's brain working even though he’s forced to stay in bed and possibly miss school.

6. Gift cards

As mentioned, getting a child to cooperate with post-surgery directions isn’t always easy. Kids are squirmy and full of energy and want to play with their friends. Can you blame them?

A gift card to the child’s favorite restaurant, arcade, or even Amazon, gives them something to look forward to and a goal to strive for — as long as they follow doctor’s orders first. 

Post-Surgery Care Package Ideas for Parents or Grandparents

Did your parent or grandparent just have surgery? Ask yourself what this person does, day in and day out, to keep everyone around them happy. How you can help to keep the household going and let your loved one rest?

7. Groceries 

Groceries are a necessity, and through hardships, it’s something that can easily fall through the cracks.

A care package of fresh produce, frozen dinners, and snacks to get through a few weeks will do more than you can imagine and be one thing your loved one can check off the list. If you can't get the store, try emailing or mailing a grocery store gift card, like a Whole Foods gift card.

Pro tip: Again, it’s important to be aware of any specific dietary restrictions. You might go the extra mile and throw in a note offering to come over and cook a meal one night! There are plenty of quick and easy dinners you can whip up to take to someone after surgery

8. Takeout gift cards

Skip cooking altogether with takeout. With a few taps on a smartphone or a quick phone call, you can order food from many nearby restaurants.

This takes the stress out of dinner (and lunch and breakfast) planning and execution. If you don't want to choose for them, you can always get them a gift card to popular delivery places like DoorDash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats

9. Photo book 

Anyone would be appreciative of a photo book with updated photos of loved ones. Take time to print out photos and paste them into a scrapbook, like this Self-Adhesive Photo Album from Amazon (pictured above), or fill up a photo album. That way, your loved one will have a nice surprise and something to look through during the days or even weeks of recovery. 

Pro tip: You could also get a scrapbook and have friends and family write well wishes and messages to your loved one beside their photos! 

10. Bell 

This one might provoke a laugh or two but may also be useful if your loved one is tucked up in a room upstairs. Grandparents may not have phones, so a bell to call for help can actually come in handy! You can try this 2-Pack of Silver Bells from Amazon.

11. Social media 

It feels like everyone in the world is on social media, but there are still many grandparents and parents who haven’t gotten there yet. This is the perfect time for them to learn and browse around. 

12. Adult coloring books 

Coloring's not just for kids. It can feel calming to get creative, color in the lines (or outside of them), and share a colorful creation with a friend. We like this In the Garden Color and Frame Coloring Book from Amazon.

Pro tip: Print out your own coloring sheets by Googling something your loved one may be interested in. 

Post-Surgery Care Package Ideas for a Friend

Here are some quick ideas for friends fresh out of the hospital.

13. Books 

Is your friend a bookworm? Purge your bookcase and lend your friend all the books you love — it’ll give your friend the best escape from surgery recovery. Or you can buy them a set of classic books, like this Puffin in Bloom Collection from Amazon, which comes with Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Heidi, and A Little Princess.

Pro tip: Have a book in mind but know your friend isn't super into reading? There are apps where books can be read to you and they often offer a 7-, 14- or even 30-day free trial! 

12. Comfort items 

The ultimate box of comfort items, like this Get Well Gift Basket from Amazon, would make just about anyone happy, surgery, or not. Items can include a soft blanket, fuzzy socks, a stuffed animal, or a pillow.

Pro tip: Is your male friend not into fuzzy socks? Fear not — everyone can benefit from a package of comfort items, although you might consider opting for wool socks, which may seem a bit more masculine.

13. Playlist 

Use your friends' surgery as a time to get him or her to listen to that band you love! Music can be used to help your friend relax, unwind, breathe and meditate. 

Pro tip: Write out the playlist on a piece of paper or create it in an app like Apple Music or Spotify and send it to your friend’s phone. 

14. Self-care items

Self-care needs to be prioritized all the time, especially after surgery. Some items include a candle, bath bombs, face mask, favorite food or candy, and a journal.

Or, you can buy this Bath and Body Gift Basket for Men or Women from Amazon.

15. Favorite things 

One way to show you care and take the time to show it is to give your friend all his or her favorite things. In this time when they sit and do nothing, your friend can’t retrieve certain things all alone.  

Pro tip: Round up your friend’s favorite drinks, candy bar or snacks, magazines, or candle scent. What else can you think of? 

16. Hot or cold packs 

Hot and/or cold packs, like this Reuseable Hot and Cold Pack from Amazon, can be a godsend after surgery. Get more than one so there’s always at least one in the refrigerator or freezer, ready to go. 

Pro tip: DIY hot packs made of fabric and rice can be made by hand. 

17. Punny 

Go for the laugh with a punny care package. Ideas like “surgery sucks” with a succulent or “surgery sucks” with suckers are both punny ways to send a gift and also ensure you put a smile on a friend’s face.

Pro tip: You can think these up yourself or head to an online storefront like Etsy to find ideas or sellers for these punny gifts. 

18. Streaming service gift card 

New streaming services pop up all the time, so get your friend a gift card to a new one or a streaming service he or she has always wanted to try, like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Care Packages Go the Extra Mile 

Sending well wishes in a card is thoughtful and shows you care, but a care package does a little extra and can relieve some of the stress that comes with surgery.

Take the time to consider what your loved one would most benefit from. Gift your friend or loved one with a care package of items that supports his or her needs and helps promote healing! 

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