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What are the best gifts for cancer patients?

Monday - 12/10/2012, 7:07am  ET

Cancer patients often don't have the time or energy to take care of day-to-day chores, let alone clean an entire house. Hiring a maid is a helpful way to alleviate an everyday stress. (Thinkstock)

Paula Wolfson,

WASHINGTON - It can be tough to find the perfect present, and even more so when the recipient is dealing with a serious illness.

The best course may be to think way outside the box. Literally.

Rachel Vitagliano, manager of patient relations for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, asked patients, caregivers and family members to come up with a list of most-wanted holiday gifts. She noticed a trend in the results.

Most of their suggestions were personal, and some involved sharing time together. (Check out the complete list in the photo gallery.)

Vitagliano says her favorite idea is taking a cancer-fighting friend or loved one to a comedy club or a funny movie.

"They really say laughter is the best medicine," she says.

Another idea is to make a patient's life easier by helping with chores at home. Givers can also hire a house cleaning or car detailing service.

And if you really want to give a gift in a box, you can't go wrong with an e- reader or soft pajamas.

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