Welcome to our final guide on Christmas presents for 2014. This time we’re looking at ideas for less physically able bodied ladies.
We start, as always, by saying that we understand disability doesn’t mean you want completely different presents and that 9 times out of 10 the best presents work whether able bodied or otherwise. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that needs to be considered in the buying process. We also need to mention that although this is officially the ‘ladies’ guide, there is a lot of crossover between this and our previous guides. The gender division of the present ideas has, in some cases, been completely arbitrary and just as there are suggestions here that are not just for women there are plenty of ideas in our gents gift guide that we think women will love too. OK, let’s crack on.
WheelieChix-Chic create clothing for female wheelchair users that is not just ‘functional’ but can be aesthetic, sexy, contemporary and stylish. Being in a seated position all day throws up its own challenges to remaining fashionable as most clothes aren’t designed to accommodate this. However, WheelieChix-Chic are one of a handful of companies which tackle this problem and part of an even smaller group who do so with style. Their online store features ”a designer collection specifically tailored for the independent, sexy and confident wheelchair woman”. The clothes incorporate key functional details to keep comfortable, such as wider neck lines, bigger arm holes for easy wheeling, flexibility and comfort in fabrics, without compromising on style.
It’s no surprise that at Blue Badge Style we like the thought of having somewhere to carry your blue badge in style. Blue Badge Company wallets are an excellent way to do this. They’ve produced a range of high quality, leather or patterned wallets to store and display your blue badge in a modern and attractive way. We ‘test parked’ one of their new Italian leather holders, embossed with their logo, recently and were really pleased with the product. From the packaging (a beautifully presented, patterned box) onwards, the Blue Badge Company holders have a sophisticated and stylish image with a high standard that doesn’t drop. They have a diverse range, so whoever you’re shopping for there will be a design to suit their image and personality.
The Blue Badge Company now also sell a range of other products including key rings, toasty warmers and travel card holders, all of which show a similar devotion to looking fun. Prices vary, as you can buy individual products or collections, but all are reasonably priced. You can either buy them online, in Boots or at selected post office. They say they want to say “something about style rather than disability” and have vastly improved the old boring ways of holding blue badges. Frankly, if that’s not a message you can get on board with, you’re on the wrong website!
‘Cordovan Creek’ wallet from the Blue Badge Company
If you have any green fingered friends or family who enjoy gardening but find it uncomfortable then you perhaps something from designed2enable’s range of ergonomic gardening products could be a good gift. Radius gardening tools (£34.95 for a set), OneLeg stools (£39.95), Pro-Lite garden forks (£27.95) and Garden Gator grabbers (£28.50) aren’t all exclusively sold there, but it’s a bit of a ‘one stop shop’ online option. All these designs help in their own way to make gardening more comfortable and less physically demanding than usual by reducing bending, stretching and other physical exertion.
An easy idea for a big present, that can make life easier for people with a variety of impairments, is to get someone a Kindle. They’re so practical for people with reduced mobility and/or visual impairments. Because they’re much lighter and easier to hold and turn pages, they’re handy for people who might normally find old fashioned books more of a hassle than most. They also have some great inbuilt accessibility functions including the key features of being able to change the font size, accessibility gesture shortcuts and a text to speech function (although this is still possibly more awkward that listening to an audiobook version, where a real human does the task). Small buttons and the shape of the Kindle could still prove problematic for some, but generally Kindles are an improvement for less able readers as well as having all the usual benefits of an e-reader versus books.
If you’re getting someone a Kindle, we’d recommend pre-loading it with What the **** Is Normal? by Francesca Martinez. If you’re not, we’d recommend getting it in hard copy anyway. It’s a hilarious and at times very moving autobiography from the talented comedian and actor turned disability activist. She writes about the ways in which having Cerebral Palsy has affected her life and more importantly the way that people’s reactions to her CP have affected her life and lead to her asking “what the **** is normal?” It’s a celebration of the fact that everybody’s different and that (shock, horror) that might not be such a bad thing after all. A brilliant book and a new mantra for all.
A Bracelet Buddy is handy gadget which acts as a third hand to held put on watches and bracelets. It solves the age old problem by holding one half of the bracelet’s clasp still so you can clasp it together using your free hand. It’s a simple idea but one that nobody managed to efficiently design until now. People with reduced dexterity will find them extra useful but really these make a handy stocking filler for anybody who ever wears bracelets. They’re £7 at Really Useful Stuff.
A stylish new stick, crutch or stick could be something nice to unwrap this Christmas. There are so many modern options these days (still not enough, but far more than many people realise) which can make for very cool presents. We know all about them and would say that the tip top option is the Sabi walking cane. But if you want to weigh up your options, then a good place to start is our ultimate stylish stick guide. Depending on what needs and taste of the recipient, there should be a trendy option for everyone in there.
Finally, for a fun gift with a light-hearted take on disability we’d recommend a little something from Stickman Communications. They make t-shirts, books, stickers and more with amusing cartoons that let people know that sometimes it’s OK to joke about disability. Their website says:
“Let’s face it, life with disability is full of humour, where conventionality is a myth, political correctness is an accident, difference is normal and life is eternally absurd: so Hannah Ensor’s stickmen products are here to help tell the reality of a differently normal life without a trace of pity or patronisation.”
The reality is that people with disabilities joke about them and friends and family know this better than anyone. Take a look at their website and have a look around. You may find something communicating the same thing you joke about at home!
A cartoon look at life on wheels
We hope you find something here that can at least give you some inspiration when it comes to your Christmas shopping. If you have any more (or any better!) ideas, please let us know below – it’s all about sharing ideas.