Gift guide

11 great holiday gifts for doctors and med students in 2023

Whether you are shopping for someone else or searching for gift ideas for yourself to share with loved ones (or just treat yourself!), we hope these ideas can serve as inspiration for you.


As we approach the holiday season, many of us are thinking about what we can get our loved ones during this time of the year. To help, we’ve made a gift guide of some of the top gifts for doctors and medical students. Our list includes items that are useful as well as those that promote practicing self-care and those that can make life more enjoyable.

Whether you are shopping for someone else or searching for gift ideas for yourself to share with loved ones (or just treat yourself!), we hope these ideas can serve as inspiration for you. Please feel free to comment on the best gifts you’ve gotten to share more ideas with the community!

Please note that we have no financial connection to any of the companies or products mentioned in this article and have received no incentive to share these products.

Self-watering plants (starting at $49)

In the demanding field of medicine, where we often spend long hours at desks and in our homes studying and completing notes, EasyPlant is here to make having plants effortless. While the benefits of having plants in our homes are well-documented—including enhancing creativity, improving mood, reducing air pollution and alleviating stress—maintaining them can pose a challenge for busy medical professionals like us. This company is a great solution tailored to our unique needs. These self-watering plants, available in various types and sizes, require minimal attention. Just fill their discreet side compartments with water, and they’ll thrive on their own.

Rechargeable hand warmer ($25)

Have you ever walked into the hospital or clinic early in the morning after realizing you forgot your coffee or tea and now you don’t have something warm to hold? Do your patients often say, “Wow, your hands are so cold!” This hand warmer might just be the solution for people who have chronic “cold-hands syndrome.” A rechargeable hand warmer can help with that and warm up your day. 

Vaseline Blue Seal Series Variety 4-Pack ($6)

During the cold winter months, our first protective barrier can often feel dry and flaky. Interestingly, petroleum jelly is one of the most effective skin barriers as it sits right on top of it and prevents water from leaving the skin. Petroleum jelly is also applied to the skin to help prevent the worsening of scabs or wounds. In addition, it is a great way to keep your lips moisturized during the cold winter months. Vaseline is easy to grab on the go, and can be used on the hands for protection from the cold air.

Sleep aid device ($60)

Imagine coming home at 11 p.m. after a long shift in the hospital. Is your mind running after the code that happened at work? Are you wondering if you should have done something different? How many times have you noticed a loved one still full of adrenaline after a long shift in the hospital or a busy day in the clinic?

Maybe someone you know is tired of taking melatonin every night and wants to try something different. This sleep aid projects a light on your ceiling that helps guide you through a breathing exercise. You can set the timer for eight or 20 minutes to help you ease into greater relaxation before sleep.

Headlight beanie ($30)

Many health care workers live close to the hospital and bike to and from work, sometimes very early in the morning or late at night. During chilly mornings and evenings, a friend or loved one may find a beanie with a flashlight super useful for making sure they don’t trip while walking or biking! Not only do you get to see better but your hands are free to bike, hold groceries or unlock your front door when you arrive home.

Ring holder necklace ($50)

Often in medicine, the gloves we use are not ring-friendly. Here is a place we can safely place our rings before a hospital shift. Sometimes, when health care staff take off their rings and put them in their scrubs, they can be forgotten, which could lead to the rings ending up in the wash or falling out of a pocket. Wearing a necklace that keeps your rings safe gives you one less thing to worry about at work.

Monthly flower subscription (starting at $59.99 for monthly subscriptions)

Are you in a long-distance relationship? Do you want to do something special for a loved one? If your loved one enjoys flowers, a monthly flower subscription is a wonderful way of showing your appreciation for them. Or perhaps you personally want to treat yourself to something decorative each month at your home or office. BloomsyBox offers some ideas on flower bouquet styles for a one-time purchase or monthly subscription. 

Headspace (starting at $12.99 monthly)

Headspace is an app available on iPhones and Android devices that is a great resource for busy medical professionals. It offers meditations tailored to your current mood, as well as options for pre- and post-exam meditations. If you struggle with sleep, there are also sleep casts, sleep sounds and sleep stories available. If you’re interested in fitness, Headspace offers walking meditations, yoga and more. For students, there is a $10 yearly plan available as well.

Smart watch (starting at $399)

Tired of missing messages and phone calls, or want an accountability buddy for your New Year’s fitness goals? A smartwatch may be a great gift. A smartwatch can allow you to discreetly check messages, review notifications and track movement and sleep.

There are various options to choose from based on your needs. If you’re more fitness-oriented and enjoy running, consider a watch with built-in GPS, such as the Fitbit. If you’re more interested in cellular capabilities, something like the Apple Watch may be a better fit.

Meal prep service (prices vary)

With hectic schedules, prioritizing meal preparation can sometimes be challenging. A fantastic gift idea, even for yourself, is a subscription to a meal plan service. These subscriptions offer a variety of options, from fully prepped meals to ingredient kits for assembling your own dishes. They even provide options for two to four people, which can be adapted for a single person to include a prepared lunch for the next day.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, consider something like Green Chef. If you enjoy cooking and want a variety of options, Home Chef is a great choice. If you would rather not cook, consider something like Factor 75. For those who prefer dining out to cooking, consider giving a gift certificate to local restaurants or OpenTable.

Compression socks (prices vary)

Being on your feet all day can be tiring. Your feet ache at the end of the day, and your ankles may even swell. A simple solution is compression socks. Compression socks can boost lymphatic drainage, improve circulation in the legs and reduce ankle swelling. There are a variety of different options, such as Comrad and Bombas. You can also get them from your local retailer.

Bonus gift: Check out the AOA’s store for #DOProud merchandise, AOA gear and resources.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

Top 10 gifts for National Doctors’ Day

Top 10 holiday gifts for doctors and medical students in 2022

Top 10 holiday gifts for doctors and med students in 2021


  1. Reza Ghadimi Author "Practicing From The Heart in the age of technology "

    How about some of the books The DO reviewed and recommended?

    1. Stephanie Lee

      Hello, great suggestion! Here is an old article that was published on recommended books:

      The books I’m currently reading are “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami, which is a fantasy book about two lovers who continuously find each other in multiple universes, and “The Midnight Library,” by Matt Haig, about a woman given the choice to redo her past mistakes. Hoping to share more once I finish them!

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