Holiday Gifts For Your Eating Disordered Friends! (Seriously?!)

by Eden on December 20, 2011

One of the things that peeves me about Christmas is the fact that everyone likes to give their “holiday gift suggestions”. Magazines list their “must haves”, talk shows feature obviously-sponsored swag, and of course, bloggers love pretending they’re “experts” and offer their “holiday wishlist”.

Don’t get me wrong. I like presents and all, but sometimes, these gift suggestions are flat out ridiculous.

Case in point: I came across an eating disorder treatment center website that wrote an article about what to give someone in recovery from an eating disorder for Christmas. You can go see the article yourself, but I’ll just give you a rundown of their suggestions and what I think about them:

Item #1: Let Them Eat Cake Tee

Description: This top is part of the My Body ROCKS Collection.
$5 is donated to benefit eating disorder awareness.

Eden’s Take: First, as mentioned in this post, I’m so tired of this constant pushing of “loving your body!”. Second, I don’t understand what they mean by “eating disorder awareness”. I question what how “awareness” helps. Is it going to help PAY for treatment for those that can’t afford it? I think that would be a more worthy cause. Third, I don’t get the “let them eat cake” message. Are they trying to be funny? Who would get this? Besides history majors.


Item #2: Rewite Beautiful T-Shirt

Description: An American Apparel gray T-Shirt benefits eating disorder prevention through Street Art Workshops held by the non-profit Rewrite Beautiful. The shirt has a reversible image that the person wearing can see when looking in the mirror. The words ‘Rewrite Beautiful’ are across the front.

Eden’s Take: Again, I’d like to see some money donated to eating disorder treatment financial aide as opposed to awareness/prevention (and through art workshops?). Mainly, this makes me feel dizzy and slightly dyslexic.

I feel stupid trying to read this


Item #3, #4, #5, and #6: An Assortment of Anorexia and Bulima Jewlery

Description: basically, its a bunch of bracelets, necklaces with colored beads that are supposed to symbolize something. For example, they say “red symbolizes anorexia and purple symbolizes bulimia.” The dragonfly charm apparently represents both.

Eden’s Take: Something about this just feels really creepy. Like if someone who is trying to recover wants to purge or whatever, goes to the toilet, but then stops because she sees her purple “bulimia bead”. I don’t know, man…call me old fashioned, but I don’t think this can help anybody more than a candy necklace or ring pop could.

Did you know red symbolizes anorexia? yea, chances are, people are going to think its an AIDS bracelet. Or maybe, just maybe, they'll think its just a bracelet.


Item #7: Princess Nikki Lip Conditioner

Description: This is some lip conditioner thats named after a princess who has this whole eating disorder back story. You can read all of it on the website, but in short, its about some princess hating her body, whining about it, and her dog giving her sloppy kisses.

Eden’s Take: What the fuck? They lost me “Princess”.

I'm kinda craving a drug store lip smacker right about now


Item #8: “She Decided She Was Worth It” Magnet

Description: self-explanitory

Eden’s Take: Is this supposed to go on the fridge? And who’s this “she” they’re referring too? I’m thinking its that Princess Nikki or her dog from item #7.


Item #9: Mosaic Scale

Description: Made to order mosiac scale that instead of numbers, has the words “perfect” written on it.

Eden’s Take: I don’t want to be perfect?! What’s wrong with being mediocre or average?! They’re just perpetuation this obsession with being perfect. And what am I supposed to do with this thing?! Keep in it my bathroom, Hang it up in the den or better yet, the dining room?

My feet aren't that big. At least they're "perfect".


Item #10: Rewrite Beautiful Braclets

Description: Some of those plastic bands with “inspirational” words written on them.

Eden’s Take: just a lame rip-off of Lance Armstrong’s “Live-Strong” bands.


Look, don’t get me wrong. I know these gifts mean well, but I don’t think people need a constant reminder that they have an eating disorder. Every meal time is enough of reminder. If you have a friend who’s recovering, I think the best gift you can give is a hug.

Ok, maybe some money wouldn’t hurt. No one dislikes money. 😉

What do you think of these gift “ideas”? Do you have your own gift suggestions? Which of these would totally, outright reject?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Cameo December 21, 2011 at 3:06 am

I love your commentary on the first item. I too question the “awareness” angle. As a former/current slightly disordered eater, I really shudder at strangers, acquaintances, and colleagues knowing about my issues…I’d rather they were not aware of it. But, I guess the intention is good. As you say, the moneys should go toward the programs – art therapy, etc – and not the awareness campaign or the ugly-ass gift shop.

Also, clearly this website thinks that only teenagers suffer.


Nagore December 21, 2011 at 5:23 am

Even though the inttention may be good…. is it necessary to make gifts specially for people with an illness? maybe its a good time to forget you have an illness!! Hats for people taking chemo or underwear for people with gonorrhea? I don’t see the point :S


Cammy December 21, 2011 at 5:26 am

I actually think my feet *are* that big. :/


Faith @ For the Health of It December 21, 2011 at 5:52 am

What I don’t like is that these gifts reduce the person to nothing more than an eating disorder patient. Do they not have any other interests or personality traits that would suggest a better idea to the gift-giver? Don’t they have passions or hobbies that would be more worthy of encouraging/bringing attention to over the holidays?


Lucas December 21, 2011 at 10:19 am



eve December 21, 2011 at 6:49 am

Gift giving is overrated in my book. Yes, it’s as fun to give as it is to receive, but sometimes it’s a simple gesture that means the world. When I think of a gift, I think of something that makes that certain person happy, not what makes them feel the opposite! I find most of these gift ideas from that website actually insulting to the receiver. Its like “I know, you have a problem… Not to worry, I’ll cheer you up! Here’s a tee-shirt!” I’m not sure what the problem is in just a nice truthful positive compliment or like you said: a hug. And who would want to wear their ED on their wrist (bracelet)? Talk about constant reminder.

If you can’t think of one thing this special person likes, or may enjoy, then yes! Everyone loves moola! hehe


Jenny @ Peanut Butter and Jenny December 21, 2011 at 6:50 am

speaking from an ED standpoint, the last thing I would ever want for christmas is to remind me of my disorder. I mean, I don’t try to hide it, but I don’t try to broadcast it either. I’m not proud of my disease and I don’t want to be “defined” by it by rocking some t’shirt that will only spark judgement and conversation. You’re right.. people who see me wearing it aren’t going to shell out money to the nearest ED recovery donation center. That’s what fundraisers are for. I’m not the spokesperson for an ED. If anything, I want to be the spokesperson for who I am without an ED and not be branded as the former.

Then the perfectionist thing. Ugh, don’t get me started. To be honest, my ED has never been about being perfect. It’s about control. But all the hype around “not being perfect” makes me feel like me ED should be about being perfect. I think it’s a huge generalization. Rather than combating pursuits of “perfectionism”, I think it would be far more productive to encourage embracing yourself and your body for what it is. Not necessarily “loving it”, but accepting it as mediocre, average, and the only body you have.

Okay, I sound like a straight bitch here and I am completely supportive of ED recovery (obviously) but not on christmas, or in my day to day life. Sure, ED awareness week. I’m down. But I think the rest of the year should be devoted to trying to separate yourself from you disorder, not identifying yourself through it.

personally, all I want for christmas is anything that will distract me from my ED. A new cell phone would be nice. Or, yeah, I guess a few hugs would be cool too 😉


Missy December 21, 2011 at 7:20 am

You said it best: “I don’t think people need a constant reminder that they have an eating disorder.”

Most of those things kind of give me the willies. I’ve met a lot of people in recovery who then make “recovered” become their identity and they……they go on the walks, they go to meetings, they only hang out with their friends from program…etc. They get tattoos commemorating their recovery. These gifts remind me of that. Not that there is anything “wrong” with that lifestyle…..whatever works. They’re certainly in a better position than I am …but my dream of recovery is a little different. I want there to be days when I don’t think about it at all.

Plus…dragonfly’s? Why?


Asian Bitch December 21, 2011 at 7:31 am

Ahhh your last question got cut off. I think you meant to ask which one of these gifts we think is the worst? I’m going to have to go with the ”Assortment of Anorexia and Bulima Jewlery”. Red for anorexia, purple for bulimia??!! What the…!? Believe me, when I just binged on 4 days worth of food, a stupid purple bracelet is not going to make want to not purge.
And fuck that lip balm. If I’m going to use one, it’s Lip Smacker’s brand, because they have a Skittles, Cookie Dough, Starbust, Dr Pepper, Root Beer, 7 up, and M&Ms, flavoured lip balms.
My feet are far from perfect. I have to wear 4.5, and since they don’t go lower than 5, I have to stuff cotton balls in my flats.
Ever since the Hello Kitty toothbrush, I asked my mom to just give me money. And take-out pizza for Christmas dinner, because she always wants to try something new (even if it’s Christmas related food) and it ends up being a disaster (this year she’s going to try making pork steamed buns…)


Lindsay @ Lindsay's List December 21, 2011 at 7:40 am

I’m SO very confused with the lip balm.
And yes, pass the Dr. Pepper LipSmacker!


Eden December 21, 2011 at 8:20 am

the cotton candy is my personal favorite. Mainly cause I hate eating cotton candy (um hello?! I don’ get full! wft?)


Missy December 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I got “into trouble” when I was inpatient for wearing my sparkly “birthday cake” Lip Smacker gloss.

Apparently, I was “triggering”…..I have to admit though…the girls were like “I smell cupcakes…who has cupcakes?”


Kristina December 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

100% with you on “raising awareness” – what does that even mean? Helping pay for treatment would be much more impactful. The jewlery and lip balm baffle me on so many levels.


Sandi December 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

This list reminded me of something I was wondering about a few days ago…are people involved in eating disorder treatment/awareness/whatever mostly people who have struggled with eating disorders? If not, do they really understand eating disorders? What made them decide that they wanted to devote their lives to helping people with eating disorders? Do psychiatrists (the ones who prescribe meds) really “care” about their patients? Ok I know none of that has anything to do with your post (and I don’t expect you to answer those questions) but when I saw this list my first thought was, wow, it looks like whoever wrote this list doesn’t really “get” eating disorders. But maybe I’m wrong. I loved your commentary, so right as always!


Amanda December 21, 2011 at 9:09 am

The princess lip balm? Just odd. I don’t see how it would promote healing or awareness. The dog giving sloppy kisses makes me want to puke in my mouth a little. What does it do? Lick the lip balm off? Ugh.


Sarah December 21, 2011 at 9:21 am

“If you have a friend who’s recovering, I think the best gift you can give is a hug”
Spot on!
I think all of the ‘suggestions’ are ridiculous. Would you give a friend with cancer a bronzed chemo bag? I dont get any of their gift ideas or why anyone with an ed would want any of them. I kind of like the rewrite beautiful thing though.


Sarah Elizabeth December 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

Just to clear up the confusion about the drangonflies — there’s a book out there called Andrea’s Voice and the dragonfly image was/is really significant to a mother (family… I guess) who lost her daughter to Bulimia ( The book made my mama cry, so… I think that’s probably where the site is getting these gifts from, so it’s not totally random.


cindylu December 21, 2011 at 10:30 am

The scale reminds of Mary Poppins’ measuring tape that reads “perfect in every way” when you measure her.


Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy December 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Freaking Urban Outfitters. Do you remember the big scandal with their tshirt last year that the emaciated model wore that read “Eat Less”?

It ALMOST makes me not shop there anymore…. almost.


Tara @ Sweat like a Pig December 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Wow, well I definitely think getting an eating disordered-specific present is a terrible idea. How about a gift that actually takes their mind off their disease?!

The mosaic scale is just horrible, and the cake shirt…what were they thinking?!


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