You’re going to find lots of websites saying to buy your doctor friend/spouse/offspring a super expensive set of scrubs, lab coat, stethoscope or K-cup type machine. Trust me, no matter how huge their loan repayment, those things they need to use every day have already been purchased. What they won’t buy are indulgences and experiences, even if they’re soon to be attendings.  To help guide parents, spouses and friends who want to give their beloved doctor a gift, here’s a list I put together while shopping on Amazon last weekend. 

Holiday gift ideas for Residents, Interns and other Doctors

Our list of gifts for residents this holiday season.

First, I have to say that a lot of you won’t be seeing your resident during the festivities of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Yule, nor will they be at the family gathering on Thanksgiving, Christmas day or winter Solstice. So, the most important gift you can give is saying “I understand you have to work on (blank) holiday, we love you and will miss you, but we are so proud of you being there for people who need a doctor on that day.” My family did that for me every time I missed a holiday or birthday, and it made a world of difference in how I felt those days.

Time & Money

  • The majority of residents make enough to pay their bills, but they’re not splurging on much. If you’re at a loss, or know they would rather shop at local small businesses, a Visa gift card is always a lovely thing. 
  • Pay for a full deep clean of their apartment/home, or a service that only comes the months they’re on inpatient. Be sure they know about it before it happens!
  • Offer to babysit. Parent doctors would love a night for themselves, even if they don’t do anything but go home and relax.
  • Luxuries like a massage, manicure or day at a spa are lovely. Residents can’t justify those expenses most of the time. If you can’t either, it’s okay. The less expensive version is to make your own home spa kit: Lush bath bomb, bath tray, a fun (non-medical!) book, face mask and some fancy sweets.
Images of massage, books, audiobooks, tea and planners - as gifts for doctors, interns and residents



  • Do they drive a lot to rural rotations? Or have a long commute? Some of my co-residents LOVE audio books and a membership to Audible would be pretty sweet. (I can’t focus to audio books, but love podcasts, so this could go either way – be sure it’s a good fit as this is $150!)
  • Do they love movies but not go coz of the price? Gift cards to their favorite theatre are an awesome option.
  • Nobody has time to read, but everyone should have this version of the Princess Bride because it looks so pretty. Disclaimer: it’s actually a super weird book and very different from the movie, but I love it ANYWAYS.


  • Reading just a portion of Mari Kondo’s book changed how I view owning and buying things. Try to support your local second hand book shop to find it there, especially if your favorite resident is embracing a minimalist lifestyle. Or will be moving to a city like San Francisco.
  • Planners are very personal, but if you know your holiday doctor needs one I’m currently LOVING the Passion Planner my husband got me. He gets a discount off his next planner if you use this link ( and is trying out their new Daily planner soon. FMR will have a post comparing various planners soon, FYI.
  • Ikea gift cards. If your doctor lives close to one they can always find more organizational delights in that dangerous store. Disclaimer: I am not responsible for them accidentally using a credit card to re-design their bedroom. You walk into Ikea, you know what awaits you. Besides delicious little Swedish meatballs.
Images of espresso, yoga, succulents and babysitting - as gifts for doctors, interns and residents


For more ideas see my Amazon wish list for residents or soon-to-be attendings ( I also curated lists for interns ( and medical students (

Why all the links?

There a lot of links in this post, mostly to Amazon, but I was too lazy to figure out how to make affiliate links and therefore won’t make any money off your clicking. Unless it happens auto-magically. I acknowledge there are ethical concerns with supporting/buying from a mega corporation like it, and always encourage you to look for items similar to these in your local small businesses instead! 🙂 Remember, November 30th is Small Business Saturday!

Happy holidays to you and yours, and enjoy the most important part – the people in your life.

Signature for Pixie