When your friend is in hospital, what present do you give?


Senior Member
japanese japan

What present do you usually give if one of your friends is in the hospital?

In Japan, the most common present is a box of sweets or a bunch of flowers.

A pot of flower should be avoided because it implies that the patient could be in the hospital longer. The reason is a potted flower takes its root deeper in the pot.

Thanks in advance.
  • oiseauxlahaut

    English & Hebrew
    A bouquet of flowers, a card, a giftbasket, or balloons (if it's a happy occasion, like birth or successful surgery). I've never given food to someone in the hospital, especially if it's something serious- you never know what they can and can't eat...


    Senior Member
    Before going to visit a terminally ill relative (he died shortly afterwards, at a very old age) I asked him what he wanted me to bring. I complied with his requests, in full, for a CD player, CDs of some of his favorite symphonies, and a few consumable items the hospital considered absolutely forbidden. He enjoyed all the gifts, none of which contributed to the progress of the terminal illness.

    SDLX Master

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Peru
    Well, the scenario is specific here. When a woman gives birth she gets lots of things from flowers to balloons to chocolates or even presents for the baby. When in the hospital for other reasons, a person may get flowers, but the most precious gift someone can get is your people's concern, shown in their visiting or even calling on the phone.


    Senior Member
    French - France
    In France, it is also mostly flowers and boxes of sweets/chocolate. (I don't know if there's a distinction between flowers in pot or not, maybe, as I don't remember seeing pots of flowers in hospitals).

    And of course, people often also bring things like magazines, books, etc., things to pass the time.


    Senior Member
    A bunch of flowers, a box of milk or fruit juice are(I'm not sure why) the most common here. We generally avoid food. Of course, depending on the situation.

    ajo fresco

    Senior Member
    For adults, the most common gifts here are flowers, balloons, and get well cards. Also, magazines, crossword puzzle books, and Sudoku puzzles are popular to help pass the time.

    For children, teddy bears or other plush toys, along with coloring books and small handheld video games.

    Many hospitals only allow mylar balloons nowadays because some people have latex allergies.

    Valeria Mesalina

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Spain
    It depends. Hospitals provide food for the patients in Spain, so no food or beverages are allowed. Besides, the would be no place to store ir.

    Chocolates, flowers (though several hospital have banned flowers because of possible allergic patients), balloons and toys for children, magazines and books.

    A laptop computer was our present to a friend that had to stay in hospital for a long time.
    Of course, all people and all nations have superstitions that are connected with all spheres of life, not only health-treatment in hospitals. Now I cannot really remember any one of such kind that Russians tend to adhere to and avoid breaking in fear for something bad to happen as a result. The only thing that has slipped my mind is that we try not to leave anything in the hospital when we are discharged after treatment. But this is not connected with bringing something to hospital and, besides, all people try to take everything with them and throw it away somewhere else rather than on the hospital territory.

    When visiting those who are in hospital, we normally bring fresh flowers to wome, sometimes soft toys (again mainly for women), sweet things, fruit and some other foodstuffs exceft if they are forbidden to be eaten or drunk by the patient. It is also possible to take a book that is the favourite one of your friend or relative. The best thing, however, is when you do not have to go to hospital at all because everyone is healthy, safe and sound!!!


    Senior Member
    USA English
    When I was in the hospital in Geneva, Switzerland after heart surgery, a friend and colleague showed up with a bottle of very nice red wine, which we drank.

    I couldn't have thought of a better present - but I don't think it would be allowed in the U.S.
    When I was in the hospital in Geneva, Switzerland after heart surgery, a friend and colleague showed up with a bottle of very nice red wine, which we drank.

    I couldn't have thought of a better present - but I don't think it would be allowed in the U.S.
    A bottle of read wine is useful for vessels and good blood circulation but not after heart surgery. I am not a doctor but I suppose that alchogol in any amount can contribute to the rising of one's blood pressure, which is very dangerous for people with heart problems. But I may be mistaken here because red wine has been proved to have healing properties as well including those that help people suffering from cardiac disease. Anyway, if a doctor in hospital suddenly saw anyone bringing (or giving) their friend/relative (who is currently a patient) a bottle of any alchogol there would be serious problems and both the patient and the one who has brough them the "remedy for all diseases and problems" will face big problems. People not always believe that wine treats people, usually the situation is quite the opposite: it kills them - I mean those who succumb to uncontrollable drunkenness.


    Turkey- Turkish
    In Turkey we generally give a bunch of flowers or a bottle of lemon cologne. Using lemon colonge is very common in Turkey, probably for the refreshing feeling it gives...


    Senior Member
    Español (México)
    Por aca se acostumbran las flores, las tarjetas de felicitación, las revistas.
    Pero lo que se considera más importante para llevar a un amigo en el hospital es la compañía y buenos deseos de los amigos.



    Senior Member
    USA English
    If the person is going to be in the hospital or ill for more than 2 or 3 days, the custom where I live is to give a basket of little things such as magazines, candy, snacks, books, word-searches, etc. Cards and flowers are always sent by friends, church, and employer. I once got several dollars worth of quarters. That was the most thoughtful thing because my family and friends who were staying with me could get drinks and snacks out of the vending machines.


    Senior Member
    When I was a child I asked for comic books, recently a brought my brother a laptop. Usually a stay in the hospital can be very boring so you may want to bring something to keep the patient entertained. TV will not always do it.


    Senior Member
    India - English & Kannada
    Here in India, first of all no one will take offence if you do not take anything to the hospital.
    Of late, we see people giving flowers, cards, books, etc. Fruits are very common and so is fresh tender coconut water.
    Hospitals here do not necessarily provide food, so if a friend/relative lives close to the hospital, they may offer to supply all three meals.
    New borns sometimes will be given gift hampers and the mommy may sometimes receive flowers. Whether you take anything at all, you can be sure of receiving chocolates/sweets when visiting a new baby.

    Ivonne do Tango

    Senior Member
    Porteño de arrabal
    Se suele llevar flores pero, en realidad, lo que realmente se aprecia es la compañía. Si la situación del hospitalizado es crítica y no puede hablar, se acostumbra contarle cosas y quizás leerle (si es una persona mayor).

    A los niños se les lleva cuadernitos para pintar y si es permitido en su situación (aunque en general no se acepta ingresar con comida) alguna golosina.



    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    Today I am visiting a close friend at hospital where she'll be for a loooong period and am taking a great book and a candy. So, I think it depends on the kind, age of friend and his/her actual situation - mild, grave, etc, - we take flowers, candies, books in general.


    Senior Member
    Hmmm, it depends, really. There would be those "convenience presents", like fruit, flowers, candy, whatever. Then there would be maybe something particular that a person in the hospital wants - maybe something to keep the patient busy while in hospital. But if the patient is family or close friends we also bring food, because hospital food here in Slovenia is usually pretty bad.

    SDLX Master

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Peru
    My wife has been recently in the hospital and she was only discharged a week ago. Everything went well and during her stay, she got lots of calls on her cell phone and she had relatives and friends coming over to visit her. Nobody brought anything except for an aunt who smuggled a piece of apple pie :D


    Senior Member
    I don't think there's any standard on prezzies in Sweden. Especially in emergency wards and the like, fresh flowers are explicitly forbidden, due to possible allergic reactions. Same for foodstuffs, I suppose.

    Ask your local sufferer!

    Magazines, dailies and crosswords/Sudokus might be the thing. What's really most important is the visit in its own right, to show that you care and don't mind the time etc. expense.


    Spanish - Spain
    I think the best gift is give a big hug and show your friend the love you feel for him. If my best friend is on the Hospital, i'll be staying with him during a short time if he's encouraged, the time you need to let him know you love him.


    Senior Member
    Ukrainian & Russian
    In the Russian-speaking countries, the most common thing to bring someone who's in the hospital is a few oranges (unless that person specifically tells you to bring something else). Why oranges? Heck beats me.


    Senior Member
    The public healthcare system is so bad in Hungary you need to bring food for the patient. A lot of food (schnitzel, grilled chicken, bean soup, cakes, home-made pudding, etc. Check the article here.


    Senior Member
    Flowers, cards, books, cookies ...

    But in my opinion, our presence itsself is the best present.
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    Senior Member
    When I was young I gave a few books to a young friend. His family was upset. He was hospitalized for meningitis. Since then I give grapes. Except for diabetics.


    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    I am surprised that cut flowers are mentioned so often in this discussion. Both in Ireland and France, many hospitals have a ban on cut flowers. Some scientific studies back up those fears.
    Indigenous multiresistant bacteria from flowers in hospital and nonhospital environments. - PubMed - NCBI

    If the popular expression “Apporter des oranges à quelqu’un” is to be believed, then France already has a go-to presie.

    Source: Apporter des oranges (à quelqu'un) – Expressio par Reverso

    I think in Ireland grapes are a safe bet.
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    Senior Member
    UK English
    Flowers are also banned in many hospitals or wards in Britain too - they certainly were in the neonatal ward my wife was in a few months ago.

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    The public healthcare system is so bad in Hungary you need to bring food for the patient. A lot of food (schnitzel, grilled chicken, bean soup, cakes, home-made pudding, etc. Check the article here.
    I recently had a stay in a Hungarian hospital and lunch wasn't that bad - except that it consisted precisely of those Hungarian dishes I don't like. I did, however, have a "high calory dinner": 3 slices of bread, a bread roll and a potato! (High calory though:)).


    Senior Member
    I only was in military hospitals in Russia, which are a separate matter. That seemed quite decent by Russian standards, both in Naro-Fominsk (in Moscow oblast) and in Voronezh. For one thing, they had hot water, unlike in the military units where I was serving back then. :) But really, it was pretty comfortable. In Naro-Fominsk parents visited me almost weekly, bringing cigarettes, sweets, fruits and milk products (a large part of which I, of course, shared with my roommates). Other than that, I don't have any personal experience with hospitals.
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    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    parents visited me almost weekly, bringing cigarettes
    For many years now smoking has been forbidden in US hospitals. In some locations you may not even smoke near the entrances.

    Most US hospitals also have a gift shop in the lobby, so if there is something for sale in there (typically books, magazines, candies, greeting cards, puzzles, stuffed animals and toys for children) you know it will be OK to take the items to the patient's room.
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