I have been on chemo during December. It was the pits. I remember lying on the floor in my PJs watching my kids open presents because I was too weak to sit up. However, my friends did many lovely things to get me through the season. Here are just a few:
My family was all long-distance. They helped by not expecting us to travel during this time. They also did not travel to us. Yes, it was lonely, but the extra people in the house, extra fuss for food, etc., would have been too much for us. We had long phone calls on Christmas day after opening the gifts.
With my first breast cancer, I was hospitalized over Thanksgiving in a medical center quite a distance from my family and friends. A very good friend gave me a small stuffed animal (baby swan or cygnet). While that may seem like a strange gift for an adult, I found it very touching and soothing. First of all, my friend was one of my "birding" friends and she knew how important swans were to me. Secondly, for much of my stay, I was all alone in a strange environment. Having that soft stuffed animal to hold and stroke gave me a connection to my friends and family, my other life. Although I am not Catholic, I think it gave me a little bit of insight into the importance of holding Rosary beads during times of concern and worry. I still have that cygnet in its place of honor. And whenever I have had friends in the hospital with cancer, I have given them a small special stuffed animal to help them hold on and link to their other life, their friends and family who will do anything to help them.
See the outstanding Review of Diana Dyers book, A Dietitian's Cancer Story: Information and Inspiration for Recovery and Healing.