If you want to show how much you care about the special people on your holiday gift list this year, select something that fits their lifestyle and supports or promotes their health — physically, emotionally, spiritually, or all three. Such gifts have the potential to last far beyond the holiday and create lasting memories. Fortunately there are a growing number of items that fulfill one or more of these criteria, which brings up a question: how do you choose the right healthy gift for each of the people on your list?
Think about the lifestyle and habits of each of the people on your healthy gift list. Consider any desires they may have mentioned, hobbies they participate in, places they want to go, or activities they have expressed a desire to try. Take into account the practicality of the gift idea (e.g., don’t buy a gym membership for a facility that is far from their home or office) and whether they may be able to exchange or return it if it is not appropriate for them.
With these thoughts in mind, here are some healthy gift ideas for the holiday season.
Herb garden kits. Many people have a living situation that doesn’t allow them to plant a garden, but fortunately a great number of herbs can be grown easily in small pots on a windowsill, small patio, or balcony. A wide variety of herb garden kits are available that will allow the urban gardener-wannabe a chance to grow a variety of plants in a small space.
Gym or yoga class membership. This can be the perfect gift for someone who has expressed a desire to try a gym or yoga club but needs a gentle nudge in the right direction. Try to customize the gift certificate for the individual; say, a yoga studio that offers a wide variety of yoga styles versus one that focuses on one style, an introductory membership for three months versus a year. You may want to take a tour of the facility before making your purchase so you can determine whether you think the recipient will be comfortable being there.
Food delivery service. The options are wide open here, ranging from a certificate for traditional grocery delivery for a set amount or period of time (which may be a great gift for an elderly person who has difficulty shopping on her own) to having a box of certain fruits delivered monthly for one year, local organic produce delivered on a set schedule, or complete meals delivered based on a predetermined plan. Each of these food delivery options can fit a variety of needs for someone on your list.
Bird feeders. This is a gift that invites nature to your environment and nurture the spirit. If you know the species of birds that are in the area of the gift recipient or you know the types of birds he or she enjoys, you can even purchase a bird feeder that caters to specific birds. Be sure to include some bird seed along with the feeder to get them started.
Essential oil diffusers. This is a gift that can be appropriate for many different people and situations—at home, the office, and even the car. Essential oil diffusers come in basically four forms: nebulizer, ultrasonic/humidifying, evaporative, and heat. Nebulizer diffusers use an atomizer to release the essential oil particles into the air and don’t require any water. Ultrasonic/humidifying diffusers are similar to nebulizers but require water and provide humidity. Evaporative diffusers are basic and have a fan that blows air through a filter or pad that hold essential oils, while heat diffusers are similar to evaporative ones but use heat instead of air.
Massage sessions. A certificate for one or more massage sessions from a professional is a great gift for someone who needs some stress management. The most common type of massage is Swedish massage and is probably the best for a newcomer to the therapy. If there is a massage school in your area, they likely offer discount rates for massages given by students at the school.
Dance lessons. Dancing is great exercise and depending on the type of dance class lessons you purchase, can be enjoyed by singles, couples, or both. Keep this in mind when buying dance lesson gift certificates. Ballroom dancing, for example, may be for couples only or have sufficient teachers available to accommodate a single person.
Collapsible basket steamer. This could qualify as a stocking stuffer, but it’s one of the best and most basic of healthy eating tools you can have. Basket steamers fit into most stovetop pots, so you need only one to accommodate your (or your recipient’s) cooking utensils. You might consider buying several steamers: two for gifts and two for yourself so you each can have one for vegetables and one for meat and fish.
Real gift of health. Some people on your list may have a special charity or cause they wish they could support. You can fulfill that wish for them by making a donation in their name. If you are not sure which organization they prefer, ask their friends of family members for help. Whether it’s an orphanage or an organization that feeds hungry children, rescues homeless animals, or helps clean up the environment, this is one gift that extends well beyond the giver.
Written by Deborah Mitchell. Deborah Mitchell is passionate about personal health and the well-being of animals and the planet. She has authored, coauthored, and ghostwritten more than 40 books, contributes regularly to several websites, and shares information on physical, emotional, and spiritual health on her blog, deborahmitchellbooks.com.