Christmas is the perfect time to express your appreciation to loved ones through meaningful gifts. And while a tin full of holiday cookies or a subscription to the cheese-of-the-month club may be a kind gesture, it’s probably not the most welcomed gift for friends who are trying to stay fit and healthy all year round. We’ve got a slew of fantastic gift ideas that are both thoughtful and healthy. These gifts are perfect for your best friend, your hard-to-please great aunt, or even your personal trainer!
#1 – Vertical Hydroponic Growing System. There are some great new options for people who want to farm their own fresh produce, but don’t have the time, space or desire to cultivate a traditional garden. These vertical hydro-gardens are fantastic. They normally take up about four square feet of space. And they can hold anywhere from ten to thirty plants. They have a bottom drum that holds a large amount of water and a fountain motor that circulates water to all the plants. The hydro-gardener just fills the bottom drum with water and a bit of hydroponic nutrients each week. Then the gift recipient enjoys the harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, salad greens and the like. These hydro-garden systems can be purchased online or at garden stores. Or if you’re a DIY kind of person, there are lots of good tutorials online to help you make your own vertical hydro-garden. They’re ideal for indoor or outdoor use and they’re great gifts for busy gardeners.
#2 – Cast Iron Cookware. Another great gift for a serious cook on your list is a seasoned cast iron skillet. Cast iron is known as the original nonstick cookware. If it’s well-seasoned and maintained, cast iron can be a chef’s best friend. The pans heat food evenly and can be used on the stovetop, in the oven or even over an open fire pit. For vegetarians and vegans, cast iron boasts another benefit: when you eat food prepared on a cast iron skillet, the food absorbs a little bit of extra iron. It’s crucial that the body get enough iron for immune support, brain functioning and stamina. Cast iron pans are easy to find at kitchen stores. They’re also often sold at sporting and outdoor supply stores – where you’d find camping gear.
#3 – Pedometer. Got a workout partner who’s always up for a healthy competition? Get of pair of pedometers and toss one to your buddy this Christmas. It’ll make for a fun year of seeing who can log the most steps each week. A very basic and low priced pedometer will keep track of how many steps you take while you’re wearing it. You can find them at the local stuff-mart for as little as $10. But there are, of course, some newfangled all-in-one pedometers that can count your steps, calculate how many calories you’ve burned, measure the distance you’ve traveled, keep track of your steps per minute and teach you a foreign language. Well maybe not the last one. Whether you choose the basic or deluxe model, a pedometer is a great fitness gift for someone you love.
#4 – A Better Blender. One of the easiest ways to get whole, raw fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is a morning smoothie. And nobody likes chunks in his green drink! If you’ve got a friend on your Christmas list who’s still using the blender he inherited from an old roommate, a blender upgrade might be the perfect gift. There are blenders out there these days that can literally pulverize an avocado pit into your strawberry smoothie. No kidding. An avocado pit! These same blenders can turn kale, celery, apples and berries into a silky smooth post-workout pick-me-up.
#5 – Loose Leaf Tea and an Infuser. A high quality organic green tea is a very nice gift for someone interested in natural health and wellness. Green tea (and all true teas) have high levels of antioxidants that strengthen the body’s immune response and help eliminate free radicals. A nice infuser and perhaps a pretty mug would make a swell gift set.
#6 – Sleep Mask. Sleep is something everyone needs, though many of us don’t get enough of it. A soft sleep mask is the perfect gift for anyone on your list. Sleep masks can often be found in the cosmetics department of a drugstore or online. You can make a simple sleep mask by sewing a mask shape out of two comfortable pieces of fabric and filling it with a little bit of uncooked rice and some dried lavender flowers. Attach an elastic strap to the back and you’ve got a gift from the heart that will help your beloved friend sleep well at night.
#7 – CSA Subscription. CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture. And chances are quite good that there’s one in your area – or the area of a person on your Christmas list. A CSA subscription is a way to buy food from local farmers on a regular basis. An individual can sign up to buy a “share” of the farm’s produce through a CSA box. For those who buy shares, each month, a box of seasonal produce (or other farmed goods) is prepared. Normally the farmer will transport the CSA boxes to a central drop point in the community on a set day each month. CSA recipients pick up their boxes and enjoy farm to table foods at affordable prices. Often CSA produce is less expensive than shopping at traditional grocery stores (but fresher and normally pesticide-free). If you’ve got a foodie on your list, consider buying them a half-year or full-year share for Christmas. They’ll remember you with gratitude every month.
#8 – Top of the Line Yoga Mat. For the yogini on your list, how about an upgraded mat? There are $5 yoga mats, and then there are Cadillac yoga mats. If you have a flexible friend that you’d like to treat this Christmas, consider a higher end mat that’s made of more durable, slip resistant, natural materials. Pack it in a personalized yoga mat carry bag for that extra special touch.
#9 – A Swanky Diffuser and an Essential Oil Assortment. High quality essential oils are a perfect gift for your friend who’s into natural remedies and aromatherapy. A good starter kit might include lavender, sage, peppermint and sweet orange oils. There are also several good blends on the market – some to induce sleep, some to promote concentration, others to relieve tension. A diffuser is a wonderful companion gift to the oils. They come in various styles from rustic and homey to techy and contemporary. A rule of thumb when buying essential oils: make sure that the label says 100% pure essential oils. And research brands so you’re sure you’re buying from a reputable source. Ask around and read reviews online. The best essential oil isn’t always the most expensive one.
#10 – A Relaxing Bath Experience. Nothing says, “I care for you” like a gift of sweet soothing relaxation. For the person who has everything already, here are a couple of super easy DIY bath gifts that’ll be well received:
Muscle Relaxing Salts
1 cup baking soda
1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup sea salt
10 drops lavender or other calming essential oil (optional)
Combine the three ingredients well and put them in a pretty container with a lid. Handwrite instructions for use and list the ingredients. For a serious muscle relaxing bath, add the entire contents to a hot bath. Swirl the water around and soak for 20 minutes or more.
Moisturizing Sugar Scrub
1 cup organic, unbleached sugar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup coconut oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil or other essential oil (optional)
Pour the sugar into a short, wide mouth jar. Then pour the other oils in and stir. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and add a pretty bow around the jar. Handwrite instructions for use and list the ingredients. The scrub is to use directly on the skin in the bath or shower, then rinse. It’s also excellent to put next to the sink and use it as a hand scrub.
#11 – Good Fats. For your friend who’s super talented in the kitchen, a gift of culinary indulgence is ideal. Scour some thrift stores, or high-end kitchen stores for some pretty jars and bottles that will look nice on the countertop. Then head to the market and shop for the top-shelf brands of coconut oil, avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil. Clean and dry the glassware. Then pour the oils into the prepared containers. For the coconut oil, you’ll want more of a jar, since it will solidify at room temperature. But bottles are perfect for the avocado and olive oils. Use some kitchen twine or sparkly ribbons (depending on your friend’s kitchen décor) to decorate the jars. It may also be nice to arrange all three jars on an oblong cutting board or serving tray. Any good cook will appreciate some high quality oils as a gift at Christmastime.
#12 – Personal Trainer Sessions. If you have a loved one that has recently begun a fitness regimen and is interested in getting serious, consider buying her a six pack. You know, six sessions with a good personal trainer so she can achieve some of her wellness goals. A gift of personal training sessions is a fantastic gift for a friend that’s dabbling in exercise but could use a little direction.
A gift card is nice. Another bottle of body lotion is useful. But a loving gift of health and fitness is perhaps the best gift of all at Christmas. Spoil the ones you love with thoughtful blessings of wellness this year.
If you want to increase the natural healing power of your body to achieve a more energetic, leaner and younger you, then check out the Best Foods That Rapidly Slim & Heal In 7 Days program.