Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

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By Dr. Nina Radcliff

Holiday gift-giving is an opportunity for choosing gifts that support your loved one’s enhancing their health while helping to make their world a healthier place. 

From a nice, new pillow to quality kitchenware to an essential oil diffuser or nice pair of tennis shoes – there are lots of special gifts that fall into this category that are great to give (and receive)! 

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: About Healthy Gift Ideas

When considering your holiday spending, consider the following health-benefit gifts that are thoughtful and practical:

Fitness Friendly: Physical activity improves physical health and too, mental health and overall wellbeing. Great gift ideas include:

  • Gym memberships, dance or other aerobic workout or movement classes 
  • Treat yourself and a friend to a one-hour dance lesson to spend time with one another during the holidays while burning up to 500 calories in one session.
  • Home exercise equipment like a treadmill, stationary bike, or stair stepper. Used equipment is often available at discounted prices. 
  • Workout essentials your loved one needs to complete their favorite exercises from tennis shoes, socks, water bottle, ear buds to a jump rope, yoga mat, weights (dumbbells to ankle or arm weights), resistance bands, or fitness clothes –  are just a few ideas.
  • Fit bits or armbands to motivate while tracking activity 

Beneficial Sleep: Quality sleep is the crown jewel of good health and happiness. The body releases growth hormones (which fix damaged tissues); reduces the body’s amount of stress hormones; boosts the immune system and memory (staving off dementia) while reducing risk for heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, depression and anxiety. 

  • Bed sheets, mattress pads, comforter and pillows all help facilitate comfort. 
  • Wake-up lights with sunrise simulation can help your rise and shine by working on circadian rhythm (our body’s internal clock that is modulated by light). And, light therapy boxes have been shown to help stave off or alleviate seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that occurs during this time of year when the hours of sunlight are truncated.  
  • Essential oils and aromatherapy can boost feelings of relaxation, a foundation for a good night of sleep. 
  • White noise machines mask other sounds that might occur naturally in your environment (like routine honking or car sounds, or people talking).

Balanced Eating: A well-balanced diet helps the body get the right nutrients, minerals, and building blocks for optimal functioning. Ana Wigmore said it wisely: “The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” 

  • Slow cookers are a great way to prepare pot roast, soups, stews, desserts and dips
  • Veggie spiralizers help turn fruit and veggies into delicious, healthy noodles
  • Treating a loved one to a cooking class is a great gift that can be enjoyed. It is a gift that will keep giving.
  • Healthy meal kit delivery options provide ingredients and recipes using simple techniques and no prep, encouraging healthy eating while alleviating stress and saving time.
  • Veggie, fruit, or cheese of-the-month clubs are a good way to give a gift that lasts months. 
  • Air fryers offer a healthier alternative to frying your food, while giving that crisp and crunch that everyone craves, at times.
  • There is wonderful health-wise cooking ware that provide the right tools to make cooking easier and safer – for all ages. (It’s a great way to teach kids about healthy foods while having fun and creating delicious meals or snacks.)

Rest and Relaxation. Any opportunity to relax is a valuable and sentimental gift to give.

  • Time: Planning on spending time, even if it’s just a few hours together at home, is a great way to celebrate the holidays. Similarly, giving a parent or spouse a chance to be alone is valuable and often helps relieve stress.
  • Spa time – give a favorite scented candle, oil diffuser, Epsom salts – or other favorites that encourage relaxing and taking the mind off the hustle and bustle
  • A music membership subscription allows your special someone to tune into their favorite artist or genre – which not only helps improve mood, memory but lifts the spirit.
  • A special book of their lifestyle interest (self-help, spiritual, learning or how-to)
  • Tickets to a performing art show such as the ballet, opera, concert or theater 
  • Restaurant gift card or a dining experience “together” where you can also savor the food and good company. Sitting down with loved ones and dining is always special.

The holidays are a great time to help promote healthy habits that last beyond the winter months – enjoy!

Dr. Nina Radcliff is dedicated to her profession, her patients and her community, at large. She is passionate about sharing truths for healthy, balanced living as well as wise preventive health measures.

She completed medical school and residency training at UCLA and has served on the medical faculty at The University of Pennsylvania. She is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. Author of more than 200 textbook chapters, research articles, medical opinions and reviews; she is often called upon by media to speak on medical, fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle topics impacting our lives, today.