Holiday Gifts Can Lift Spirits – and Boost Health

Holiday Plant & Tree OrnamentsDuring the holidays, to show love and appreciation for our loved ones, we often spend lots of time pondering and selecting just the right gifts.

We want our gifts to enhance the lives of the people we care about, and sure, we need to stay within budget. What better way to make an impact than with a present that promotes good health?

Here are some ideas for inexpensive holiday gifts centered on what really matters: the well-being of your family and friends.

Hot stuff: You’d love to give a lavish fruit basket, but the price might not be as sweet. Instead, make a batch of healthy soup such as lentil or black bean, and present it in a Mason jar adorned with a colorful bow and a sprig of evergreen. Folks will instantly warm to you!

Make tracks: Walking and running are popular ways to stay in shape, whether outdoors or on a treadmill. A healthy holiday gift for the exercise-minded could be a high-quality water bottle – in stainless steel, for example – to promote hydration. Other inexpensive holiday gifts for the health conscious include bicycle accessories such as bells, locks or gloves; a yoga mat or DVD; a jump rope, or a set of resistance bands. Take into account your recipient’s fitness level and personal interests.

A relaxing read: Have you checked how much it costs for a massage these days? It’s enough that it could rattle your nerves! If you can’t afford spa certificates for loved ones, consider gifting them with books on managing stress. Bookstores often have bargains this time of year, so you needn’t necessarily pay full price. Books with themes such as sports, mystery or romance can also be stress-busters.

Healthy recipes: Gather up your healthiest recipes and bind them into a small cookbook. For a truly frugal gift, print and hole-punch the recipes and then place them in a binder decorated with holiday stickers. If you want to spend a little more, have a copy center bind the book for you with a holiday-themed cover.

Sports gear: For the kids on your list who are into sports, consider a holiday gift that supports their active lifestyles. While some sports gear prices may make you cry “foul,” protective gear is often more affordable – and functional. Comparison shop for the best prices on protective items – from helmets and gloves to facemasks. If you’re on a really tight budget, gift them inexpensive T-shirts, jerseys or caps emblazoned with sports-team logos.

Board games: Playing board games keeps the mind sharp and promotes healthy socialization, whether for children or adults. Classic games such as Scrabble, Risk and Pictionary can be a bit pricey, so look for them marked-down at store sales, or on Internet auction sites. A bonus: Playing these games can get the kids off of the computer for a few hours – that’s healthy in itself!

Stuff a stocking: You can pile on the healthy holiday gifts – and still keep them compact. Purchase or make an inexpensive felt stocking and stuff it with small items that protect or promote health. Think about travel sizes of sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitizer and the like. Or insert a ready-to-go bath kit for the gym with shampoo, body wash and a loofah or other natural sponge, or exfoliating gloves. Another alternative would be a stocking full of healthy fruits such as apples, pears, oranges and clementine’s.

A green gift: Plants are calming to look at and some improve indoor air. You could purchase an inexpensive clay pot and paint it in holiday colors. If you wish, add a small poinsettia or a nice green plant to place in the pot. Supermarkets sometimes can be a good place to find affordable houseplants. Another “green” holiday gift might be a small plastic bag filled with potting soil and seeds, and tied with a bow – also a good choice if your recipient is a gardener.

What’s the greatest holiday gift you’ve ever received that also improved your health? Share it with us in the “Comments” section below.

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