Give the Gift Of Health This Spa Holiday Season


What better way to send the message that you care about the recipients of your holiday gifts this year — give them a gift of health! No matter what their age, there are many gift ideas that will help your friends and family live healthier, high quality lives.

Eating well and taking care of our bodies has increasingly become the subject of public health and media messages. Fortunately, there are numerous products on the market that can help us to do so.

When it comes to eating well, gifts might include books or a magazine subscription related to healthy cooking, a basket of novel healthy foods, kitchen gadgets or machines that can make healthy foods (such as a blender for smoothies, an air popper for popcorn, a grill basket, etc.). Why not gather copies of your favorite healthy recipes or find some online and create a personalized recipe file or notebook?

Consider theme gifts with several related items included. This might be a set of pottery bowls and a healthy soup cookbook. It could be a bread machine with a whole grain bread cookbook. How about a wok with healthy stir-fry sauces, special whole grain rice, and healthy recipes?

A welcome gift might be healthy cooking classes or a healthy food-of-the-month club. A personalized gift might be a certificate that promises that you will make a healthy meal for them sometime in the future. For a larger gift, find a personal chef in the area or a caterer who can prepare one or more day’s worth of food. This is a special gift for new parents, someone who does not enjoy cooking, older adults who find cooking for themselves difficult, or a family with both parents working. You could also give a gift certificate for a meal at a healthy restaurant or health food store.

We all know how important it is to be physically active. Consider giving books, videos/DVDs, or magazines on topics related to being active. This could include topics such as dancing, kayaking, hiking or cross country ski trails, bike repair, running or strength training. Music-based audio tapes are a great accompaniment to physical activity. Many people enjoy walking tapes or books on tape. For some activities there are special boots, shoes, clothing, gloves or protective gear that make a welcome gift.

Then of course, there are all the gadgets related to sports or working out — bats, balls, rackets, nets, hoops, weights, yoga mats, exercise balls or bands, pedometers, jump ropes, bike and biking gear, hiking gear, and others. For enjoying outdoor winter activities, try snowshoes, cross country or downhill ski equipment, sleds or skates.

For parents of small children, it is often difficult for the parents to get out and exercise because of child-care issues. A solution might be finding ways to take the children along. Related gifts might be backpack child carriers for hiking, attachments for bikes that can allow you to bring children along, or jogger strollers. Mom or dad can then multitask and get in their cardio and strength training all at once.

Several interactive computer games are available that make physical activity especially fun. They are a creative way to get children more active. How about the gift of classes related to physical activity (aerobics, yoga, tai chi, dancing, swimming, kickboxing, spinning, Pilates, etc.) or membership to a gym. Consider giving a gift certificate for them to spend time with a personal trainer or dietitian can help to personalize goals for improved eating habits and physical activity.

A larger gift for the whole family might be a treadmill, elliptical machine, rowing machine, stair machine, stationary bike (or a stand to convert your road bike to a stationary one for the winter).

Another great family gift — to plan a family vacation that involves being active — biking, hiking, rafting, snorkeling, kayaking, etc. How about the gift of membership in a club related to outdoor activities (hiking, skiing, etc.) or a season pass.

Since stress counters our health goals, think of ideas that encourage friends and family to relax. This might be a spa gift certificate for a massage or a meditation class. It could be a promise to watch someone’s children while they take a break to do something relaxing (like time to read or take a bubble bath) or for time to exercise.

Recordings of relaxing music are a great gift idea. How about tickets to a concert of relaxing music? There are many books on the subject of relaxation as well. A much-appreciated gift might be a certificate for time at a local day spa.

So put on your thinking cap. Pretend it is you that is the recipient and ponder what you would like as a gift that would help you to reach your health goals. In fact, this might just be the list you give to people who ask you what you want for a gift at the holidays!