I love presents as much as the next person. But I hate the holiday hangover that comes when you look at the gifts you’ve given and received and realize they really only contribute to the ocean of meaningless stuff. For that reason, I have been known to give flax seeds and vitamins as gifts. Not exactly festive, I know. So this year, I set out to find gifts that are helpful, healthful, and pretty and/or fun. Here are my favorites. I love them for their ability to help the people we care about relax, take care of themselves, and feel energized.
Is there anything these tiny towels can’t do? Scented with lavender essential oil, these wipes disinfect grimy kid hands, sweaty treadmill handles, and your own hands after touching something gross. And because it’s lavender that’s doing the disinfecting, they also calm you the heck down, fast. You can just tear the package open and take a whiff when you need it. Or put one in your pillowcase to help you sleep. Or place it over a heating vent in your car. And when you’re done, you can throw them on your compost heap—they’re biodegradable.
Organic cotton and hemp yoga bolster
I’ve pledged my love for the yoga bolster before. I believe every home should have one. They are for adults what teddy bears are for kids—using one grounds you, calms you down, and makes you feel loved no matter how crappy a mood you’re in. And this particular bolster is particularly fantastic. It’s stuffed with organic cotton so no toxic chemicals for you to inhale (or for farmers to get on their skin or for the earth to have to absorb) and covered in a neutral hemp fabric that goes with any décor. Leave it under your coffee table in the living room, on the floor at the foot of your bed, or anywhere you’ll see it regularly and thus, be inspired to lie on it whenever you need a little TLC.
Skinny Skinny bath salts
A warm bath can cure many ills. Encourage someone you love to take more of them with these dreamy smelling organic bath salts. They also come in sample sizes (for $4), which make ideal stocking stuffers or small tokens to send to people far away.
Having this beautiful bottle perched on the edge of the tub can help you decide to forego a quick shower for something a little more restorative. I think the green tea and jasmine flavor is totally delectable, but they’ve got several scent combos to choose from.
This jolly little creature transforms anyone in to a gifted massage therapist. Giving one to your lover is a little self-serving, I must admit, because it’s basically saying, “I’d like more massages, please!” So be it. You totally deserve more massages! (And you can use it on him or her.)
You don’t even need to wrap it — just let it peek out from a stocking.
Bring Your Own T (Leave a comment to enter to win your own starter kit!)
A brilliant idea executed beautifully by the folks at Sanctuary T, a tea emporium in New York City’s Soho. They provide custom blends of loose leaf tea along with several travel brewing pouches so you can experience the exquisite flavors and soul-soothing ceremony of loose leaf tea anywhere you can secure a cup of hot water.
Think of it as a personal, portable tea ceremony.
Pinecone beeswax candles
Beeswax candles burn clean, give off a beautiful warm light, and smell sweet as, well, honey. These pinecone-shaped beauties, handmade by beekeepers in Southern Louisiana, add a lovely seasonal touch.
Phillips GoLITE Blu Energy light therapy device
I bought one of these for my Dad last year. He and I both suffer from Season Affectation Disorder, and I half wanted to help relieve him of his doldrums and half wanted to use him as a guinea pig to see if light therapy really worked. Dad had recently moved his desk to his sun-drenched living room and had already noticed a big uptick in his mood, so he told me the best gift I could give would be to keep it and use it myself (I was working in a windowless closet at the time). I quickly fell in love with this little blue light, and would feel a little bit sad when it clicked off. (It comes with a timer that allows it to turn itself on and off.) It’s a bit of a big-ticket item ($129.99 at J&R, $35 cheaper than Amazon!), and not a particularly sexy one at that. (Here’s more about my experiences with it on the Gaiam Stream of Consciousness blog.) But what’s more appealing than feeling well-balanced and more like yourself?
Traditional Chinese Medicine advocates keeping your neck warm, as cold and wind can “invade” the body at the neck and lead to colds and other infections. Traditional scarves are great, but can get in the way when wearing them all day long. Enter the neck scarf—basically a turtleneck without the sweater attached. I love this one and this one from Etsy.
It just wouldn’t be the holidays without a little something sweet. Make your confection (sustainably farmed, of course) dark chocolate and you reap numerous health benefits. These dark chocolate covered caramels sprinkled with sea salt from NuNu’s Chocolates in Brooklyn, strike just the right balance between salty and sweet. And Seattle’s Theo Chocolates is the first and only organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the United States. Their dark chocolate bars with bits of peppermint sticks are a great way to have some of the traditional flavors of the season without having a complete sugar-fest.
Tanja Bochnig, a Berlin-based yoga teacher, handcrafts her own scents with only the most natural ingredients. These scents whisper instead of shout. When you wear them, you can’t help but keep sneaking your wrist up to your nose so you can take another whiff—they are tantalizing. Here’s Rose L’Orange, my favorite—a nice balance between decadent rose and perky citrus.
If you’re nervous about selecting a perfume for someone without smelling it first, here’s a sampler of three different organic perfumes for $25. Once you know which one is your recipient’s favorite, you can get her a bigger bottle of it next year.
Last but not least
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also include my book, The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide on this list. It’s packed with 77 simple remedies to modern stressful situations, including fights with your boss, bad hair days, computer crashes, and road rage.
Plus, it’s really nicely designed. Helpful, inspiring, cute, cheap—what more could you want for a gift? I’ll even sign it and personalize it for your recipient.
What will you be giving as gifts this year?
Leave a comment to share your thoughts AND be entered to win a starter BYOT pack.
Congrats to Be!
She shared a comment about how one of her friends introduced her to a self-care practice, and she won a goodie from my grab-bag of mind-body media. Here’s her comment:
” I write haikus, thanks to my good friend Rodrigo who is always encouraging me to write more. While writing them my mind flies away from worries and any other thought that might be disrupting my day. Concentrating in a way to express what you are seeing or feeling in three short lines makes you forget everything else.”
Take care and keep breathing (and happy Thanksgiving!!)
11 thoughts on “MsMindbody’s Holiday Gift Guide”
I need to know, where does one use the bolster? Under the… neck? belly?
ps. this is a great list, Kate! Thanks.
I will be giving gift cards that the recipient can donate to his/her favorite charity. I just go one for my nephew for his 12th bday, and he thought it was pretty cool. But I’d love it if someone got me a copy of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide!
Here is the charity gift card site:
These are great ideas! I’m going to check out that bolster.
I am making and giving homemade vegan cookies, my traditional holiday gift. This year, I plan on making cranberry white chocolate biscotti, hazelnut fudge, sugar cookies, chocolate chip chai shortbread, and rugelach. Most of the recipes come from two of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero and The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Most of the recipients are not vegan and they are always a hit!
I’m also going to make some homemade limoncello for a few especially good (or naughty!) people on my list. This recipe comes from The Urban Vegan by Dynise Balcavage.
I love to give homemade edible gifts. Most people in my life are fortunate enough to not need more stuff. Also, as an unemployed, soon-to-be nurse-midwife student, it’s all I can afford to give. And no one is ever disappointed when they get cookies and booze!
I would love to give and receive a stocking full of all these things!
Eileen, you can use a bolster all kinds of ways. Check out this post I wrote for the Gaiam blog with 5 suggestions: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/5-yoga-poses-to-do-with-a-bolster-for-extra-strength-stress-relief/.
Joelle, very cool gift idea! And Joselle, homemade limoncello?? Fuggedaboudit! Sounds divine.
I couldn’t find the perfume sampler on the April Aromatics page. Would you be able to post or send a link please?
The perfume sampler came from another organic perfumer (the right word?) on Etsy. I wanted to include some kind of sampler because I know buying scents un-smelled feels risky, but unfortunately Tanja of April Aromatics doesn’t offer one. Here’s the link to the sampler I found:
First of all, thanks for the vegimentals. It’s so lovely to get a reminder to pause and be mindful in your inbox, even if just for the minute or two that it takes to read.
This list is yummy and for me, so timely. I have recently discovered, re-discovered, properly-discovered-after-years-of-dabbling-without-commitment the benefits of both yoga and tea.
I’ve recently become a karma yogi in return for free yoga three times a week and I can’t believe I didn’t do it earlier. I have just finished my studies and am searching for a job at the moment, so regular yoga practice is way beyond my budget and I don’t know enough to practise alone.
I finally summoned the courage to ask if I could become a karma yogi at a local studio (I had this ridiculous idea that you had to be an excellent, experienced yogi to even ask…) Feeling like a bit of a fraud, I started three weeks ago and my yoga has already come on leaps and bounds.
It’s simply wonderful! I practice hot yoga, which I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the combination of warmth, cardio-exercise and deep stretching suits me perfectly. It is definitely ‘my’ yoga – finally! I’m so enthused that I woke this morning and decided it would be great to do just one or two postures on waking. As hot yoga postures are clearly not suitable when one is stiff and cold, I found a great page which suggested doing some kind of sun salutation. So this morning, I started learning the half sun salutation – it’s a start. :o)
Not only that one of the other karma yogis introduced me to Genmaicha tea the other day, setting me off on yet another road to discovery… Needless to say, herbal teas are also quickly becoming a much-welcome habit…
It’s taken me years to get here, but I finally feel as if I am on the right track. Thank-you vegimentals!
P.S: My gift suggestion would be the lovely jewellery from Chain of Daises. I have very recently discovered this designer and I think her pieces are simply scrumptious without breaking the bank! I have put my order in to Santa!
Thank you so much for including my neck scarf in this beautifully curated gift guide. I’m currently offering free shipping on that item and others in my shop. ‘Tis the season 🙂 Happy holidays!