As we enter the holiday season, our thoughts turn to fun family gatherings — and, of course, festivities that call for giving gifts. This year, choose healthy holiday gifts that offer a bevy of benefits to friends and family of all ages. Check out our compilation of gift ideas for every budget, and don’t forget to treat yourself, too.
1. Get Cooking
Cookbooks are a wonderful holiday gift for the foodie in your life — or for the friend who can barely boil water. We’re partial to cookbooks that complement recipes for delicious meals with beautiful photographs. Vegetarians will love classic cookbooks and new favorites like “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison, “The Moosewood Cookbook” by Mollie Katzen and “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi. For omnivores, try “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook” from America’s Test Kitchen, “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman or “Fast Food, Good Food” by Andrew Weil.
2. On the Move
Kids — and kids at heart — are sure to enjoy games that help them stay physically and mentally active. Competitive types will like Reverse Charades, Silly Street, Escape the Room or Jenga. If you want to encourage activity without having to worry about having enough players, look for solo ventures such as Yoga Pretzels Yoga Cards, Strength Stack Fitness Cards or Playout: The Fitness Card Game.
3. Work Out the Kinks
Whether your loved one is an athlete or sits at a desk all day, a gadget that can help them improve their posture and ease sore muscles makes for a great gift. A foam roller is always a classic choice, or you can get more creative with the Gaiam Dual Zone Back Roller, the Plexus Wheel or RumbleRoller Massage Balls.
4. Oodles of Zoodles
Spiralizers allow users to create noodles from vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, beets and butternut squash. You can find these products at just about every price point; look for highly rated brands such as Spiralizer, The Original Zoodle Slicer and Brieftons. Round out the gift with a selection of fresh veggies or a healthy homemade sauce.
5. Just Say Om
Regular meditation has been linked to many health benefits, but it can be challenging to work the practice into your routine. Inspire your loved one to practice active relaxation with a subscription to the Headspace app (there’s also a version for kids), a comfortable meditation cushion or a meditation class. Want to try it yourself? Sign up for one of the eight-week mindfulness programs offered throughout Lahey Health.
6. Stay on Track
Fitness trackers can help you stay on top of your health. They can count the steps you take and the calories you consume, and they can grade the quality of your sleep. Far from the simple pedometers of the past, today’s fitness trackers are tech-savvy and fashionable, making them the perfect healthy holiday gifts. You can find options at different price points; Fitbit and Garmin make several options, and there’s always the Apple Watch.
7. Sleep on It
A sleep machine (also known as a white noise machine) can be a boon for those with insomnia or other sleep problems. These devices — which emit soothing sounds like rain, waterfalls, cricket chirps, static or the whir of a fan — can help mask noisy environments. Look for machines from Homedics or Snooz.
8. Color Me Happy
Coloring books aren’t just for kids — they can be a great gift for any age. Research suggests that the mindful act of coloring or making art provides a soothing outlet for stress. You can find an assortment of adult coloring books online and in stores. Is your friend or family member a bigger fan of words? Writing in a journal can have similar benefits; look for beautifully bound options online or at book retailers.
9. Get a Grip
Home improvements and meal prepping aren’t off-limits to those with arthritis. They’re just a little more difficult. Easy-to-grip utensils and tools such as those from Oxo make excellent stocking stuffers for anyone who has difficulty grasping items — or anyone who just wants to make the process a little more comfortable.
10. One to Grow On
You don’t need a green thumb to grow your own herbs. Kids, gardening novices and people without access to outdoor green space will enjoy starting and tending a kitchen herb garden. Kits from AeroGarden, Planters’ Choice and Planter’s Pro are good options.
11. H2O on the Go
Looking for a gift for your child’s teacher? Forget about apples — a reusable water bottle can be a thoughtful and healthy holiday gift. Choose those made from stainless steel or BPA-free plastic; Mira, Hydro Flask, Nalgene and S’well are solid brands.
12. Sweet Things
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without treats. Stay on the healthier side by opting for high-quality dark chocolate, a fruit bowl or Edible Arrangement, or homemade dips and spreads. For more healthy snack suggestions, talk to your Lahey nutritionist.