Because I choose to live a healthy lifestyle I don’t give gifts that are in contradiction to that guiding principle. I want to be true to my values, but of course the reason you give a gift is because you want the recipient to enjoy and find meaning in it.
So the balance is to find gifts that are in keeping with my values – you already know I don’t consider it a “gift” to give people I care about things that are bad for them – but are also a welcome surprise to the person I give it to. And even though I give “healthy” gifts, obviously I don’t want to imply “you’re a mess and you need this to fix yourself.” Not a terribly thoughtful message at any time of year.
For those friends and loved ones you know are starting to make healthier eating and exercise choices, there are some great gift ideas that might be welcome and useful, without seeming preachy or judgmental. Here’s a good place to start:
- A magazine subscription to Cooking Light, Runner’s World, and Health
- A pedometer
- A Brita filtered-water pitcher
- Earbuds for running (or walking) that wrap around your ear securely
- How to Cook Everything cookbook, by Mark Bittman. Seriously, best cookbook ever. A wealth of nutritional information in addition to great recipes.
These are all great entry-level gifts that are inexpensive and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Other simple ideas include a yoga mat, jump rope or gift card to Lululemon or other fitness clothing store.
It’s probably pretty obvious that most of these ideas are exercise rather than food related. There are a couple of reasons for that.
Fitness-related products are plentiful and lend themselves well to gift-giving. They come in easily wrapped boxes that can be ordered online or picked up from a half-dozen stores close to home.
Food-related gifts are much more challenging. I love healthy cookbooks and magazines, but short of a Harry & David gift box (those are fine albeit pricey) there are few healthy holiday gifts to be had. Sad, when you think about it.
Food-related gifts are also trickier when you apply the non-preachy-non-judgmental standard. Sometimes the better choice is to simply NOT give something unhealthy. In other words, do NOT take a plateful of holiday cookies as a hostess gift. Ditto the fudge to your children’s teachers. I’ll bet you anything these folks would welcome a gift card to Starbucks or a jar of homemade salsa instead.
Holiday gifts are given in the spirit of the season when they truly reflect your love for the person you’re giving it to. It’s an added bonus when you can tap into a burgeoning interest in healthy eating or exercise.
Because the best gifts say, “I love you and I want you around for a long time to come!”
Losing weight and healthy gift-giving are challenging, but it gets easier. And your friends and loved ones are so damn worth it!
Let’s go get it!