It is important to introduce this post by reiterating that we are not fans of over-consumption – whether it be food or stuff. This gift guide is not meant to be a way of advocating a lot of the crazy that happens in December (at least in the U.S).
However, because gifts are bought during this season and many people find genuine pleasure in the traditions of holiday gift giving, we wanted to offer some ideas and suggestions for gifts that can support and encourage a Whole9 life.
Experiences Instead of Clutter
If context and circumstances allow, let your gift be an experience, not a disposable thing that ends up adding clutter. Although the research is not definitive, there’s a lot of evidence to support the conclusion that experiences result in more lasting pleasure.
A gift that leads to a shared experience between the giver and the recipient is ideal, but if location makes that impossible then there’s plenty of ways you can be creative and still give your loved one an opportunity to do something special, fun or memorable while thinking fondly of you, the giver.
There’s also ways you can add a lot of personality and customization to a gift certificate. Some people feel like cash is a depersonalized gift, but if you get creative it doesn’t have to be. For example, if you purchase a gift certificate for a massage, you could add a personal note about how you want to encourage your family member to relax, take time for themselves and how much you appreciate their hard work. You could even include a suggested play list of songs to listen to on the way to and from the massage, or send a special quote you want them to read right before they go to the appointment.
If you give a restaurant gift certificate, consider making some suggestions for what to get on the menu, or write a note about a special memory you’ve had at that location. Mention an art gallery near by they could add to their evening out. There are easy and unlimited ways to add meaning to a gift card.
Experience Gift Ideas:
- Dinner out (gift certificate to a restaurant or cash with restaurant suggestions)
- Massage or facial
- Gift certificate for activity like rock climbing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or horse back riding
- Pay for one month of a gym or yoga studio membership they already have or have wanted to try
- House cleaning by you or a professional (great for parents)
- Cooking class
- Dance, music or art lessons
- A session with a special trainer or instructor your loved one has mentioned (go together if you can!)
- Gardening store gift-certificate
- Concert, movie, museum, theater or sporting event tickets
- Tickets to a conference like Paleo f(x) or the Sea, Earth & Space Summit
Another way to approach this is to give a physical gift that leads to an experience. For example, new hiking shoes could come with a note about a great hiking trail you want to try together. Give a child a book about camping or gardening with note committing to doing that activity together in warmer months.
If you know someone who has been interested in doing a Whole30, but afraid to jump in alone, you could give them a copy of It Starts With Food or pre-order our new book (coming April 2015) for your loved one and commit to doing a Whole30 with them in January or after you receive the new book next spring. And of course don’t forget other items that can lead to special experiences around the table like high quality meat or kitchen gadgets. For the Whole30 veteran, a stocking full of RxBars would surely result in some extra holiday joy.
We’re not suggesting that you use gift-giving holidays to push your values on unsuspecting relatives. But, where appropriate, when it would be appreciated by the recipient, gifts can be a great way to share things that have improved your life. For example, did you read one of our sleep articles and buy a light alarm that has helped increase your sleep quality? That might be a great gift to consider for someone you love.
Of course not all the suggestions above are appropriate for everyone on your list, but if gift giving is a part of your family tradition we hope these ideas may inspire you to walk past the candles, lotion and ear trimmers and instead spend money on something that doesn’t contribute to physical or mental clutter. Let your gifts create lasting memories and meaningful experiences. We hope these ideas inspire you to come up with creative ways to use gift-giving to empower your loved ones in their own journey towards a healthy, vibrant life.
What other ideas do you have for giving experience-related gifts? What suggestions would you add to this list?
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