I rarely start my holiday shopping until mid December. But I keep a gift list throughout the year, and when I see an item I think is perfect for a certain friend or family member, I write it down.
Many of the gifts I give are those I’ve used myself: books I’ve read, games I’ve played, or other products I use regularly.
I like giving gifts with a healthy twist that can be used, enjoyed and then passed on to someone else.
I’ve written multiple posts on the health benefits of fermented foods, especially the ones you make yourself. I love this easy-to-use fermenting kit for beginners, which would be great combined with the fermenter’s bible The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.
The only nutrition books I ever recommend anymore are those by Michael Pollan. He takes such a common sense approach to diet (“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”) and he embraces the joy of not only eating, but gathering and preparing food as well.
I also talk a lot in my posts about staying hydrated. Headaches, colds, allergies and constipation are all ailments that can be helped by drinking more fluids. What better way to encourage someone to drink more water than by giving them a water bottle that is also a fashion accessory?
Several years ago I had to clean out the home of an elderly relative who was also a hoarder for many years. That experience turned me into an avid de-clutterer (if that’s even a word). There are many books on this topic, but I think this short and simple book by Marie Kondo is one of the best.
Have you ever heard of the Danish concept of Hygge (pronouced hue-guh)? Danes always score as one of the happiest nations, perhaps because they understand the importance of little things, such as tea with a friend or a cozy evening by the fire. I think we can all use a little more Hygge in our lives.
What’s cozier in the winter than a warm wrap around your neck and shoulders? A microwaveable heat bag is easy to make with cotton flannel and some uncooked white rice, but if you’re not crafty there are many available to buy. Heat wraps for the neck, shoulders or back are great for treating a variety of aches and pains.
Fun and games
Pandemic is a strategy game that makes you and your friends the virus-hunters, out to stop an outbreak and save mankind. It’s fun, it’s involves teamwork, and everyone learns something about epidemiology along the way.
How do we create healthy adults? We teach children how to take care of their bodies. First, they need to know how their bodies are put together and how they work. A human body model gives some hand-on learning, while David Macaulay’s fantastic artwork makes learning anatomy a real pleasure (for adults, too!).
I read multiple books about healthcare every year. These three really stood out for me, and I wrote posts about all of them.
In Shock is the gripping memoir by Dr. Rana Awdish, an intensive care doctor who ended up a patient in her own ICU. Her recovery is long and difficult, but she also struggles with doctors (and nurses) who don’t communicate well and leave her feeling invisible and disrespected. Dr. Awdish now travels the country teaching healthcare professionals how to communicate better and be more responsive to their patients’ needs.
Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing is a bittersweet book. The author, Dr. Victoria Sweet, shares stories from her medical career and those patients that inspired her most. She laments what our healthcare “system” has become, with its “providers” and “consumers.” She outlines the concept of slow medicine, or taking a much more holistic approach to treating the sick and injured. Will slow medicine ever catch on in our fast-paced healthcare system? Probably not, but it’s still a great book.
I love the title of Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, which probably tells you all you need to know about it: Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer. She writes with such style and humor that even a book about death is fun and entertaining to read!
What will be your favorite gifts to give this year?