Perhaps presents bring out the 'kid' inside all of us, transporting us back in time when opening a gift was the most exciting thing ever! Hmm...could we have discovered a new anti-aging technique here? If the gifts are as health-enhancing as the ones listed below, and the act of receiving one of them reconnects us with our youth, then hey, forget the anti-wrinkle cream...Bring on the presents!
Here's a list of some of my favorites - for giving and receiving ...
1) When you don't know what to get your aunt and uncle or family friends you'll be visiting this holiday season, or don't know someone's taste, a luxurious, gourmet food basket is the perfect choice. All that upscale fanciness just makes you feel upscale and fancy yourself! Here are some websites where you can get some unique baskets:
www.artisanalcheese.com (our fav is the "red wine" cheese collection)
www.vitalchoice.com/category/gift-packs-certificates (for incredible high-quality "gifts from the sea"
2) For that friend who loves to cook, is committed to health and the environment, and appreciates your gardening (but may not be up for the challenge herself), give the gift of a share in a local CSA ('community supported agriculture'). They will receive a weekly or bi-weekly basket of all kinds of fruits and vegetables, from purple kale to rainier cherries. The produce varies each week, so it's truly a gift that keeps surprising the recipient! (to find a participating farm near you got to www.localharvest.org/csa)
3) A great gift for a health-conscious friend, teacher, or colleague is a subscription to "Body + Soul" Magazine. I devour this magazine each time it comes because it offers right-on insights about whole, healthy living (an insight from this month's issue: Focus on feeling great, and the looking-good part will follow. I couldn't have said it better myselfJ) (www.wholeliving.com/gift)
4) How about that classic - but always appreciated - gift of scented lotions, essential oils, shampoos and soaps. (Men love these too, by the way). For truly all-natural, high quality products try www.jurlique.com (they infuse their products with "living energy from the earth"; try their "florin" or "freesia" perfumes) and www.auracacia.com (environmentally-friendly, animal-friendly, pure essential oils and aromatherapy products).
6) And don't forget the chocolate lover in your life (hint hint ;)...try www.theochocolate.com for the only American roaster of organic cocoa beans; or www.dagobachocolate.com for incredible organic dark chocolates.
7) "Stress Relief in a Basket" for a harried mom, an overworked teacher, or anyone who could use a little R & R, check out health journey's (www.healthjourneys.com) basket full of stress-busting goodies (an aromatherapy candle, some relaxation cds, a special bolster pillow, and "stress less" inhalation beads)...who couldn't use this??!
8) And if you want to take that "stress relief" a little further, there's nothing like a gift certificate for a full-body massage (hot stone, Swedish, shiatsu, deep-tissue, you name it), a luxurious manicure and pedicure---and maybe even an aroma-therapy facial! These are gifts that every woman could use, especially at this time of year! (oh, and don't forget the men!) My husband loves a hot lather shave from The Grooming Lounge (www.groominglounge.com) here in DC...If you don't live here, don't despair, these places are popping up everywhere!
9) And finally, for the gift that gives back in more ways than you can even begin to imagine, check out Heifer International (www.heifer.org/catalog). This incredible organization has developed programs that alleviate hunger and poverty worldwide. They call theirs the "most important gift catalog in the world" and I couldn't agree more. For a small amount of money, your gift helps to end poverty, hunger and despair for families and villages, and perhaps, one day, even entire countries. Nothing feels better than knowing you've made that kind of difference...
So this season, enjoy choosing, wrapping and giving a present to a loved one and enjoy receiving, opening and unwrapping a present given thoughtfully to you. And don't forget to add yourself to your list...choose something that makes you feel yummy or decadent or truly nourished, wrap it up, and joyfully savor this perfectly chosen gift...