If you’re anything like me you are wondering how it is possible that Christmas is just around the corner! There’s not many days left to get your Christmas shopping done, but that is no reason to reach for unhealthy Christmas gifts. There is no doubt that Christmas is a time to celebrate and have a few treats, but there are enough treats going around at this time of the year without presents extending the indulgence well into the New Year!
Here are some healthier ideas for the trickiest areas of your Christmas shopping list – for the times when we are most likely to reach for the easy (and often unhealthy) option. Quick & easy can be healthy too! Don’t believe me? Check out these ideas:
Are you someone who stocks up on boxed chocolates or biscuits to give to those unexpected guests and party hosts? It’s a good idea to be prepared – after all, nobody likes to feel like they’ve been forgotten. But how often do you end up eating these chocolates yourself? This year, why not consider some healthier alternatives for these occasions? Here are some suggestions that cost about the same as a box of chocolates.
- Potted herbs – Buy some interesting pots (or get the kids to paint some terra cotta ones), fill with soil and add herb seedlings. You could even get a variety and let your guests pick their favourite, or put a couple of seedlings in a larger pot. Any unused pots can just go straight in your own garden when Christmas is over.
- Hot chocolate in a mug – Buy some cute mugs for about $1 from a variety store. Fill them with a couple of 99% fat-free hot chocolate sachets, a cookie or two and a teaspoon. Cover with cellophane, tie with some pretty ribbon and attach a gift tag, ready to write on at a moment’s notice. Best thing is, if you don’t end up needing to give them out as gifts, you have a hot chocolate ready to go while you unwind from the Christmas chaos – rather than several boxes of chocolates or shortbread laying around the house!
- Nuts in a jar – Buy some glass jars from the variety store and fill them with some mixed nuts (raw and unsalted are best). For something different, layer different types of nuts in the jar for an interesting visual effect.
Buying a gift for a work colleague who you barely know, or some distant relative, is hard enough without having a tight budget to work with! Before you reach for the usual suspects, here are some healthier, inexpensive ideas for your next Secret Santa present.
- Headphones – Some new headphones could help your workmate to get out on their lunch break and go for a walk or run, or help make their commute to work a little more bearable.
- Salad bowl & servers – Get them some beautiful new serving ware to fill with healthy, fresh ingredients.
- Healthy fuel for the mind – Books are always a great option. How about a book of inspirational quotes to see them through the New Year? A healthy cookbook or book on vegetable gardening might also suit your Kris Kringle.
- Health themed diary or calendar – Look for one that helps raise money for health-related research – you’ll not only help your Kris Kringle get organised and healthy, but also help support others in the process.
It’s all too tempting to fill the Christmas stocking with sugary treats. But there are usually enough treats around at this time of year without giving the kids their own stash! Here are some healthier alternatives to the usual chocolate and lollies.
- Fruit case – whether they are inflatable cases or hard plastic cases, these little beauties help to stop fruit from getting squished in the bottom of the school bag and may even encourage kids to eat a healthy snack.
- Fun toothbrush – get one in their favourite colour or decorated with their latest cartoon obsession. What about one that sings a song while they brush?
- Skipping rope – A childhood staple that every child should have. How about one that counts skips to encourage them to skip more?
- Bag of balls – fill a bag full of all sorts of balls. Include different colours, shapes & sizes so they can play a variety of active games.
- Play silks or ribbons – these simple props are great for dancing and creative movement.
- Grow your own herb or vegetable seeds – grow these on the windowsill to show your kids the joy and wonder of where their food comes from.
- Bento box – A cute Japanese lunch box with lots of small sections. Great to fill with healthy & creative lunches in the New Year.
- Healthy food play models – wood, plastic or even knitted – having some healthy food models to play with can get young ones more familiar with their fruit and vegetables and hopefully encourage them to eat more at meal-time.
Got a whole family to buy for? If you are keen to save time and money, consider buying one gift that the whole family can enjoy together. How about these ideas?
- Fruit picking day out – Buy a family pass to a berry picking farm or orchard. Include a gift voucher with extra spending money for some local produce purchases and lunch in the cafe.
- Healthy meal kit – Choose one or two of your favourite healthy recipes and print or write them out. Choose easy ones appropriate to the ages of any children. Buy all non-perishable ingredients and arrange them in a basket with a few cooking utensils. Pop in a gift card for the cost of any perishable ingredients.
- Fun run or walk – Pay the entry fee for the whole family to do a fun run or walk together. There are lots around and many raise fund for health-related causes, such as cancer, diabetes or the local children’s hospital.
- Fruit and vegetable delivery – There are many online stores that will deliver a weekly or fortnightly mixed box of fresh produce. Set this up for the family for January and save them some time at the grocery store, they may even come across a new fruit or vegetable to try.
Store-bought hampers tend to be filled with lots of nibblies and treats. Put together one of these homemade suggestions instead and give an experience.
- Slip, slop, slap – Everything needed for a day at the beach. A hat, sunscreen, a beach towel and sunglasses. Add a bucket & spade or beach ball for the little ones, or a magazine for the not-so-little ones and you have the closest thing to sunshine in a hamper.
- Healthy cooking hamper – a healthy cookbook (or two), a few tea towels, a nice chopping board, wooden spoon (or other utensils).
- Green thumb (great for families) – gardening tools, gloves, pots, seeds/seedlings.
- Relax & de-stress – Help someone unwind after the busy Christmas season. Put together some bath oils or salts, loofah, blow-up pillow, a CD of relaxing music and some scented candles in a nice basket.
I hope that helps with your Christmas shopping over the weekend – wish me luck with mine!
Do you have any other healthy gift ideas? What’s the healthiest gift you’ve ever been given?