Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gifts that Keep On Giving

'Tis the season of giving, and many of us are trying to find the perfect gifts for our friends and families. Before you choose gift baskets loaded with wine, chocolate, and other delicious goodies, though, stop and think. Is this the right gift for your friend who is struggling with her weight or your brother who has high cholesterol and "borderline" diabetes? Well, maybe not, but hey, it's the holidays, right? Doesn't everyone deserve a little treat? And they LOVE chocolate...

Well, yes, I agree that everyone deserves a treat, but is it really a treat if we're giving them something that harms their bodies or works against their health goals? If your friend is fit and healthy, knock yourself out with edible treats with a clear conscience. BUT... if they are NOT, why not focus on gifts that encourage health? Mind you, I'm not suggesting sticking a bow on a bag of carrots, either. How about fun workout socks or a new top? Buy matching pedometers for you and a buddy or two for some friendly competition or at least mutual encouragement. How about a gift certificate for a massage or manicure or pedicure? Or a new healthy cookbook? Out of money (and who isn't?) Make a gift certificate for a outing to a park or walk around the lake or a bike ride. Be creative!

I would be remiss if I also didn't put in a pitch for charitable giving this year. In this tough economy, our non-profits are struggling, too, so consider them as an alternative if you have friends or business associates with whom you typically exchange gift baskets. Our local Hospice, for example, has a program where you can purchase an angel ornament for $25- your gift recipient gets the ornament, Hospice gets the funds, and everyone gets the spiritual health gift of helping others! ( Or Meals on Wheels, where $25 provides ten meals plus services. There are so many wonderful charities who can stretch your donation dollars!

BOTTOM LINE: Think twice before sending out edible treats to ALL your friends and family this year, and show you really care by giving gifts that promote physical, mental or spiritual health! Happy Holidays!

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