Grant and I aren’t doing gifts this year because we’re getting a new kitchen for Christmas – whoo hoo! But I keep thinking of gift ideas that are great to give that fall into the category of “self-care” that don’t cost too much money, but make a big difference for me throughout the year. When I’ve given or received gifts like the ones mentioned, they have staying power and inspire me into the new year.
- A yoga pass (or other wellness-related gift certificate). I’ve been journaling a bit about what things will stick with me from 2016, and one of the biggest takeaways from this year is how important it is to set aside time and space for the mind-body-spirit connection. For me, my biggest teacher in this department has been our local yoga studio, Shine Yoga Wellness. The teachers are all amazing and so good at what they do. The time I spend at Shine is a mini retreat in the midst of the craziness of life, and Grant and I often joke that it is cheaper than therapy, with nearly similar results. If you’re local, be sure to check it out, but if you’re not, find something you love to do that reconnects you with your body and soul. For Grant, that is riding his bike, so I typically try to find him something that makes that easier, even if it’s just as simple as some “coupons” to get away for a long ride with a buddy.
- Books are my favorite gifts to give and receive (I know I said games the other day, but really that is second to books). There is something special about giving and receiving books as gifts because it involves some vulnerability either way. When a friend or family member gives me a book that they loved that I end up loving, it connects us in a deeper way than before. Another big thing I’ve learned this year is what Shauna Niequist says in this Instagram post and what I’ve said less articulately throughout this year: reading is essential, especially these days. Buy from your local bookstore and have your dollars do double the good:
- I love Hearts and Minds Books and ordered a big stack of books from them that I planned to give as gifts this year, but I’ve been reading them first. Shh…don’t tell!
- I love Chelsea Green Books for all things gardening, permaculture, cooking, etc. Use code CGS16 for 35% off through the end of the year.
- I’m still working on my favorite reads of 2016, but check out these favorites if you need some ideas (and trust my taste!).
- The gift of the outdoors. We get an Indiana state park pass every year as a family Christmas gift. I love it because, even though admittance to the state parks is cheap, we’re supporting the parks system, and it incentivizes us to go more often. Getting outside is the best thing I do for myself, and the beauty and tranquility of the state parks and other protected areas is like medicine for my spirit. Indiana has some great gift options, and I bet your state does too if you’re not a Hoosier. Of if you live close to a national park, you’d be crazy not to get one of these.
- Give a class. Grant and I are signed up for this one for any of you locals who want to join us – I can’t think of a much better way to start off 2017 than taking some time to learn how to incorporate some contemplative practices into the daily grind. But find something that works for you – here are a few ideas to spark your curiosity:
- I’ve found some great courses on Udemy that are on my wishlist.
- A triathlon or running training group to encourage you to sign up for an upcoming run/event.
- Here’s a list of free online college courses on all sorts of topics.
- I liked this course from Brene and have my eyes on the parenting one.
- Think about what you’re curious about – and google a class for the topic/issue. You might be surprised what you find! This might encourage you to take a risk in 2017.
- Give memories. I used to keep a family blog, but I completely dropped the ball after Maeve was born. Instead, I started using my personal Instragram as a blog of sorts. I keep it private, so that I don’t have to worry about over-gramming. It is easy to share with family, so they can keep up with us without us having to send pics to lots of different people. But the best part is that I have it hooked up to Chatbooks, which means that, not only is this a gift of memories for our whole family, but it completely lets me off the hook for not blogging, scrapbooking, all of those other cutesy things I should be doing to memorialize our kids’ childhoods. I bought a series a few years ago, but I signed up for just one book a month ($8 for the paperback/$13 for the hardcover) to keep the cost down. I do the paperback because we keep them in our family room, and the kids love to rifle through them. I figure if they mess one up, $8 to replace it isn’t that big of a deal. We’re now up to 30 volumes (60 photos per book), and it automatically sends me a new one once it’s full. Try it out with this link, and you get your first book free! These make GREAT gifts to give because it is so easy for the recipient to customize it, and they will always think of you as they look through it throughout the year.