There are plenty of gift suggestion articles this time of year. They might focus on lifestyle suggestions, such as gifts for golf, gardening or travel enthusiasts. Or they might be geared toward extravagant gifts such as expensive jewelry or exotic high-end products. This list is more about practical items. Some are health related, and others are simply ideas that make life more enjoyable.
Personal services are perennial favorites, such as certificates for therapeutic or relaxation massage, acupuncture, facials, pedicures or spa visits. Tina Kindle, owner and massage therapist at Angel’s Crossing, tells me that massage certificates are more popular than ever.
Restaurant certificates are popular, especially if you know what restaurant the recipient enjoys. I suggest you try to buy from local restaurants to help support our local economy as well as provide a special gift.
Speaking of food gifts, if you have the time and talent, a homemade gift is often very welcome. Fresh baked bread, homemade hot cocoa mix, cookies; even Rice Crispy treats are welcome to someone that doesn’t prepare many meals at home. If you are not a cook, presenting a fruit basket offers a healthy option.
If you are on a strict budget or simply want to give a gift of personal time, consider offering to help decorate or, even better, clean up after the holidays. For teens and others with limited cash, an offer to detail the recipient’s car or tidy up landscaping will be appreciated and will require less than two hours of your time. Another idea is offer to drive grandparents to the store or on an errand. They will appreciate the convenience and love your company.
For anyone over 50, gifts that provide relief from pain are welcome. In our office, Biofreeze (a great topical pain reliever) is a popular stocking stuffer. Another inexpensive item is a product called Dr. Teal’s Epsom salt bath crystals available at Publix that relieves aches and has a pleasant soothing aroma.
For the people that are always chilled, some practical gifts include socks by SmartWool, Thorlo, or other brands that wick moisture away to keep feet toasty are great ideas. These are available in outdoor stores and other retailers. One of my favorite gifts is a felt, wool hat that I wear during cold weather.
If your recipient has problems with allergies, a room-air cleaner or ventilation system duct cleaning are good ideas. I recently had the ducts cleaned in my home and was amazed at the difference, especially for my infant daughter. Her stuffiness and upper respiratory symptoms stopped immediately. I often recommend the free-standing, room-air cleaners for my patients.
For people with mild to moderate hearing loss or ear-ringing, a gift that allows them to watch television without turning the volume too high for others is available. I recently bought Sennheiser wireless headphones to use with the television. I was stunned at how crisp and clear the stereo sound was.
For anyone that works in the yard, a quality two-wheel cart can be an incredibly useful gift. Other items include kneepads, well-made gloves or a work apron with pockets. If they have a wood-burning fireplace, they might appreciate a load of good hickory firewood.
Using a cell phone while driving can create a serious hazard. A gift idea to increase safety is a Bluetooth wireless headset. The new Bluetooth headsets perform very well and allow the phone user to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Two of the handiest items I use constantly are an LED keychain light and small Swiss army keychain knife. Both cost less than $20 and will be used frequently.
My wife, Ginny, really enjoys the digital camera she received last year. Digital cameras are a breeze to use and store hundreds of photos. I asked Laci and Kristina in my office about their favorites. Laci immediately responded that she loves her iPod. Kristina endorsed family games. Her favorites are Phase 10 and Yahtzee. (As a chiropractor, I recommend the classic Twister! I’ll reserve your appointment for the week following Christmas.)
Next week, useful tips to stay healthy all winter!
Dr. Mark Kestner