I don’t know about you, but as much as I adore the run-up to Christmas and all its festive cheer, I find the endless gift buying a rather stressful task. Whilst it’s lovely to receive a thoughtful and well considered gift, we so rarely need the things we are gifted at Christmas.
My boyfriend has set a great example, choosing to bequeath time to his many Godchildren in place of money or tangible gifts; he goes the extra mile to arrange memorable day trips and experiences with each of them which I think is lovely. A memory, an afternoon’s activity, a moment of relaxation, a few hours of laughter and fun, a great story to tell – treasured memories give richness to our lives. So, this Christmas, I shall be giving friends and family the gift of experiences to nurture the body and soul.
With that sentiment in mind, here are some ideas::
1. Private yoga lesson or two
There is something completely wonderful about having some one-to-one tuition in an activity where the whole focus is about becoming more connected to your body. What a lovely, grounded way to start off 2017! This would be an ideal gift for someone who is a little stressed out or who is trying to juggle too many things at once. Husbands and boyfriends, take note!
2. Cookery lesson
Cooking and eating well is a far less anxiety-provoking or challenging task once you have the basics of kitchen skills mastered. It is amazing how much you can pick up in just one afternoon of tuition – not to mention getting to sample all of your delicious creations. This gift would also be perfect for any teens or young adults you might know. It’s a great way to set someone up for a lifetime of eating well.
3. Foraging course
There is something wonderfully empowering about being able to wander along a hedgerow, shoreline or forest and know exactly what you can, and can’t, eat. Finding food for free is very rewarding, and the sheer amount of delicious produce available throughout the year in Britain from foraging is remarkable – not to mention the great nutritional benefits of wild food. This would be perfect for someone who loves the great outdoors. Check out ff-ruralcourses.co.uk
4. Mind-expanding lecture
True health is far more than just the physical: it encompasses intellectual, emotional and the social aspects too. So how about buying a ticket or gift certificate for some engaging and inspiring lectures? These are some of my favourites:
- The School of Life theschooloflife.com
- TEDx ted.com/tedx/events
- Intelligence Squared intelligencesquared.com for more ideas.
5. An evening of laughter or great music
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine – and indeed, research has shown that it is wonderfully good for our health to laugh regularly. So why not buy a couple of tickets to a comedy club and spread some truly festive cheer? An evening at Ronnie Scotts is always one of my most favourite things to do: ronniescotts.co.uk
6. The gift of mindfulness
If you know someone who is starting out on their journey into meditation and mindfulness, how about giving them the opportunity to develop their skills and find deep inner peace through a meditation workshop? We could all probably do with a little more calm and quiet in our lives (so I might even be gifting this one to myself!). Try LondonMeditationCentre.com or seek out your nearest meditation centre for local options. If you are feeling really generous, there are a multitude of lovely overnight retreats now available, both at home and abroad, or perhaps a subscription to one of the many mindfulness apps that are available.
7. Year of healthy family days out
The National Trust has hundreds of houses, protected forests, beaches and gardens all over the UK – and a year’s membership offers a wonderful chance for a family to spend some quality time together enjoying the great outdoors. See nationaltrust.org.uk/join-us for more details.
8. Date night in
OK, so this one is pretty generous (maybe an opportunity to club together), but if you are close to a young family, you will know how hard it can be to spend quality time together as a couple – after finding a reliable babysitter, booking a restaurant, organizing a cab, etc…so how about gifting them the opportunity for a date night to come to them? You could gift the chance for a private chef to come to their home, cook a lavish dinner and do all the washing up (try labelleassiette.co.uk/gift). Or if you are a dab hand in the kitchen yourself, you could offer to do it! What a wonderful memory to give.
9. Set of exercise classes
Do you know someone who loves to work out, or who would love the opportunity to exercise a little more? How about buying them a set of their favourite exercise classes? Or perhaps a year’s membership to the local cycling or running club?
10. Chance to switch off
OK, so this is perhaps a little more run-of-the-mill, but I don’t know many people who wouldn’t love a voucher for a massage, spa day or other beauty treatment. A perfect opportunity to completely zone out and relax, and it is always a good idea to have a few things to look forwards too after the excitement of Christmas Day is over.
Our bodies are the only home we’ll be in forever, and that goes for our loved ones, too. Gifting thoughtful experiences that also promote health is a wonderful way to show how much you care about the wellbeing of those around you. I hope that some of these ideas have given you a little inspiration, or perhaps sparked a novel idea that you think is perfect for someone you love. But above all, I hope that this Christmas is filled with love, laughter, health and happiness, whatever you choose to give.