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7 Gifts That Matter: A Post for the Holidays

18 Dec 2014

This post may be too late if you have your holiday shopping done. But if you’re like me, you may have a person or two left on your list

And if not, maybe it’s worth sharing in case anyone’s still in the giving mood.

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about healthy or socially impactful gift ideas that would have more meaning than a new toy, tablet, gift card, jewelry piece, or other present I usually give on Christmas.

I thought of these 7.

1. Buy a race entry for a friend, significant other, family member, or friend.

Outdoor cross-country running in early sunrise concept for exerc

You probably expected this one, considering the source. To remain in spirit with myexercisecoach.net, this suggestion is a no-brainer.

If you have active loved ones, they would especially appreciate a race entry or voucher to use in 2015. And if you have a well-meaning friend that’s procrastinating to sign up, this will give them reason to exercise and train (even if they’ll curse you in their head).

It can be an entry fee for an obstacle race, traditional road race, or other active event. You can search active.com and mudandadventure.com for ideas.

2. Give the gift of health and fitness.

Abdominal plate training core group at gym fitness workout

There are other health and fitness options you can gift people on your list.

Once the holidays are over, some of us may need to re-learn healthy snacking. Consider getting Graze or a similar snack subscription delivered to someone’s home or workplace. For more on snack delivery services, check out this review on Serious Eats.

Another health and fitness gift option is a membership or a series of day passes to a health club or fitness studio. Maybe there’s a local spinning, yoga, CrossFit, or obstacle training facility someone you know is interested in to get in shape or shake up their current exercise program.

3. Donate money or time to a cause you believe in.

It can be just $10. It’s not just a cliché: every little bit helps. There’s a charity for just about every cause, and you can find hundreds of them listed at Charity Navigator online. You can donate in your own name or on someone else’s behalf.

As a side note, now through December 31, Paypal is adding 1% your donation when you give to a charity through Paypal.

As far as donating your time, it may or may not be a long-term commitment. Even two hours at a local charity over the holiday season helps.

Want to go the extra mile? If you have kids, you can encourage them to choose a toy you’ll buy to donate for toys for tots or a similar charity.

4. Random Acts of Kindness

You can go to the website of Random Acts of Kindness for ideas or just be your creative self!

Quarters in a stranger’s meter, paying for someone’s bus fare – these are a couple ideas for city dwellers like me.

5. Share an inspiring story or cause you believe in.

Grandmother hugs cop

Post, tweet, pin it – take your pick (or do them all).

Maybe it will motivate your online community to do the same or better yet, be an inspiring story.

My pick, a police officer in Tarrant, Alabama buys eggs and arranges a shipment of groceries for a grandmother caught shoplifting three eggs.

6. Let helpful strangers know you appreciate them.

Did a fitness writer offer an especially helpful tip? Is the customer service at one of your local eateries always topnotch? Enjoyed your last stay on vacation?

The holidays can be a great time to let them all know. A positive comment or review on Yelp, Google places, or TripAdvisor can be your way of giving back and acknowledging good work.

7. Adopt a rescue pet (only if you have the time and resources to take care of one).

PP Deck

Do you love animals? Do you have the time, space, and resources to take care of a rescue pet? Do you have small children and want them to learn how to take care of pets (even though you’ll likely do most of the work)?

If you’re not sure you are ready for a pet, try this quiz on Oprah.com. You can also read up on what to think about before taking this step (from the American Human Association and Canadian Federation of Humane Societies).

You may already have a pet and one may be more than enough. But if not, and you are ready and want a dog or cat, look up a local rescue or animal shelter to give a great home to a pet that really needs it. (Bonus: if you’re not allergic, having a pet can be good for your health.)

We have an 11-year old Main Coon mix I adopted from a humane society shelter years ago in Southern California. He’s a really sweet, adorable boy: very well-mannered and extremely spoiled.

What holiday gift that matters will you give this year?


Image source: Cop hugs grandmother


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