What a magical time of year it is! I have always loved the spirit of Christmas. I am especially fond of spending time with family, sitting by the fireplace as snow falls, and watching children’s eyes sparkle with excitement.
As wonderful as the Christmas season is, we all know it can sometimes be stressful. The to-do list grows each day with more shopping, wrapping, cooking, and so forth. In addition to all the gifts made or purchased for those we love, many people give their neighbors, kids' teachers and coworkers gifts, adding even more to their to-do lists. Luckily, you can give your neighbors and friends something special that doesn’t involve spending hours in the kitchen. Instead of making time-consuming, immune-weakening sweets, try handing out these quick, healthy, and unique gifts to your neighbors and friends this year!
From medicinal uses to spicing up your dinner, herbs are a practical gift that neighbors would be thrilled to receive! Some of the most loved and healthy herbs include cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, rosemary, and garlic. Not only do these herbs have immune strengthening compounds, but they are also a delicious way to season Christmas dinners! If you wish to write a creative note to go along with your gift, you can write “We hope you have a flavorful Christmas”.
Citrus fruits are finally in season! Can you imagine how beautiful a gift basket or bowl filled with beautiful tangerines, blood oranges, grapefruit, and lemons would be? Did you know that just one orange contains 100% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake?! Citrus fruits are packed with many immune-strengthening compounds, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and potassium. They are a very hydrating fruit-almost 85% water! Citrus fruits are an easy and tasty on-the-go treat, so when you are thinking of healthy, easy to source, and quick Christmas gift, think citrus!
Whether homemade or store bought, soap makes a great holiday gift for neighbors! With many people gathering together indoors (and therefore, inevitable germs spreading), gifting soap it can encourage the good habit of hand washing, especially among young children. I recommend buying a high-quality goat’s milk soap, which is free of the harsh ingredients many commercial soaps contain, and can often be locally sourced. A creative note could read something along the lines of “Just soap’n you have a very merry Christmas”.
Even with all the known health benefits of whole grains, most Americans do not eat the recommended amount. Air-popped popcorn is one easy and delicious way to enjoy your whole grains. The whole grain found in popcorn is good for the heart and can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition to whole grain, popcorn is a good source of vitamins and minerals including fiber, protein, potassium and vitamins A and K. If you don’t get carried away with the added sugars and salt, popcorn will make a fun and healthy treat that your neighbor families are sure to love!
Whole Wheat Bread
Another easy and overlooked way to incorporate those essential whole grains into your diet is to eat whole wheat bread. If you don’t have enough time to prepare it homemade, see if your local CSA or farmer's market sells some! While there are so many wholesome types of bread, one of my personal favorites is sprouted sourdough. It is lower in gluten content than many other types of bread. Even people who are sensitive to gluten tend to tolerate it very well. Neighbors will appreciate something healthy and easy to snack on or eat with their breakfast during their busy holiday mornings.
Giving someone a gift that will help them prioritize their well-being lets them know that you care. They will likely appreciate receiving something healthy during this busy time in their lives.
What healthy Christmas gifts have you given or received in the past? Drop a suggestion in the comments for our readers!