Give Health!

The December crunch is on, and if you’re like most people, you might still need a holiday gift idea, or five. Don’t stress (because, newsflash, stress is NOT healthy!) – we’ve got you covered. Here are some suggestions that won’t wreck your budget and even better, will benefit your gift recipient’s health.

For the Teacher: Green Tea and Dark Chocolate

Fill a cute basket or mug with a selection of specialty herbal and green teas, full of antioxidants and inflammation-fighting polyphenols and just enough caffeine to boost brain function without making you jittery. Green tea is also known to boost metabolism and, if enjoyed hot, say, for an afterschool treat, can be a relaxing, stress-reducing ritual. Add in a bar or two of dark chocolate (aim for 70% cocoa or higher), and you’ll not only win your teacher’s heart, but reduce his/her risk for heart disease as well.

For the Exercise Enthusiast: Stretch Bands

Exercise attire can be hard to pick out for someone – runners and cyclists tend to have highly personal gear preferences, and not all yoga pants are created equal. But simple stretch/resistance bands are inexpensive, can be used anywhere and offer endless options for any athlete who wants better flexibility and stability. There are plenty of online videos to show how to get the most out of stretching or working out with resistance bands.

For the Couch Potato: A Pedometer and Playlist

If you can get away with giving a gentle nudge (face it, we all could use one now and then), wrap up an inexpensive old-school pedometer for your pal who needs to ramp up his/her steps. Personalize the gift by putting together an energizing playlist of fun music or podcasts that will inspire your friend to get moving.

For the Foodie: Specialty Olive Oil and Sea Salt

For an ancient pantry staple, olive oil has come a long way. High quality specialty flavors and vintages will be welcomed by anyone with a refined palate and an appreciation for its robust health benefits. Add in some local flavor with Bulls Bay Saltworks or Botany Bay Sea Salt, and your chances of getting invited over for a delicious dinner just went way up.

For the Over-scheduled Friend You Never Get to See: A Bridge Walk Date

Your mom was right: sometimes the simplest gifts are the best, and the thought DOES count, especially if it means sharing thoughts while walking with a friend you don’t see as much as you’d like. Giving him/her a certificate for a series of bridge or beach walks—a winning combo of fresh air, exercise and relationship time—is giving the gift of health and friendship. Priceless. Wrap up a pair of funky shoe strings or sunscreen if you want to add something tangible but related.

For an Elder: A Senior Center Membership

The health benefits of good old human connection—spending time with people, face to face—are undeniable. People who have a social network have a higher quality of life than those who are isolated, and strong relationships ranks up there with exercise as an indicator of longevity. Lucky for you, a membership to a Senior Center is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. The Lowcountry Senior Center and the Waring Senior Center, both operated by Roper St. Francis Healthcare, offer numerous fitness classes, social and learning opportunities at one low price.