Ahhhh, this season!
It’s a whirlwind. There’s something about when leaves fall, and your breath turns to mist as you exhale. The feeling of being cozy and warm inside while snow is scattered in the sky during our cold Minnesota winters, is the very substance of hygge.
Do you remember coming in from the cold of fort-making as a kid after spending hours surrounded by the overwhelming white of snow and the clean crispness of the air? That tingling of your hands and feet as they warmed, and the content satisfaction thinking about your newest snow creations. The nostalgia that comes with each snowperson made, cookie baked, and friends or family being close is palpable. Sweet new memories are made, and old ones are cherished (yes, even the ones that involve one too many glasses of wine); it really is a beautiful time of year.
The holiday season brings more than nostalgia, it also can bring feelings of gratitude for all you have around you but mostly, who you have around you. There’s something about how that gratitude spills out of us and we want to give because we’re simply just so full.
The overflow of gratitude we’re talking about here can sometimes manifest itself in the form of a gift: a sweater, a pair of socks, or a spruce-scented candle. And while sometimes those things are nice (Darn Tough socks, here I come); we’re here for something that speaks more to our souls.
Let’s be real here for a minute; we love nostalgia, gratitude, and the beauty and amazement of this time of year, but it also can be a notoriously difficult one for many reasons.
It might be a stark reminder of those we’ve lost or of friends and family that are far away. It can be difficult to chase away feelings of not being enough or having enough. If finances are tight or jobs have been lost, it can mean an especially hard time trying to make ends meet while keeping our loved ones (especially children) happy.
Expecting the arrival of a baby or having a sweet newborn brings its own set of challenges. Combine that with the frenzy of the holidays, and it can increase the stress already weighing on our shoulders.
Materialism and the reminder that we need to fulfill some sort of stuff quota can also weigh heavy. We can start thinking that the “stuff” is what it’s about, rather than thankfulness and love. And since it’s a gratitude-inspired, soul touching gift that we really need (and want to give to those we love), we’ve created The Better Holiday Gift Guide full of things you should really ask for (or give) this season to feel more calm, centered and cared for.
1. Self Care
Who doesn’t want their stress points relaxed with a body work session? An hour of someone easing the pressure of work, and kids, and life with their strong, amazingly skilled hands sounds like nirvana. This might be the best gift, ever!
This can be for an experienced yoga lover or someone just learning. One of the beautiful things about yoga is its ability to bring health and relaxation at any level of experience. Be sure to choose a location and class level that’s convenient for you or whoever your gifting it to.
Essential Oils & Diffuser
If you don’t have essential oils and an oil diffuser in your house, it’s time to toss your Glade plug-in and ask for one. The mind-invigorating, relaxing, energizing, amazing health inspiring power of aromatherapy is real. It’s been around for thousands of years and can transform the energy and environment of your entire home with this one small change.
Flowering Tea and Glass Pot
Tea is known for its range of health benefits and when combined with the beauty of watching a flower bouquet emerge under the power of water, it’s a beautiful display that brings health, relaxation and joy.
This isn’t your average blanket. The weight of the beads sewn into these blankets at a ratio of 10 pounds of weight per 100 pounds of body weight, bring a sense of calm. According to the National Sleep Foundation; It helps to imitate a technique used by occupational therapists called Deep Touch Pressure Therapy.
The weight of the blankets creates constant pressure on the body and prompts the brain to release serotonin, a chemical that helps to bring calm and happiness. The constant pressure also helps to release oxytocin, a hormone that helps reduce stress. Here are a few good ones.
Think you might benefit from a change in your nutrition lifestyle? A nutrition consult could be a great gift for you. It seems like everywhere you look there’s another type of diet or superfood that will solve all your problems. It’s important to have an expert in the field that understands physiology, food and the latest research involved in nutrition science.
Who doesn’t want—more like, need a base of sisters standing with them in life? The gift of sisterhood is powerful, empowering and priceless.
Science or Art Museum Membership
Get your mind working and your body moving by checking out the different museums your city has to offer. A membership, especially a family membership, is something that could make your free days full of some awesome education and culture.
Concert or Theater Tickets
A night out filled with live music or theater is needed in everyone’s life! Gifting an experience is one of the best things to receive and give! Even better, ask for or purchase multiple tickets for all those you want to create memories with.
2. Birth Support
The support a doula provides before and during a birth is beyond helpful. There’s a lot of research that backs up the health benefits a doula brings a birthing parent and their baby. It’s incredible! If you’re pregnant, or know someone who is, a doula could be the best gift of the season.
This type of doula is available and on call at all hours to care for your children while you’re giving birth. They can also attend the birth with your children, if you desire. Often, family isn’t near or available and a sibling doula can ease the anxiety of knowing your children are well taken care of, even at 2:00 in the morning.
Birth Photography Session
Want to receive or give the most amazing gift? A birth photographer is someone that captures the emotion, beauty, and miracle of birth. Being in the thick of birth often brings a different mindset to both parents since being present and in the moment is necessary.
These photos can help show all angles of your birth experience and gives you the unique ability to process the birth of your baby on a completely different level (this is actually the best gift I’ve ever received).
Pregnancy Chiropractic Care Session
Relaxin might sound like a new way to find your Zen, but it’s really a hormone that causes your joints to relax during pregnancy. It’s a good thing, because our bodies need to shift and move to make way for our little ones to grow and be born. But it can be painful and there’s nothing like a chiropractor trained in pregnancy care to help with all the aches and misalignments that pregnancy can bring.
This one could be in all three of our categories. Who doesn’t need someone to come along and clean behind the toilet—but especially when your belly protrudes and there’s NO WAY you can even reach back there? This also extends to the bathtub, and anywhere it takes great effort to reach, squat or bend. House cleaning is a gift to the whole family, because everyone knows it’s everyone’s job to keep up with housework. Someone to clean your home might seem like an unromantic gift but honestly, it feels incredibly amazing to have squeaky clean floors, tubs and toilets, especially with a baby on the way.
Plush Comfortable Robe
This robe needs to be something extraordinarily amazing and comfortable, so you feel like royalty wearing it. It’s perfect for while you’re pregnant, in the hospital after birth, and being at home postpartum—especially with all the nighttime feedings.
3. Postpartum Support
New Mamma Gift Box
Want to give all the things a new parent wants or receive the things you need? A gift box with essentials like nipple cream, postpartum tea, and other amazing products is a great way to show love (even to yourself).
Postpartum Bath Soak
Is a long hot bath your relaxation go to? Try adding healing herbs to your water to help speed postpartum recovery.
Tell me of a new parent that doesn’t want help with cleaning, cooking, sibling care and nighttime feedings, and I probably won’t believe you. A postpartum doula is a gift of love, care and sanity. The pressures of all that comes with having a new baby are real and having an experienced, educated person to support you is an amazing gift that extends to the whole family.
Eating the baby’s placenta has been practiced for centuries by parents throughout many different cultures. The thought is that the placenta provides nutrients and hormones to help aid with milk production, energy levels and mild baby blues. There’s been some research that backs this up and it’s also highly regarded as extremely helpful by the parents that have done it. Not ready to cook up the placenta yourself? Find an expert that steams, dehydrates and places it into capsules for you to swallow down with your other vitamins.
Myofascial Release Work
This is a specialized technique that involves stretching and applying specific pressure to stiff myofascial tissue, which is what wraps, connects and supports your muscles. This technique is used by occupational therapists, massage therapists and chiropractors in order to address overall muscle pain. The gift of relief from pain sounds amazing!
Newborn Birth Photography
That sweet little smooshed, wrinkled face won’t look that way for very long, so capture it with a professional photo shoot. I love all the snuggly wrapped littles sleeping in a flower or sweetly posed in a basket. Add on the rest of the family or a sibling’s portrait as well. Documenting your family in pictures is so beautiful and it’s a gift that will last forever.
Spending hours sitting in one spot while a newborn cluster feeds and the exhaustion that can accompany that, will make you greatly appreciate someone reading to you. Especially if you have more than one kiddo, sitting down with a book can seem like an impossible task. Keep up with your favorite books with an Audible membership.
Meal Kit Delivery Service
Quick and easy food is essential for postpartum; it helps give health, energy, and the ability to provide nourishment to our babies. New parents barely have the time to go to the bathroom by themselves or take a shower. Taking the time to cook a meal, at least in the first two weeks, probably isn’t going to happen. Also, it just feels good to eat an amazing meal. There are plenty of meal kit delivery services that provide healthy meal kits to your door in Minneapolis. Food is a true gift of love.
The Best Gift
This list isn’t exhaustive. There’s a ton of other great things or experiences you can gift or ask to be gifted that are soul inspiring. Don’t be afraid to think outside the plastic packaged box or stuff quotas that are imposed on us. Make this season the one that begins a tradition of providing and asking for gifts that bring joy, beauty and health to your life and the lives of those you love.
Finally, take time to watch your breath turn into vapor in the cold air and admire the intricate details of a snowflake as it lands on your hand. Walk outside and take in the vast beauty of the blanket of white surrounding you and the way the crisp air feels as it fills your lungs. Watch your littles play, make forts and display their imagination in full force. Breathe deep. Be present. Because time, love, and memories created are the greatest of all gifts.