Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

Lindsay Courcelle / Photo

By Lindsay Courcelle

With the holidays approaching, it’s never too late to think outside the box when it comes to gifts. My family probably wishes I was more conventional in my gift giving, but we can all reminisce about the year that there was a bucket of homemade sauerkraut brewing upstairs in my mother-in-law’s house, before she gave a jar to each family member.

I took a walk in downtown Rutland with health-related gifts in mind, and this is what I found.

For life-long learners

We are so lucky to have two amazing bookstores in Rutland. I cannot go into The Bookmobile without finding something to buy, considering that the price of their used books starts at $1.75. They have a wide selection of used books in their health section, as well as new books like Rosemary Gladstar’s “Medicinal Herbs.” Phoenix Books has plenty to choose from as well, including “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz, and “The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh” for those exploring their relationship to joy and self-love.

For anyone who bathes

If you haven’t yet seen Filthy Farmgirl soaps, you’re in for a treat. Handmade locally, these soaps smell amazing and have no toxic ingredients. Try a classic like Calendula Lavender Oatmeal, or go for something cheeky like Filthy Lumberjack or several other Filthy “flavors” that can’t be mentioned in this article. Another local soap maker, Breezy Meadows, makes their soaps with goat milk from their herd of well-loved goats. Choose from Lavender Charcoal or Rosemary Sage, among others, all packaged beautifully for stocking stuffers. Both vend at the Vermont Farmers Food Center’s Saturday Farmers Market.

For anyone who “doesn’t need another scarf”

You know those people who seem to have everything they could possibly need or want? A friend was asking about a gift certificate for bodywork for her mother-in-law, who, she said, “doesn’t need another scarf.” Most people have some pain, or would benefit from an hour to relax and unwind on a massage table, and for those folks, a gift certificate for bodywork is perfect. It could be a relaxation massage, pain-relieving myofascial release or acupuncture, a reflexology session, or one of the many other modalities of bodywork that exists in our region.

For the open-minded

There’s quite a buzz around Luce Farm’s Hemp Honey. This is a mix of honey, coconut oil, and hemp extract from plants grown organically at the farm. The hemp extract contains cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical compound in the cannabis plant. People eat this honey for a variety of reasons, including relief from chronic pain and inflammation. It tastes delicious, and my family members reported an immediate reduction in aches and pains after eating it. You can find this honey at the Saturday Farmers Market, Speakeasy Café, or the Rutland Co-op.

For the very open-minded

Beyond the wonderful salt cave, Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center has now added sound healing, in which you experience the vibrations of drums, rattles, metal, and crystal singing bowls, chimes, and various other instruments as you journey within. Group sound healing sessions happen once a month as well. Beautiful new rooms, used for light and sound healing, can comfort you in times of distress or grief.

For stocking stuffers

I always loved getting an orange in the bottom of my stocking growing up, and fresh citrus is definitely a healthy option for stocking stuffers. Badger balms, made in New Hampshire, are great for everyone. There are many choices, including Sore Joint Rub, Lavender Bergamot Sleep Balm, or Stress Soother balm. Made with essential oils and packaged in a little tin, a bit of this rubbed on your temples will immediately ease your troubles. You can find both Badger products and organic citrus fruits at the Rutland Co-op.

For the cooks in your life

As the wife of a vegetable farmer, I’m quite biased, but a season of fresh vegetables is just about the healthiest gift you can give someone. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm Shares are available from many local farms, both vegetable and meat producers. Most shares come with weekly newsletters or recipes, and many are free-choice shares where members pick exactly what they want each week through the season.

While there may still be a place for cigars and chocolate cherries in your holiday giving, consider one of these healthy options to spread wellness and vitality at this merry time of year.


Lindsay Courcelle

Lindsay Courcelle, CMT is a Myofascial Release therapist, part-time vegetable farmer, and natural health advocate.

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