27 Last-Minute Creative (and Simple) Wellness Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.


The challenge?


“This year we are going to keep things low-cost: homemade or simple gifts,” my mom informed me this past week.


While I by no means have any of my Christmas shopping complete (rephrase that: I haven’t even begun Christmas shopping), in years past, I have always tended to take the ‘easier’ way out—buying my family and those I love gifts I am proud to give.


I love doting on others, and spoiling others with the wishes on their Wish List, or the ‘nicer’ things in life when I can.


However, as we all KNOW, money does NOT buy happiness; and try as Kay jewelry commercials, Toyota lot-clear-outs and JcPenny advertisements to claim…the new and “finer things” in life eventually fade.



What about you?


Do you have your list all checked—and checked twice?


What things are buying your loved ones happiness this holiday?


Do you even remember what all you received last year for Christmas under the tree?


(Cricket. Cricket.)


Yup. It is true.


Things are fleeting.


So despite my T-minus less than 2-weeks to plan, prepare, buy or create something a bit more “off the beaten path” than a lovely Kendra Scott pair of earrings (mom), Lululemon speed tights (sister) or North Face fleece (dad), wrapped in a bow under the tree…here are 27 Thriving Gifts to consider giving your loved ones this year instead of just any ol’ thing. 


(Note: Whatever you end up gifting to your crew, it’s all about the thought that counts).


  1. Passion Planner. At the TOP of my “to give” list. The MOST inspiring planner I’ve ever kept, with room for your personal goals, intentions and action steps, along with ample space for your to-dos and a smattering of inspirational quotes each and every week. Perfect for the upcoming new year too!
  2. Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime comes to the top of my mind. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! For $99/year, get FREE shipping and hundreds of discounts on book titles and other paraphernalia from the online superstore. You could also look into an Amazon Audible membership (audio books) for the on-the-go sort.
  3. Experience. Is your family member or friend interested in trying something new? Give the gift of experience with a 10-20 class punchcard to the awesome yoga or spin studio in town…a Class Pass to try all sorts of classes in the city…the rock climbing gym…a pottery studio…the sky is the limit.
  4. Education & Inspiration. Call me a life-long student, but I am always on the lookout for interesting conferences, inspirational speaking events and seminars. For the education junkie in your life, give the gift of learning through a course, talk or weekend that enlivens their spirit and passions. (Not an education junkie, but still like the idea of an experience? Consider looking into concert tickets or festival tickets).
  5. A Cause. Instead of giving any ol’ thing that will eventually become musty or sold in a garage sale 5 years from now…donate to a cause on behalf of someone by purchasing a gift that BENEFITS someone or something greater. Women’s clothing company Judith & James comes to mind—originally created by my friend and fashion designer Anna Taylor to eradicate poverty among women in Nairobi, Kenya. Anna empowers women in impoverished countries to find work through the creation of her fashion designs—sold here. There are hundreds of companies and causes with similar missions. Find one that connects with you and buy your gifts with a purpose and story.
  6. A Book. And not just any on the “New York Times’ Bestseller” List—but one with meaning. Maybe it’s your FAVORITE book your mom read to you growing up—a revised edition, with an inscription and pic of you two from the good ol’days. Or a particularly impactful title in your life, once again personal inscribed with a meaningful message (“How to Win Friends & Influence People”, “The Slight Edge” and the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” come to mind). Whatever it is…think meaning.
  7. Make Life Easier. Instacart gifting (the gift of a grocery run or two), a cleaning service, credits towards Uber, a meal-delivery service, a massage or pedicure…anything that lightens the load (or stress).
  8. Filtered Water Bottle. By now you know that you need half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day! Make this goal achievable with a filtered waterbottle, like this one by CamelBak (all the good stuff with none of the bad).
  9. Pinterest Savvy. I am personally not a big Pinterester…until now. Get inspired with homemade goodies—so much better than money can buy.
  10. Fortune Box. Collage, decopage, paint or buy a cute small jewelry box, box or other container and create a month (or year’s) worth of ‘fortunes’ (inspirational quotes, verses, phrases, etc.) on strips of paper. Fold them into the box and serve as a source of encouragement daily!
  11. Jesus Calling (or other devotional). Jesus Calling is by FAR my absolute favorite devotional! Every time I read it, I think: “God? Are you talking…to me?!” So so good—filled with daily encouragement and inspiration as well!
  12. Holistic Beauty & Skin Care. Out with the old, toxic chemicals…in with the new, refreshing, skin-enlivening ingredient formulas! Check out Fat Face for all-natural skin care and The Dirt for teeth and hair care for starters! You could also try some homemade formulas if you are feeling crafty. Wellness Mama has some amazing recipes.
  13. Pamper Yourself Gift Basket. Fill it with green face mask, lotion, shower gel, wash cloths, nail polish (Aim for more natural products. I love perusing the aisles at Whole Foods Healthy Living Section for inspiration).


  1. Birch Box. It’s totally not ‘holistic’ but for the beauty diva in your life, Birch Box is a fun way to sample all sorts of beauty products throughout the year (a box with samples is sent to your house every month).


  1. Homemade Recipe Binder. Why buy a cookbook when you can create your own with titles and recipes from things you know your loved one fancies? All you need is a 3-ring binder, some scrapbook paper, and time to sift through thousands of recipes online to pick and choose the best ones for the cook in your fam.


  1. Dollar Store Surprise. Bring back the little kid in your siblings, friends or family on Christmas morning with some plain fun kid ‘things’ (Silly Putty, Slinkies, Yo-Yos, etc.).


  1. A Board Game. More fun for Christmas morn! Taboo, Heads Up!, Wits & Wagers, Apples to Apples, Things, Cards Against Humanity, Quelf…the sky is the limit.


  1. A Spare…Phone charger (or even a Phone Charging Station). Ear bud headphones. Razor. Even a gift card for a new tire or two (if you’re feeling really generous). Practical? Sure. But don’t you hate it when you lose it, or have to buy another?
  1. Quality Cup of Joe. Starbucks gift cards are so 2001. Consider a quality blend of beans (a la Bulletproof coffee comes to mind). Throw in a cute or monogrammed mug. You could also opt for tea (My personal fav? Tazo Sweet Cinnamon tea).


  1. Clicky Pens and Sticky Notes. For the to-do-lister and constant-thinker in me, I can never have enough pens or sticky notes! And yet, I am always losing them!


  1. Aqua Notes. Who DOESN’T do their best thinking in the shower?! You have to check out these Aqua Notes-write in the shower when those ideas come to mind! http://home/laurynlax/public_html.myaquanotes.com


  1. Ham it up. Not just confined to a pic in a frame. Make a custom calendar at Shutterfly or Minted…or a mouse pad…a mug…a blanket…practically anything.


  1. Relaxing R & R. I don’t know what I’d do without my sun alarm! Instead of waking up to a buzzing alarm clock every morning…I awake to the sun rising in my room. You can even set some models to cue up chirping birds and morning noises to stir you in your slumber. Much more circadian-rhythm friendly! Try this one or this one.


  1. Business Growth. Purchase a software membership (like Evernote or Basecamp), a gift card to Moo.com (for business cards), a business e-course or coaching consult, or a great entrepreneurial book for the entrepreneur in your life (I love “Do It Marketing” by Dave Newman, “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris and “Platform” by Michael Hyatt).


  1. 52 Things I Love About You (or Words of Inspiration): Take a deck of index or playing cards and write 52 things/ reason why you love that person, inspiration or motivational words.
  2. Custom Stationary. Who doesn’t like snail mail and handwritten notes? Or notepads with a little flair? Design it at Minted.
  3. Think of the Little Things. Make a basket with the individual’s unique hobbies or interests in mind. Movie buff? Stock a basket with some new DVDs, Netflix or Amazon movie credits, popcorn, dark chocolate, Topo Chico, movie passes to a local theater, etc. Fisherman? Restock the tackle box with lures, line, natural trail mix for early mornings out, a new fishing cap, etc. Sports guru? How about a pair of tickets to an upcoming game and a t-shirt from his or her favorite team. Think in the terms of your loved one’s interests and they will be blown away by the thought.



How’s that for some inspiration?


Do you have any all-time favorite creative gift ideas?


Share to comments below!



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