From the Holiday Archives: By Dr. Julie Chen

After a tumultuous year, I think it’s important to have our gifts to our loved ones reflect something more than just materialism and the spending of money. When such a year of economic hardships, countries at war, and so many natural disasters, I think we should take some time this holiday season to give the gifts that show our loved ones that we care about their health, mental wellbeing, and the precious time spent with them. Here are my top lucky number 7 gift ideas so that hopefully there’ll be a lot more luck for everybody in the upcoming year:

1. Books that inspire and helps us to rejoice in the incredible human spirit that I am blessed to see often in my patients in my integrative clinic in San Jose CA

2. Movies that remind the gift recipient of a special moment you two shared to help foster love…isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

3. Massage certificate because it’s shown in studies that the human touch is very therapeutic…come to think of it, maybe you should also just give them a big hug when you see them because that kind of loving human touch is of course the epitome of therapy

4. Foreign language classes or another form of educational class sessions because when we make an effort to continuously challenge our mind no matter our age, we stay forever young

5. A certificate for a weekend trip away with your loved ones…who says you have to take long vacations, the short ones where you get to remove yourself from stressors help just as much

6. Fitness club membership or package of fitness training sessions to help your loved one stay on top of their healthy goals

7. A hand-made coupon book of unlimited hugs, kisses, and unconditional love…now who wouldn’t love getting that as a gift!

As you can see, in my book, it’s the things in life that make our hearts sing and our mind and body glow that makes the best gifts. And the nicest part of that is that not all of those gifts need to cost a lot of money.

Even for the classes, fitness membership or training sessions, and weekend away ideas, you can make it more affordable by simply making some easy modifications such as:

  • Giving some inexpensive fitness equipment or dvd for use at home
  • Swapping homes with a friend who lives a few hours away so you guys can feel like you got away for the weekend
  • Asking a friend who speaks another language to donate their time to help you learn a new language while you teach them one of your fabulous skills

In these tough economic times, it doesn’t make sense to put ourselves in debt and have higher stress just to buy things that your loved ones may or may not love. Instead, the gift of love and letting them know that you care about their happiness and health…well, now that just might be the best gift of all for you and your gift recipient. This way, you get to have less stress and debt and the recipient gets a gift that shows how much you love him/her. You see, it seems that it can be a win-win for everyone this holiday season!