One cool thing about December of 2022 is the way so many of the season’s holidays actually overlap. Although lots of people consider Hanukkah the “Jewish Christmas” it entirely isn’t. Sometimes it happens to fall around the same season, but since the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, it often occurs in an entirely different month! This year, however, Hanukkah runs from sundown on 12/18 to sundown on 12/26, a period that spans winter solstice (12/21), Christmas (12/25) and Kwaanza (12/26 to 1/1). To which I say mazal tov!
Here are a few ideas for great gifts for healthy holidays, whichever you celebrate — or even if you just don’t.
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knowledge is power
Y’all know I’m a book geek, so of course these are going to be my top recommendation. Last year I recommended these four herbal books. The year before I recommended three connecting health to food and nature. I made a video just about my favorite books for plant identification. I’m always updating my favorites at my online bookstore.
I still think all of those are great, and I hope you’ll click through to read about them. But this year I’m going to highlight just one: Christa Sinadinos’ comprehensive tome the Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Why highlight that one? She’s down to her last few copies, so you’ll want to get yours while they’re still available. Read more about this book here.
support restorative agriculture
When I was a kid, one of the too-adult presents I frequently got was trees planted in my name. Not super fun or cuddly, but also something to be kind of proud of. Now that I actually am an adult, and given my long-standing concerns about biodiversity, climate change and herbal sustainability, I’m pleased to recommend something similar for your consideration.
I recently learned about Balm of Gilead Farm, which is growing extirpated Biblical medicinal plants near the Dead Sea in Israel. If you or someone you know is a member of any of the Abrahamic religions, or just a big herb geek, they might enjoy a gift that supports cultivation of endangered medicinals including Balm of Gilead, frankincense and myrrh. Your gift can water, adopt or dedicate one tree or a whole row of them.
Even if this isn’t your idea of a great gift, remember that all three plants are in dire danger of extinction. You’ll do everyone a favor by opting for alternatives in your supplement products.
upgrade your eating
Food is obviously fundamental. And the run up to New Years and its resolutions is a great time to give the give of healthy eating.
I have so many suggestions here — from subscription veggie and fish boxes to artisanal EVOO, hand-harvested sea salt and, of course, my colleague’s incredible (and food-intolerance friendly) chocolate truffles — that they required a separate post. Check out the epic edible gift guide here.
And then there’s the idea of aspirational cookware. You can see those recommendations in this post.
self care is not selfish
In case yourself feeling guilty about gifting yourself this season, just remember that self care is not selfish, self care is self defense. If you’ve maxxed out your deductible for the year, it’s a good time to see your doctor and get any tests or procedures you may have been putting off. If you’d like to see me, get more information and book your appointment here.
Cover photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash