Holiday Gift Giving Guide


I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. Although I’m not one to go out before dawn to fight the crowds for a good deal, since today is “Black Friday” I thought I would bring in a little assistance to put together a list of a some health-related gifts for the occasion. Special thanks to those who contributed their top gift ideas through social media, specifically Steffany, Angela, Lacy, and Eddie.

I decided to bring in two special co-contributors, Melissa and Lindsay, for this week’s post because they both have unique perspectives on healthy living and shared some excellent ideas for gift giving, especially in the “gifts for runners” category. (Hopefully it won’t be to confusing with a Lindsey (me) and a Lindsay.)

A little about our guests:

Melissa is a mom to three beautiful little girls, a wife to Dustin, a fitness instructor and a running coach for FIT4MOM Front Range up in northern Colorado. When she isn’t making a mess in her kitchen or wrangling her munchkins, Melissa loves running, reading and encouraging moms to be the best they can be. You can follow her adventures in parenting and life at

Lindsay is a PA and lives in Phoenix, AZ where she enjoys hiking, running, and spending time with her family and friends.

A note from Melissa:

When it comes to Christmas shopping, I love to look for gifts that keep on giving long after the stockings are put away. Here are the top 10 items I recommend for active and busy women and mamas looking to take care of themselves this holiday season.

A note from Lindsey:

Since we’ll be out of town for Christmas this year, I’m trying to get everything done as early as possible. In the search for the perfect gift, I try to find either practical or useful gifts. I also love consumable and homemade gifts!  I hope the list we’ve compiled below inspires you to find the perfect gift for those on your list. Of course, these are just a few suggestions; feel free to comment with your favorite gift giving ideas!

The Gifts:

Clicking on the gift name will take you to the item or store.

For the runner:

  • Nathan Handheld Water Bottle: (Melissa) This handheld water bottle will keep you hydrated on a run during any season. It has a zipper pouch for keys and mid-run fuel, a smart phone holder with a clear window and a headphone port.
  • RoadID: (Lindsey) If you don’t run/cycle with any ID, this is a good option in case of an emergency.
  • A running belt: Keep all your personal items stowed away on your runs with this handy belt! Two different options below:
  • Running Shoes: Running shoes are arguably the most important component of injury-free training. For runners who know what shoes work well for their body, Amazon typically has the best prices and biggest color selection, but runners who are unsure should hit a local running store for tips and advice. We’ve included our personal favorites below.
  • Under Armor running pants: (Lindsay) Pick cold gear or heat gear depending on the climate/needs.
  • Feetures! Running socks: (Lindsey)These are my personal favorite. They come in many colors for both men and women.
  • Entry to a race: (Melissa) Sometimes the best way to keep your training focused is to register for a race, but many half and full marathons come in at over $100. Ask for it as a gift now so you don’t have any excuses later.

For the Yogi:

  • lucy workout gear: This is a favorite of both Lindsay and Lindsey. Their products are great for running, yoga, and beyond. You can find them in stores, on their website, or at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  • Manduka Superlite Travel Yoga Mat: I (Lindsey) have this one and I love that it fits in the front zipper of my suitcase for easy travel. In my opinion, it is a bit too thin for hardwood, but it is great for other surfaces.
  • Tara Stiles, Strength & Energy Yoga DVD: (Lindsey) This is probably my favorite yoga DVD. It is probably not best for a beginner, but try it out if you’ve taken a few classes in person and see if you like it.

For general fitness:

  • Gym membership or fitness class pass: (Melissa) Much like registering for a race, a great way to keep your fitness goals on track is to have a gym membership or fitness class pass. Be careful to choose one which you will actually use by considering the times the gym is open or the times the classes are offered, childcare options and who might be willing to go with you as it’s much easier to go workout if someone else is counting on you. If it’s available in your area, Stroller Strides classes are fabulous for moms looking to get in a full body work out with a group of like-minded women without the hassle of childcare. (
  • The Bar Method: (Lindsey) I love this DVD! It definitely packs a punch. You can find it for much cheaper on their website, but the main link will take you to the specific one I love on amazon for your reference.
  • Blender Bottle: These are great for on the go, especially if you use any kind of protein powder, green drink powder, or anything else that could be difficult to combine with liquid on the go.
  • GPS Watch: Several guys shared that they loved their Garmin GPS watches. I don’t know much about these, so you might want to visit a store to make sure you get what you want.
  • Wireless Activity Tracker: There are lots of options here in all different price ranges. Here are three options:
    • The Fitbit Zip: A nice starter model. (Lindsay has this one.)
    • The Fitbit Flex: One of the most popular choices. Comes in many colors and several sizes.
    • The Jawbone UP3: I (Lindsey) have this one. I love that it tracks sleep and sample heart rates. Apparently it is one of Oprah’s favorite things for 2015.

For the chef

(All from Lindsey)

  • Practical Paleo: This is such a great cookbook no matter how you eat. There are specific sections for those with specific concerns (Autoimmune conditions, thyroid health, athletic performance, fat loss, etc.), but I always find myself coming back to the recipes because they’re so tasty.
  • The Forest Feast: An excellent cookbook for the vegetarian entertainer. Although I’m neither a vegetarian nor an entertainer, I enjoy the easy appetizers and cocktails in this cookbook the most.
  • Spiralizer: Make noodles out of vegetables for a healthy meal idea. Here are a couple of options depending on your needs and chosen price range.
  • Granola: This one is my favorite because the ingredients are clean and I like supporting a small business.
  • Silpat baking mat: One of my kitchen “must haves”. Use this reusable baking mat for any of your baking needs.
  • Dehydrator: Okay, so this is not something I actually have, but it is definitely on my wish list. Make your own dried fruit, beef jerky, soaked and dried nuts, or anything else you can think of.
  • Coffee Beans: Know a coffee lover? Find some locally roasted beans for a special treat.

For the kids:

  • Rollerblades: There are rollerblades for every size and budget. This is just one example.
  • Balance Bike/Strider Bike: A learners bike without pedals. Kids who use these can move to a bike without training wheels after never relying on the bike to balance for them. We bought one of these (not this brand, since it was in Germany) for our niece last Christmas and she loves it!
  • Protective Gear: I can’t mention sports equipment without listing protective gear. Helmets and pads are important for kids of all ages, so don’t forget them! Sometimes they’re sport specific (the difference between a bike helmet and a ski helmet), so do a bit of research before you buy.
  • Moon Sand/Kinetic Sand: Less mess! There are a few D-I-Y recipes floating around the internet or you can just buy it online.
  • Sensory Table: Water and sand offer great learning opportunities. Here is one example:
  • Sensory Beads:
  • A PlasmaCar: These are so fun since you make them go with the steering wheel!

For four legged family members:

For the whole family:

  • Roomba: (Melissa) This is my absolute favorite household item! With three kids and a shedding dog, Roomba is a fabulous way to keep crumbs and dog hair off of your floors with a push of a button. Consider buying at a place with a lengthy return option (such as Bed Bath and Beyond) so you can replace it if you have any trouble a few years down the road. 
  • Zim’s Max Freeze: (Lindsey) I love this stuff. Any time I have shoulder or neck tension (or post-workout soreness) this is a great solution! They carry it at some grocery stores and most Walgreens (among other places). I like the tube but they also have a roller ball.
  • Mini Foam roller: Roll out those stiff and sore muscles with this compact little tool.
  • SmartWool Socks: Great for winter! They make them for every activity and in every size/color.
  • Kleen Kanteen Canisters: They make these in any shape you can think of so you can pack a healthy snack or beverage to go.
  • Lunch Bot: These are similar to the above canisters and are great for adults and kids! They also make a soup container which is pretty great.
  • Museum Membership: If you know someone enjoys art, history, or anything else at your local museum, what about a year membership so they can visit all year long?

Other ideas:

  • Visit some shops in your area and support a local business! You might find something perfect that you never would have expected!
  • Instead of purchasing something, how about taking the whole family on a hike, bike, walk, or run? Find somewhere new in your area to explore and get outside!

Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas! Feel free to comment below with your favorite gift giving suggestions.

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