What Makes a Great Holiday Gift?

Hey Santa...Still Waiting!

So last week we looked at some of the awful holiday gifts for 2012; how about this week we look at some good ideas for gift giving?

And for those of you already sick to death of my unrelenting ebook whoring, be reassured that the newly released Cranky Fitness Exercise eBook does NOT appear on this list best gift ideas!

However, that doesn't mean I ain't gonna mention the book thing, because I am so freakin' grateful for all the support I've gotten from readers and other bloggers. It's still about at 9 billion in the Amazon sakes rankings, but I'm pretty sure every darn copy sold has come from a blog reader or a personal friend. I figure if it can keep dribbling out a few sales here and there and attract a few stars or non-scathing reviews, some day a stranger might even find it and buy it!

Which, before we get to the real list, leads to yet another Gift Idea for Me:

 OK, that works too...

Please let me know via email or in the comments if you did something nice regarding the ebook like buying or mentioning it somewhere, so I can thank you! Or if you notice someone else has done something nice and you want to clue me in that would be awesome. If you are a blogger or other social media type, I'd love to link to you or tweet about you or whatever. And I've got future ebooks in mind about weight loss/body image, motivation, nutrition, aging, advanced exercise tips etc and can always use more Cranky-Fitness-Friendly references.

(And yes, I know people are being supportive because they are generous, and are not looking for payback. However, consider saying something anyway because it would make ME feel less like a self-absorbed asshole for not making time to do blog rounds and noticing this stuff myself). 

A few random examples:

Sorry, Not Your Usual Gift Guide:
The list below is not the conventional parade of shiny products, rather it's just some general thoughts about gift giving.

Why the philosophical take?

Actually, I started this post with a bunch of notions about gadgets and gear and healthy snacks and classes and memberships. But then I discovered I couldn't make myself get within 10 feet of my laptop for several days without a shiver of revulsion. I was having a serious attitude problem about finishing the post.

 Dramatic Re-Enactment

Why? Well, specific suggestions felt way too subjective!  Why would I think your recipient's unique feet would feel comfortable in the same pair of running shoes I like, or that they'd crave the possibly barfy-sounding snacks I've discovered, or want to play with the weird exercise toys I favor? Wait, that sounds dirty.  I mean this kinda toy, which I bought myself over the summer.

Isn't it ADORABLE?

And then when I tried to go generic, I found myself repeating myself with advice from years past.  I couldn't make myself write the same ol' shit about specialty food items and yoga mats and stretchy bands and cooking accessories and heart rate monitors and running shoes and water bottles and exercise dvd's and healthy lifestyle magazines.   Like you don't know they exist?

But fear not! There are helpful lists all over the web, and from what I hear, Pinterest is your new BFF anyway, right?

So instead, we have:

Random Musings about Best Christmas/Holiday Gifts!

Healthy Gifts

Giving something that is fun but also helps your loved one stay fit and healthy is satisfying at all sorts of levels!

However, you gotta be careful with healthy gifts, especially if you have an Agenda.  These types of gifts are best reserved for people who actually care about their health. Uncle Ralph who eats lunch every day at Hooters and regards walking further than where he's parked the car as an "extreme" sport, is not a good candidate for fitness gear or an organic vegetable-of-the-month club membership. Get Uncle Ralph a nice bottle of scotch and some lotto tickets and forget any plans to reform him.

However, I do want to mention that one gift that falls in this category is the Healthy Cook Book.

Lots of options here, but an excellent on that you might be able to win for free is Roni Noone's Green Lite Bites over at the Big Girl Bombshell giveaway post. It's even autographed! But act fast, because the deadline in tonight, Dec 3.

Gifts that Support a Deserving Person or Cause.

And yes, despite the slight WTF flavor of the photos above, this is an actual gift item you can purchase through the gift shop at the Humane Society. (Kitty DJ sold separately at an animal shelter near you).

This way, your recipient gets a cool gift, but you get credit for giving twice, because you are also supporting a worthy organization!

A similar, less WTF item might be Mizfit's cool Skort and matching top which benefits Mayan Families. These are featured on Hungry Girl's gift ideas which includes some other charity-friendly ideas!

Go Miz!

Gifts of Time, Experience, or Adventure

Rather than give a Thing, sometimes it's great to give a person a chance to DO something they might not treat themselves to, like a weekend learning how to rock-climb, or a pamper-fest at a fancy spa, or a wine-tasting adventure, or a Museum/Zoo/Aquarium/Theater type outing, or even one of those popcorn and movie packages some theaters sell.

Or perhaps your loved one is stressed, burned out, and overwhelmed and could use some housecleaning, healthy meal delivery, a closet-organizer type consultation, or some other time-saver? 

Santa baby?  Elizabeth Falkner as my personal chef would really rock.

Gifts that are Eco-Friendly

Buying or making eco-friendly gifts made from recycled stuff is another one of those win-win gift ideas.

Not quite THAT open-minded about the aesthetics of previously used materials?

There are lots of eco-friendly gift retailers out there with non-toilet like gifts!  And what the heck, one of them is a friend of mine who makes all kinds of items like jewelry, cool stuff with cork, and beautiful baskets hand woven from plastic bags that would otherwise be blighting the landscape or strangling innocent wildlife.  And she's really, really nice. That's gotta count for something right? Check her out at Sarahracha.

Gifts that are Flexible

Some recipients love surprises and would rather have you risk buying something slightly off target, as long as you tried. It's the thought that counts, right?

Others of us hate the notion of you spent a fair amount of  time or money on something we're going to have to pretend very hard to like, and the more we should like it but don't, the lousier we feel.

If you have a recipient on your list who sucks at faking it when your awesome gift is not right on the money, consider a creatively wrapped...Gift Card!  In my crotchety opinion, these are the best of both worlds if you're the least bit unsure of what someone might want.  If you choose a retailer of Something Fun, you can ensure your gift doesn't end up being windshield wiper fluid or dishwasher detergent.  Yet it leaves room for flexibility without having to put the recipient through the mile-long Refund/Exchange lines at the mall.

But gift certificates are not for everyone.  So go ahead and guess if your loved one likes surprises!

What do you like to get people for the holidays?  What do you love to receive?

Jet pack: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
Cupcakes: Kristin A 
Airshorts: Plaid Stallions 
Reenactment and Cash: Free Digital Images
Toilet planter: inquisitr
Elizabeth Falkner: her website.
Sweater thing: Regretsy

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