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Clark Griswold was disappointed when he received the “Jelly of the Month Club” as his holiday gift from his boss in the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. What was bad about that gift was that the boss was not really being thoughtful about what the receiver(s) really wanted. (They wanted a pool – which is a great healthy option!) When you put your list together for the season, did you think about the recipient and about how long the present will really last? Nothing is as enduring as the gift of health and fitness! And, it will last for months (if not years) to come.

Here are some great suggestions for the 12 Days of (Healthy) Christmas that I'd be really happy if my true love gave to me.

  1. Take a walk with a friend to enjoy the neighbors’ lights. Walking is easy enough for the whole family to partake in, and time with loved ones doesn't cost a thing!
  2. Cook a healthy meal from a heart-healthy cookbook — and then give the meal and book as a present! There are several great options that can be found on Amazon.com.
  3. Buy gifts they can use through the entire year. There are plenty of videos on the market that will get your friends and family moving at their pace. Beachbody — the makers of P90X, Insanity, Turbo Fire (I’m part of a Beachbody Team) – and Les Mills have some great options.
  4. Download FREE apps for iPhones and droids. There are several great health-related apps like MapMyFitness, Nike Training Club and Sworkit that you can show to your friends and family or maybe even do one together. Some, like MyFitnessPal, have social media connections to encourage your friends (and vice versa!).
  5. Dress for success. Many people get motivated to work out if they are wearing some amazing work-out gear. I like Lululemon and Athleta for some amazing selections. Lululemon even has a kids’ line at Ivivva.com.
  6. Get a FREE workout. Stores like Lululemon and Athleta offer free classes right in their store locations. 24 Hour Fitness often has free passes you can download to try their locations.
  7. Try a tracking device. There are several different fitness/activity tracking devices on the market including FitBitBodyBugg and JawboneUp. These devices can help keep you on track to “move it, move it, move it.”
  8. Play a game. While the games associated with Wii and Kinect can be wonderful, there are fun and less expensive games that encourage kids to get up and be active for a little while. Play Charades where at least one of the categories is sports or try a board game like Cranium's Hullabloo. You may even consider a good, ole jump rope and make up a fun Christmastime rhyme. (By the way, a jump rope would fit well into a stocking!)
  9. Get down. Have the kids really boogie when they perform a dance routine to their favorite holiday tune. (Another alternative is to do some Yoga with the family – as in “Get Down-ward Dog.” If you are thinking of buying family members their own mats, I love the Mat from Lululemon, because it is sturdy and cushy! Plus, it is even easier to carry with the no-brainer strap.)
  10. Buy a National Parks Annual Pass.  My family loves to hike in the amazing national parks! Just $80 will provide access to all the national parks and federal recreation sites for an entire year. A $10 lifetime pass is also available for seniors 62 and older. (I could do with a state parks pass too! A Colorado Annual State Parks Pass is $70).
  11. Think massage. Massages are not just relaxing spa treatments. This healthy holiday gift can help reduce inflammation, increase circulation and soothe sore muscles. Giving a gift-certificate – even if it is a homemade “coupon” for an at-home version – for a massage appointment is a nice way to provide both mental and physical holiday stress relief. (Kids love to give foot massages.)
  12. Choose your lunch box. One of the healthiest decisions you can make is to forego lunch at fast food outlets and bring your own healthier options. A great lunch box is a fun way to keep the portions to the right amount and enjoy your lunch on the go (plus, they can be ecologically friendly as well).

No matter what you decide to get your honey, just make sure they don't send out “Uncle Eddie” to do your shopping this year 🙂 If you just stick to the list, everyone will be well and good in your home. Happy Holidays!