I love this time of year, I really really do, and thanks to my mom’s genius plan that she put into place years and years ago, I appreciate the holidays even more. When I was about 12 years old, my mom put her foot down and decided to take a more realistic and sane approach to this often crazy and stressful time of year. As children, we never had buckets of money laying around. My dad worked as a school teacher and my mom choose to stay home with us and on a school teachers salary, my mom made up for our one parent income by making most of our clothes by hand, maintaining a year round garden, making all of our food from scratch, and planning our family entertainment around board games or playing music together. With that being said, Christmas time for us meant being frugal, yet still joyful.
My mom’s “genius plan” that she came up with all those years ago was quite simple. The kids would get a few gifts, and my parents would donate a little bit of money to a favorite charity. On Christmas day, when the aunts, uncles and cousins would arrive, we would have a White Elephant Gift Exchange, and some of my favorite holiday memories consist of our entire family laughing hysterically at the funny, thoughtful, or silly gifts that each family member would wrap. Did any of us feel deprived? No way. The relief of NOT purchasing extravagant or unnecessary gifts for every person in our family was wonderful; and instead we all felt good about buying one simple or funny gift to share and many of us have followed in my mom’s footsteps of giving to a favorite charity. Of course, and at the holidays especially, I miss my mom terribly; however, I’m so grateful for all that I have learned from her and every year I hold my children a little tighter, grateful to be here with them and hopeful for many more Christmas day’s together with the ones I love.
Now that our own little family for the last several years have been a paleo family, I’ve been researching healthy gifts to give to the ones that I love! Our family still follows my mom’s tradition and rather than spending oodles of money on each other, we are mindful of what really counts; being together, eating good food, singing together around my sister’s piano, playing with the kids, giving to others in need, and being grateful for what we have. However, gifts are a part of the holiday season, and what better to give to someone than a gift of health. Below are my suggestions for healthy holiday gift giving ideas. Oh, and in case you are wondering; not a single company, product, item, or person listed below has asked, bribed, or paid me to promote them. This is all stuff I either use and love myself or things that I have researched thoroughly.
So please, have fun, stress less, hold your loved ones close, be merry and bright, and have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Now for the list!
Books! There are plenty of awesome paleo books out there but I’m highlighting just a few that look awesome as soon to be released titles and ones that are must haves for the season!
1. Everyday Paleo – This of course goes without saying. This is my first book and national best seller, designed to help you get started and to help haul your family on board! Even if you are already paleo, this book is excellent for anyone, with over 100 easy and delicious recipes and tons of time saving tips and strategies as well as an entire month of meal plans and shopping lists. Also, there is an exercise guide in the back for everyone from the beginner to the more advanced.
2. Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook - My second cookbook – and I just found out a few days ago that this one is now also a national best seller – is a follow up to my first book with all new recipes except for a couple of standbys like the mayo and chicken broth. In this book you’ll find an entire section of meals that are designed to be made in a very short amount of time for those crazy busy days. There is also a section on several prep ideas that are truly priceless and only through experience have I learned over the years how to spend the least amount of time in my kitchen and still feed my family delicious paleo meals. There are 80 recipes that are all family favorites, including sauces, dips, dressings, meaty meals, and plenty of side dishes. This book has received RAVE reviews which you can find here on Amazon.
3. Paleo Pals, Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship – This one is for the kiddos! The pictures will captivate even the youngest little Paleo Pals, and the story is educational, exciting, and fun for ALL ages! I love this book, it’s from my heart, and my hope is that Paleo Pals will help your child feel like a superhero and confident about how your family eats.
4. The Paleo Coach by Jason Seib – Although set to be released in early March, pre-ordering this book for yourself or a loved one is a MUST for any wish list. I can’t wait for the release of this book. If you have ready any of Jason’s work on this blog or listened to our podcast together or attended one of our workshops, you’ll already know that what this man has to say is legit, life-changing, and can only come from years of experience working deep in the trenches of the health and fitness industry. Jason’s book is geared to anyone who really wants to understand what it takes to be successful and wants to understand how to bust through roadblocks. Everyone needs a coach, and Jason is the best in the field and is ready to be your Paleo Coach.
5. Primal Blueprint – Healthy Sauces, Dressings, and Toppings, by Mark Sisson – I don’t have this book yet, but I WANT IT! I am totally a sauce gal and I love having an abundance of options to make the standard paleo meal into something truly unique and special and this book looks like the one that will do that job! Also, Mark is offering over $1 million in bonuses for purchasing his book so click on this link to order your copy or copies and then go to Mark’s site here to read up on how to enter to win somer super cool swag!
6. Paleo Slow Cooking, by Chrissy Gower – Just released in October, this book is perfect for your paleo friends and family who want fast, easy, and delicious slow cooked meals for the cold winter!
7. Paleo Indulgences, by Tammy Credicott – If you know that this time of year equates to expected treats from you family and visiting loved ones, turn to Paleo Indulgences rather than giving into the standard holiday junk that will derail your efforts to eat clean and leave you feeling miserable, sick, and frustrated. Paleo Indulgences is full of ideas, although as Tammy states in her book, these are meant to be treats – not everyday foods – it’s great to have options that are not filled with gut irritating grains and refined sugars.
8. Gather – The Art of Paleo Entertaining, by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason – This book, like Jason’s is also not yet released but anyone would love to see that this book is on it’s way to them!! Scheduled to be released in April, Gather looks phenomenal and who doesn’t want a recipe book filled with options for entertaining guests, orchestrating dinner parties, and planning elegant paleo holiday meals! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!
Cookware and Kitchen Tools – These are all items I use myself and highly recommend as paleo kitchen survival tools that you or your loved ones would be thrilled to have in their kitchen arsenal.
1. Breville Immersion Stick Blender – I love my immersion blender. It makes mayo in seconds, blends up sauces and soups like nothing, and stores and cleans easily!
2. Fagor 8 quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker – I have had this pressure cooker for almost 4 years now and I love it! Easy to use, big enough for a family of five, and durable!
3. Spiral Vegetable Slicer – Make paleo food into super cool noodles – like zucchini, sweet potato, and more! Fun and easy and kids love this kitchen essential!
4. Hamilton Beach 6 quart Slow Cooker – Every paleo family MUST have a slow cooker and this has been the trustiest brand that I have found so far. I love my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker!
5. Cast Iron Wok – This is one of my favorite cast iron essentials. It’s big enough to cram in plenty of food to feed a large family and it’s just an awesome piece of cooking equipment and makes for a very cool and unique gift!
6. Fermenting Crock – For your loved one who wants to get his/her fermentation on, this is the crock for them!
7. Food Processor – Much needed kitchen tool to make amazing paleo meals!
8. Wusthof 2-Piece Knife Set – These are the brand of knives I use at home and they are well worth the investment. Every cook needs a good knife and this starter set is typically all that the home chef needs to get by. A sharp knife is the best and most important tool to have in your paleo kitchen!
Steve’s Original - Home of the Paleo Kit and some of the best beef jerky I’ve ever eaten! You can give your loved ones a sampler pack so that they can decide what they like best, or a gift certificate is always appreciated. Also, check out Steve’s latest venture into salad dressings, BBQ sauces, and marinades – all paleo friendly and delicious! My favorite is the Ginger Cilantro salad dressing. The best part? When you purchase anything from Steve’s Originals, 15% goes to Steve’s amazing organization designed to help kids across the country! Check out his site for more details.
Tropical Traditions - Best coconut oil I’ve tasted and I trust this product 100%! Besides the coconut oil, they also carry plenty of other food items that we use on a regular basis. From the jarred tomato products to the spices, this is truly a one stop shopping website of paleo goodness.
One Drop Coffee - Absolutely the best coffee you’ll ever drink, and an amazing gift to give to friends, co-workers or loved ones or something you can bring along with you to your host for the holidays!
White Lion Baking Company – Everyone knows that this time of year can sometimes be the toughest when it comes to eating paleo, but eating paleo does not have to mean diving into an entire fruitcake or giving in and eating half of grandma’s apple pie. If you want to be able to indulge a little without totally wrecking your paleo efforts, White Lion Baking Company has made it super easy for you to bring a holiday treat to your next gathering without a lot of fuss or trying to figure out how the heck to bake with coconut flour! I ordered from White Lion Baking Company last year for Jaden’s and Rowan’s birthday and I was beyond pleased with how delicious their products were. My wonderful Director of Operations Dana, has also ordered from White Lion and only has wonderful things to say about their products and the company! They have a few limited treat items available only for the month of December like their Magic Bars, Gingerbread Cake, and Pancake Mix so take a look and if you are going to have treats this month, at least make them grain free!!
Ammin Nut Almonds & Almond Butter – Best. Almond Butter. Ever. Honestly, if you are going to eat some almond butter, please do not even waste your time with anything other than this stuff. Oh, and the almonds – awesome. The almond meal – double awesome. Anything you find from the website would make a perfect gift for your paleo loved one, and I highly recommend ordering more that one jar of the Naked… You’ll be emailing me and thanking me later, I promise.
Meat from US Wellness Meats – I would love anyone forever who gave me the gift of meat. Paleo enthusiasts everywhere would cry tears of joy for a wonderful present from US Wellness!!
Meat from Massa Natural Meats – I currently have a freezer full of all grass fed and grass finished beef from Massa Natural Meats and I HIGHLY recommend the taste and quality of this beef along with the ease of dealing with the company!
Native Forest Coconut Milk – This is my favorite brand. They use cans that are not lined with BPA and it has a great taste and is reasonably priced! Give your paleo friends 12 cans of the stuff and they will be sure to have you over soon for a delicious curry dinner!
Lucero Olive Oil – Some of the best extra virgin olive oil I have EVER tasted this side of Italy and from a source I know you can trust!
Health and Fitness!
A Membership to Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness – For a limited time, you can join EPLifeFit for onl $5 for your first month (that’s $15 off the regular monthly fee) by using coupon code EPLF7513! No obligation to stay after the first month, just a chance to come check us out and see what you think! I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised and impressed. We take the guesswork out of fitness and trained professionals are there to answer all of your questions, we have oodles of videos to show you what to do, and how to move correctly, a beginners program for folks brand new to exercise, programed workouts, and forums where you can join a community of like minded questions. We can even critique your movements to keep you safe and help you with your progress. This is a great gift for the health and fitness minded individual!
Homemade Gift Ideas
1. Click Here for several wonderful ideas posted by Katie of Wellness Mama on last years gift giving guide post!
2. Framed Pictures! Every year we take a picture of the boys, have it printed several times, and then the boys help us find or make frames for each family member. Inexpensive, fun, and thoughtful.
3. Healthy Holiday Cookies – Make several batches of these holiday inspired cookies or other grain free cookies of your choice to give out to friends, family and loved ones!
Gifts of Charity!
Heifer International – my mom’s favorite charity. Yes, you might all comment – OH NO – they often use the animals for MILK and they sometimes suggest that they feed the animals GRAINS! Sure, not entirely paleo but this program is SAVING LIVES in a pretty amazing way, and NOT by dumping loads of cereal grains on these folks for a cheap food source, but by helping them become self-sustaining and by giving families that otherwise would not have the opportunity a chance to support themselves and to send their children to school. What’s so very cool also? You can, for example, buy a flock of chicks for $20 which will go to a family in need. The family will raise the chicks and be able to sell the eggs and also use the eggs to help feed their own family with the eggs invaluable protein source. You can buy this flock in honor of someone, so that person will receive a little card or email saying that in honor of that person, a family is now likely to have the resources to thrive! Pretty. Darn. Cool!
Survival International – This charity is focused on survival for tribal people. The issue is real. These people need our help. Please visit the website to learn more and to find out how to support and donate.
Boatsie’s Boxes – This charity was started by Gail VanVranken whose son, while deployed in Baghdad, relayed the message back to his family that the deployed troops needed help! Supplies were low and everyday items like toothpaste, deodorant, and basic supplies, especially at hospitals and to the newly deployed troops as well as those on the front lines, were non-existent or fast depleted. This awesome charity sends items weekly to troops all over the world. Follow the link to find out how you can help our service men and women who will not be with their families during the holidays. Thank you to all of you who serve our country.
Samaritan’s Purse – This is one of my father’s favorite charities. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, this charity gives to children in need around the world, an obvious need, period. These are hardworking good people, and by simply filling a shoebox with school supplies and simple toys, you can change the entire world of a child. Priceless.
I’m sure that you all have wonderful ideas as well for healthy holiday gifts so please don’t be shy and share your thoughts, ideas, and feedback to the comments below. Happy Holidays from me and the Everyday Paleo Team!