Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
17 Dec

Primal Inspired Holiday Gifts (to Give or Receive!)

The holidays, as fun as they are, can take a toll on our health. (The ultimate inspiration for those New Year’s resolutions, we suppose…) Beyond the party fare, even the gifts themselves (Aunt Marge’s fruitcake, the office’s enormous popcorn tins, your mother’s traditional box of Fannie May chocolates, etc.) can send our best Primal selves looking for cover (or our best intentions into a tailspin). And, on the giving end of things, we may find ourselves so taken by our Primal successes this year that we’d like to share gifts that encourage the same healthy lifestyle in others. Though this time of year holds different traditions (and compromises) for each of us, we thought we’d share some MDA-inspired gift ideas that put the health in our Happy and Healthy Holiday wishes to you, our good readers.

1. Book(s) from Mark’s Reading List

Primal Inspired Gifts - Books

Check out Mark’s favorites and readers’ suggestions on some of the best books on health, history and, well, life. There’s something to get everyone in the Primal spirit!

2. CSA Produce/Meat Share

CSA Produce

Practical, healthy, delicious, continual throughout the year/season…how can it get any better? If a full year gives you sticker shock, many farms offer “mini-shares” around this time of year (usually a month’s worth) that offers the best of their winter bounty or an early spring share recipients can look forward to. Other CSA options? Look for one-time gift packs of great produce, grass-fed steaks, fresh herbs, specialty teas and coffees, or other healthy (and tempting) fare.

3. Primal Equipment

Primal Equipment

Infinite choices here like medicine balls, Vibram FiveFingers, etc. For the budget conscious, consider making your own gear like kettlebells, sandbags and slosh tubes. You never know: you may create a Primal convert!

4. Spa Day/Massage Gift Certificate


Who doesn’t love a good massage and a warm sauna come the cold of January? It’s the ultimate gift of luxury and health. And don’t underestimate the power of an hour on the table. Massage has been shown to aid/allay everything from chronic pain to osteoarthritis to post-surgery recovery. It’s the perfect winter (and post-holiday) therapy!

5. Primal Gift Basket

Gift Basket

As Primally orthodox or decadent as you want to make it. Think a personalized collection of fresh, raw nuts (or homemade nut butter!), organic dried fruits, homemade jerky or Primal energy bars, gourmet cooking and salad oils, high cocoa content dark chocolate, your favorite red wine, etc. Endlessly variable, definitely irresistible – no matter who’s on your list.

6. Gym Membership/Package

Gym Package

Do you know someone who’s wanted to join but couldn’t afford it? Maybe someone who’s interested in upgrading his/her membership to try some new classes? Whether it’s a full membership, a package of classes, or a session with a personal trainer, consider this gift a boost and show of support for those New Year’s resolutions just around the corner.

7. Relaxation Set


Between the stress of the holidays and the cold of winter ahead, it’s time for some soothing R&R. Think CDs with restful music or guided imagery sessions, herbal teas, bath salts, an inspirational or meditation-focused book, a calming fountain, beeswax or soy candles, or yoga gear. Couldn’t we all use one of these?

8. Tickets/Reservations

Ticket - Admit One

Gift don’t always need to be “stuff,” of course. Consider giving (or receiving) an experience. How about tickets to the person’s favorite theater or home team? What about a winter weekend getaway? Better yet, how about using the opportunity to reconnect with a loved one? Offer more than a gift but a commitment of time and togetherness.

9. Flowers and Plants

Flowers in Vase

In the cold winter months, bringing a little nature indoors can perk up everyone’s spirit. (Can we say biophilia?) Cut flowers have been shown to improve subjects’ mood (PDF) in research studies. Plants such as ferns, peace lilies, and snake plants are great toxin absorbers for the home. Some creative and seasonal picks: Christmas roses, Chistmas cactus, terrarium with succulents, or an early spring bulb garden.

10. Charitable Donation

Charitable Christmas Donation

“Human Fund” jokes aside, making a donation to a loved one’s favorite nonprofit in his/her name can be a thoughtful way to show your support and to embrace the more meaningful, less commercial spirit of the season. Many charities (especially if the donation included a membership benefit) will send publications or even personal updates throughout the year, making your donation a lasting as well as meaningful gesture.

BONUS! Primal Nutrition Gift Basket

(Shameless self-promotion, we know….) Maybe it’s a single coveted item to slip in the stocking or a full array of supplemental goodness. Either way, the recipient (whether a loved one or you) will be treated to the very best.

Did we get some ideas rolling? Have more Primal ideas to share? Send ‘em on!

JenWaller, mbn, thomaswanhoff, TarynMarie, tanakawho, BarnyardBBS, ldcross, betizuka, Hryckowian, geofana Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

10 Simple Steps to Help Motivate a Friend

Carbs: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Dear Mark: Should I Get a Flu Shot?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Nothing wrong with a little shameless self promotion Mark!

    Tis the season of regifting for us. Every unhealthy gift basket or set of chocolates that we have been gifted, we have regifted to other people that DO eat that stuff. I feel kind of guilty because it isn’t exactly promoting a message of health… but at least we aren’t being wastefull!
    I will be providing the gift of health by feeding my visiting relatives (Christmas is at my house this year) delicious primal meals.

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on December 17th, 2008
  2. I know what you mean, SoG. We do the same re-gifting in our house!

    I love the relaxation set. I’m putting one together for my mother this week. Maybe I’ll throw in Mark’s suggested read, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers!

    Thanks for the great ideas.

    Jen wrote on December 17th, 2008
  3. There is no shame in promoting the best supplements on the planet, Mark.

    The Master Formula has completed my primal experience and I am a better man for it. I feel better, have more energy and haven’t even had a cold going on 18 months. So a big thanks to you and the Worker Bees.

    Keep up the great work.

    Piter wrote on December 17th, 2008
  4. Dude, if I wake up and there are some kettlebells under my tree, I’ll go nuts! That would be an awesome gift!

    Happy Holidays!

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

    Andrew R - Go Healthy Go Fit wrote on December 17th, 2008
  5. Great ideas. Love the massage/spa suggestion as I’m a massage therapist, and the CSA/Meat share would make a great gift. I know I’d love to receive it. Happy Holidays!

    Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) wrote on December 17th, 2008
  6. This is a fantastic list. It really got me thinking about the gifts I’m giving out this Christmas. Come to think of it I may just end up treating myself to a day at the spa.

    Also, I’d add a paddle board to the list for those big spenders. I know you’re into it, Mark. I’ve tried it a few times and loved it.

    Mr. Sims wrote on December 17th, 2008
  7. Homemade Nut Butter?!! That’s a bit suggestive.

    VT-XFitter wrote on December 17th, 2008
  8. I’m definitely giving some Primal Nutrition supplements for Christmas! I already ordered them and they are on their way! Can’t wait to give my family and close friends the gift of health this year….
    Great other ideas too!

    Jane wrote on December 17th, 2008
  9. Gave everyone I know some excellent quality tea from

    Zen Frittata wrote on December 17th, 2008
  10. I was hoping to get a pedometer for xmas, but I have never bothered using one before so don’t really know if they are accurate enough to be worthwhile.

    Rob wrote on December 17th, 2008
  11. Hey Mark. Books are a fantastic gift idea. I’ve got so used to buying DVDs and CDs for people that I often completely overlook books. However, when I was young I used to read every night and really enjoyed it. A good book can provide hours more enjoyment than any CD or DVD.

    Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips wrote on December 17th, 2008
  12. Great ideas! I put more kettlebells on my list so hopefully Santa will get them for me.

    I actually found a dark chocolate bar that is… get this, BACON flavored. I am giving that as a joke gift to someone who buys me dark chocolate and cooks my eggs over easy for me with bacon grease. I’ve always said that everything is better with bacon, but this might be stretching it just a bit too far.

    I too regift a lot of sweets. Or I take them to work (which is a pretty malicious psychology, but hey they eat it all). Sometimes I just put them right in the dumpster without guilt.

    And I already bought myself a CSA for 2009.


    TrailGrrl wrote on December 17th, 2008
  13. All great ideas, especially the primal gift basket. In my mother’s home she has about 20 gift baskets all filled with peanut brittle chocolates, candy toffy crackers. It is an absolute disaster. Then one of our relatives gave us a primal gift basket with every kind of nut imagineable and a nice helping of dried fruit. But you know what come this christmas in our house we have a whole leg of prociutto, a giant box of danish butter cookies and other goodies, while I’m not going to gorge I will certainly help myself. I hope:p

    JE Gonzalez wrote on December 17th, 2008
  14. hopehopehope Im on your giftgivinglist.

    love these. and LOVE my 5 fingers.

    MizFit wrote on December 20th, 2008
  15. I like the basket idea. Buy a woven basket and you’re only limited by your imagination on what you can put in it as a gift, and it feels more personalised.

    Being an advocate of massages, I can’t recommend them enough, with work environments being more and more involved in the office, nothing gets you going better physically and mentally.

    Ross wrote on December 21st, 2008
    • Happy Holidays, I’m just hoping I can pay my mortgage this month. Drywall is slow in Grand Rapids, Mi. It’s amazing how we prioritize our lives, and the lives we have. I shall get a little gift for the kids and be happy I’m healthy and primal. Happy Holidays again my primal brothers and sisters.

      Dan Lange wrote on December 15th, 2009
      • I’m right there with you, Dan. I wrapped my kid’s new shoes and socks, shampoo, and stuff from the Dollar Tree. She’s only 19 months, though, and will still find the wrapping paper to be the best part.

        I wish someone would buy me a cow for Christmas 😀

        Sara wrote on December 16th, 2009

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