Every year around the holidays I get requests from readers asking for shopping tips. Some readers are looking for other Primal family members and friends. Others are looking toward the new year (and new goals) while they pass along ideas to spouses and family. We’ve offered up gift ideas in the past, but I thought I’d get more specific this year and share some of my personal favorites.
There’s just enough time to get your last-minute gift orders placed to ensure adequate shipping time, so check out the list below and share your gift ideas in the comment board.
Something to Stock the Primal Kitchen
Fully organic and deliciously potent herbs and spices. We buy plenty of fresh herbs at the market, but we keep a full stock of good dried herbs and spices as well for convenience and variety. Check out their Gourmet Peppers of the World. Carrie and I have been making our way through the collection this fall.
Another good option is Penzeys Spices. I happened upon one of their retail locations in Santa Monica recently. If you live near one drop by to experience the store. They have tester canisters of every product they sell so that you can crack it open and sniff the spicy goodness.
As you all know, I’m a big fan of salads. I can’t imagine how many I’ve gone through over the years. I always do a fresh dressing each time but don’t like fussing over the right mix. Carrie picked this gadget up for me a while back, and I use it every day now. It does it all in one container. Choose among the printed recipes, use the measuring lines and then mix with the plunger lid. No measuring cups or spoons. Throw it in the dishwasher when you’re done.
While we’re on the subject of salads…I discovered this brand at an area farmers’ market once, and it’s remained one of my favorites. I include it here because you can order it online from anywhere. Once you try it, you might find yourself addicted. I went through a lot of Greek salads with that first bottle. Trust me, it didn’t last long. I like the mild but deep and rich flavor. I’d recommend their fig vinegar and dipping oils as well.
It’s the excellent heat conductivity of cast iron but with the easy clean up and maintenance of enamel. It’s the perfect way to cook low and slow – the ideal Primal way. (And who doesn’t love a good chili or stew in winter?) Sure, everyone bows down to Le Creuset, but I’ve found Lodge brand to be a perfectly good and affordable option.
Something to Boost Primal Fitness
As you know, I’m a big fan of workout gear that challenges your muscles with instability. The ball has a loose, weighted center that shifts as you move, engaging different muscle groups in the abs and back. It’s a nice addition to a simple home gym focused on functional fitness.
My son actually enjoys this one, but I use it too. It’s a great way to build your core with functional, challenging balance control. (Not a bad way to improve your surfing skills either.)
During this year’s 30-day Primal Health Challenge a sponsor gave me a mace for personal use. I’ve incorporated it into my workouts ever since. Yes, you can make your own, but these are loadable with thick grips and a smooth metal ball at the end. (Sledgehammers make decent makeshift maces, but the handle isn’t ideal for swinging and you better never catch yourself with the head; a mace doesn’t feel good either but it’s not likely to tear skin.)
Something for Primal Kids
Our friends’ 8- and 10-year-olds have several of these gear items for outdoor treks and adventures. With everything from self-crank camping lanterns to magnifying glasses to telescopes, backpacks and boomerangs, this set helps the kids feel like expert outdoorsmen and –women.
The same friends’ kids also have this toy. It’s a good deal of fun for kids and adults alike. It gets kids outside. Enough said.
A book for older kids and teenagers, you’ll find great ideas for big and small family adventures. It’s simultaneously a primer on basic outdoor survival and a handbook for outdoor hijinks. Try foraging for food, building outdoor shelters, collecting natural remedies and building Stone Age tools and weapons. Makes you want to be a kid again – but, then, who’s stopping you?
Something to Soothe and Pamper
A sterile topical formulation of Manuka Honey, this is one thing that’s always in our medicine cabinet. When you plan holiday gifts, you probably don’t think first aid. Nonetheless, I’d consider this for the practical type on your list. We keep it around for everyday cuts, scrapes, burns and the like. I have a friend with eczema who swears by it. The honey’s natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help heal while the thickness creates a seal to protect the wounded area.
I don’t get sick or run down too often, but earlier this fall I was traveling and felt something coming on. I have my own routine when this happens that includes plenty of rest, antioxidants and some time in the sauna. A friend I was visiting on the trip gave me these as kind of a pick-me-up. Free from all the crazy chemicals (or overpowering scent) of drugstore brands, these tablets can turn an ordinary shower into a real boost. If you’re a fan of the eucalyptus oil in the steam room at the gym, I’d definitely recommend them. They won’t cure a cold or save the world, but they’re a soothing way to indulge yourself on a cold winter’s night.
I don’t spend much time primping, but this brush goes everywhere with me. It feels great on the scalp, does a great job distributing the natural oils and doesn’t catch like other brushes do. Carrie has one too. They’re made from natural woods and rubber and come with extra bristles.
Something to Reconnect
To reconnect with the natural world… When you’re feeling overrun by modern life and the artificial schedule we make for ourselves, check out what’s going on in the real world. The calendar tracks everything from moon phases to meteor showers, tide patterns to seasonal constellations. It’s a good reminder to get out there and enjoy the changes of the year.
I reviewed this book last month and can’t recommend it enough. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan it may be time to reconnect with your inner carnivore.
If what life calls for is more time together, make a year-long commitment – to your partner, kids, or whoever you need to reconnect with. Set out a list of “dates” or adventures to enjoy together throughout 2010. For kids, maybe it’s learning to ice skate, visiting a national park, building a fort, etc. For partners or good friends, maybe it’s dinners out, concerts, evening walks and a long weekend trip. Good friends of ours did this as a whole family. They said everyone agreed at the end of the year that it had been the best present anyone got.
An always tasteful option…
Can you guess? A Primal Nutrition collection of course! Check out my Primal Holiday Offer – with The Primal Blueprint book, Grok T-shirt, and set of key supplements to support your Primal health goals.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Thanks for reading, and be sure to share your own ideas for Primal giving.
P.S. Apart from my Primal Holiday Offer, proceeds from which go to fund this blog, I’m not making any money off these product recommendations.