Kirkland’s Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide for Wellness
There’s nothing more enjoyable than giving a gift to someone who absolutely loves it. However, this can be tough if we’re looking for smaller items for stocking stuffers or are limited to a “Secret Santa” budget at the office or have dozens of friends we want to surprise. Especially in this day and age when we’re surrounded by so many consumables that it’s difficult to get a gift that is not only thoughtful but also promotes vitality and wellness. (In other words, the opposite of a box of Turtles.) We sat down with Mountain Trek manager and head guide Kirkland Shave to ask him what stocking stuffers he plans on giving this holiday season and what he is hoping to receive.
#1. Homemade gift certificates
These are by far some of the most popular (and least expensive) gifts of all time. Present your friends with a coupon for a “free night of babysitting” so they can get away and enjoy each other’s company. Or offer your spouse a booklet filled with different certificates for such things as a foot massage, homemade dinner and back rub. Or your elderly neighbour a free driveway shovelling session. Anything is possible with some paper, pens and a lot of empathy and imagination.
#2. F.lux Software
Just download the free F.lux software to your partner’s phone, tablet and computer and it will make the colour of their screen adapt to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. No more eerie, bright blue light stimulating cortisol levels at 9:30 pm! Their sleep patterns will improve and their eyes will thank them (and you) for it.
#3. Spa voucher
Everyone loves a trip to the local spa for a relaxing massage or detoxifying Infra red sauna. Even if the voucher isn’t for the entire cost of the treatment, it will still be greatly appreciated and will help go towards the receiver’s stress relief and well-being.
#4. Home-cooked food
And by food we don’t mean cookies filled with butter, sugar and chocolate. Instead we’re talking about items that a person can store away and then bring out when they’re strapped for time to make something of their own. (Or they could always eat them on the spot, too.) For example: frozen soups, dips and dressings (like our Afterglow Almond Butter Dressing), or beautiful tins filled with mixed nuts and fruit you dehydrated yourself. Remember to keep the food offerings healthy and convenient and the receiver will be grateful the next time they’re hungry and go to the cupboard and fridge and find your healthy food gift there for them.
#5. Aromatherapy and healing salts
One of the best ways to wind down after a hard day is an a bathtub full of relaxing lavender oil and Himalayan healing salts. Or sitting in a comfortable chair, eyes closed and breathing deeply the aroma of sandalwood or mandarin. By gifting these essential oils and salts, you help the receiver de-stress from their day and get ready for a restful night’s sleep.
#6. Schedule a day outside just for them
This is similar to the homemade gift certificates idea but in this case you’re setting aside at least one full day during the holidays to spend with your loved ones doing something fun outside. Perhaps it will be going skiing with the kids or snowshoeing with friends or a sleigh ride with entire family. The best gift is the gift of our time and by spending it outdoors, everyone wins.
#7, A good book
There are so many fantastic novels out there that are both entertaining and inspirational. Take Paulo Cohelo’s “The Alchemist” for example or “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce. Or even “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr Seuss for the children in your life. So called “self-help books” don’t have to be boring dialogues about what to do when; they can be uplifting tales of characters who experience challenges and in so doing, change their lives for the better.
This may seem an odd gift for this type of list but we’re not talking about black dress socks or bundles of cheap tube socks from a big box store. Rather, we’re suggesting you gift one pair (or a few pairs) of excellent quality athletic socks that breathe, support and just might encourage the receiver to go out for a walk with you. In our experience, Darn Tough in Vermont make some of the best socks on earth. (They’re guaranteed for life!)
#9. A One-Week Permission Slip
One of the things we hear most from our clients is that it’s so hard for them to take a week or two away from their busy lives in order to reboot their vitality. This is where you can come in: you can either hand-write a coupon or just tell your loved one that it’s okay for them to take time away in order to take care of their own health – you offer to look after things while they’re away and not to worry and they, in turn, can come and join us at Mountain Trek where they’ll reignite their vitality and return back to you a reenergized person. Really, it’s a gift for you both!
Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress
This time of year can be difficult for people’s stress levels, given the number of potential stressors out there: planning family dinners, buying the right gifts and attending numerous parties all contribute to a busy and stressful time. However, there are easy ways to relieve that stress as outlined below.
#1. Digital Detox
Make a plan to detox from your digital devices for a set time each day. Even if it’s just a matter of turning off your TV, phone and computer at 9pm each night the result will be less distraction, better sleep and less stress.
Enjoy an evening massage regularly. It will help relieve sore muscles, release toxins and, ultimately, relax you. Plus it’s something to look forward to after your busy days.
Even just a little. Follow these tips to help beat sedentarism and remember that in order to keep your metabolism up, your weight down, and your stress levels low, your body has to move for at least 40 minutes a day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block.
#4. Go for a soak
Whether it’s a hot spring, hot tub, or your tub at home, a good, long soak in warm water invigorates circulation and, ultimately relaxes you.
#5. Eat Well
We know this can be difficult around the holidays what with the plethora of sweets, alcohol and processed food available, but eating healthy foods puts your body in a better state of equilibrium. That’s not to say we don’t encourage the occasional treat, but remember to do so in moderation. At the very least remember to drink lots of water a day. That will help flush toxins from your body.
#6. Be With Friends
Spend time with friends and loved ones who are relaxing to be with. Often we hear from our clients that the holidays are stressful because they’re obligated to hang out with family members who cause them stress. If this sounds familiar, then be sure to book equal amounts of time with individuals who help you to feel the opposite of stressed. Have to do dinner with the in-laws who are regularly argumentative? Then book a breakfast date with a friend who will listen and laugh as you debrief about it all.
#7. Don’t be so hard on yourself
So what if the turkey burned or the place settings aren’t perfect or you didn’t have time to get all the gifts on your list? Your family and friends love you and the most important thing for them is to know that you’re happy. They do not want you to feel overwhelmed at their expense. Breathe deep. Think of the ones you love. Remember how lucky you are. Breathe some more. Relax.
#8. Book a stay with Mountain Trek
Our Winter Retreat program from Dec 27-Jan 3 exists to allow people a chance to escape their busy lives and stay in a beautiful mountain lodge with every amenity from hot tub to infrared sauna, and to enjoy having a professional chef do all the cooking. Imagine escaping everything this holiday and curling up beside a warm fire with a good book while the snow falls gently outside. Talk about stress relieving!
Captain Ainsworth’s Squash & Turkey Soup
This recipe will make between 7-8 cups of soup and will taste excellent after those fun, active days outdoors.
16 oz turkey breast – cubed
1 1/2 tbs oil
1 cup onions – diced
2 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper – seeded and minced
4 cups veggie or chicken stock
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cups butternut squash – cubed
1 cup yam – diced
2 1/2 cups kale or chard – finely chopped
1 cup coconut milk
In a heavy pan brown turkey in 1 tbs of oil. Deglaze pan with a little stock or wine and set aside. (Keep this liquid for soup.) Put the remaining oil into pan and sauté onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper. Add stock, allspice, squash, and yam and cook until tender. Puree until smooth. Add kale or chard, coconut and turkey and season with salt to taste. Simmer lightly.
Snow or Sand This Holiday Season?
Some of us look forward to the clean, crisp days of winter when we can play in the snow and then rest by a warm fire with our loved ones in the evenings. Others prefer to travel to warmer climes and soak in the daytime warmth while wearing shorts and T-shirts. There are benefits to each style of vacation that we’ll list here but keep in mind Mountain Trek offers both styles.
Our Winter Retreat from December 27-January 3 at the beautiful BC Lodge features fun snowshoe treks, delicious food cooked for you by our professional chefs, massages, sauna, steam room, and a hot tub in a winter wonderland. On the other hand, our Rancho La Puerta retreats from Feb 7-14 and 14-21, showcase the best of Baja, Mexico, with sandy trails winding through Eucalyptus and organic gardens in a warm, desert-like environment.
The Benefits of Snow (Winter Retreat)
- There’s nothing more beautiful than a pristine, white landscape.
- It’s easier and faster to get a great workout in the snow because there’s natural resistance when snowshoeing through it.
- People tend to congregate more when the weather is cooler – it’s human nature to want to be with friends and family this time of year.
- It’s invigorating stepping out into a cooler environment – it makes you feel alive!
- On sunny days it’s awe-inspiring seeing the light glint off icicles and snowflakes.
- It’s easier to spot wildlife when the trees are bare of their leaves.
- It’s a wonderful thing to spend time outdoors and then come in to a warm fire and a hot drink.
- One of life’s greatest pleasures is sitting in a hot tub feeling snow flakes fall on your face.
- In the case of Mountain Trek’s Winter Program, our professional cooks will do all the cooking for you, leaving you more time to lounge by the fire or in the spa.
- A cool day outdoors followed by a massage in a warm room = heaven.
The Benefits of Sand (Rancho La Puerta)
- It’s warm!
- Warmer temperatures make it easier to get outside.
- In the case of Rancho La Puerta, you’re guaranteed sunshine (there’s over 325 days of it per year).
- It’s easy to relax outdoors.
- Your body is more limber in a warm environment so workouts don’t require as long a warm-up.
- Enjoy gardens, landscaped grounds, flowing streams and miles of meadows.
- Vitamin D is easy to come by.
- You don’t have to wear a lot of clothing.
- You can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities from dance to tai chi to tennis.
- You can go swimming.