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8 Holiday Gifts That Will Actually Help Somebody Improve Their Life

Oh, the holidays. A time where many of us take time away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives to enjoy quality time with friends, family, and loved ones.

For the most part, the holiday season is a joyous time of year, but it can also be a stressful one as we struggle to pay for the many gifts we wish to give our loved ones. While there are many theories on how certain holidays became synonymous with gift giving, that's not my focus here.

Instead, I've put together a list of gifts that you can give this holiday season to ensure your hard earned money is well spent.

What better way to spend it than on something that has the potential to improve the recipient's life? No one likes to be told that you think they need to change, but we all love receiving gifts, so there is no harm is making that present something that may ultimately help them decide to make a positive shift in their life.

1. A Personal Development/ Self-Help Book

While the idea of giving a book as a gift is far from revolutionary, a specifically selected self-help book can do wonders in helping a reader's life. As someone who has been profoundly impacted by a number of personal development books, I know just how powerful they can be.

To avoid seeming like you have an ulterior motive behind the book you gift, I'd suggest giving one that you've already read. This gives you the right to not only share how much you loved it, but to also say that it impacted you and that you wanted to share it with them.

If you are looking to instigate a conscious shift, my personal suggestions are either The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle or the Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch. If you're looking to help them feel inspired and get their ass in gear, I recommend Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins.

2. An Online Course

The internet has never been more saturated in online courses. It doesn't matter if you are looking to improve your online dating skills or grow your Instagram following, there is an online course offered by someone who's mastered it.

While many of the virtual classrooms out there are questionable, there are also plenty that offer profound content at a surprisingly affordable price.

Unless you know a specific course the recipient would appreciate, give them a gift card to purchase the course of their choice for them. If they don't even know where to begin in the selection process, you can be a part of that decision making with them.

3. Cleanse

Whether it be our colons, kidneys, or livers, we all have something that could use a cleanse, and chances are we all know someone who can desperately use one as well. Once again, thanks to the internet, finding a reliable and healthy cleanse has never been easier.

What better gift to give than to buy a cleanse program for someone you love? To avoid it seeming like criticism, and to make it more of a team effort and bonding experience, do the cleanse with them.

One particular cleanse service that a number of my friends have used here in Toronto, Canada is run by Pulp Kitchen.

4. Planner/ Agenda

Traditional day planners are a dying breed, but thankfully, rather than being left by the wayside, they've just been replaced with supercharged organizers. If a friend or loved one in your life struggles with organization and/or motivation, then one of these beefed up planners may be exactly what they need.

Beyond day to day scheduling, most of these planners now include cool additional features such as brainstorm space and thought-provoking exercises. In 2017, I'll be going on my third year using a Passion Planner, but have also heard great things about Freedom Mastery Success Planners.

5. Yoga Membership/Package

While gifting a gym membership can easily be misconstrued as a hidden critique, yoga memberships tend to avoid this connotation. Yoga has undoubtedly anchored itself as a popular practice — in most cities you can't drive more than a few blocks without seeing a studio — but classes tend to be costly, making this a thoughtful and sure to be appreciated gesture.

The gift of a yoga membership, gift certificate, or package might just the perfect amount of encouragement your friend needs to try out what they might grow to love.

If you know the person you are hoping to give this to would never muster up the courage to go to an actual studio, you could alternatively buy them an instructional yoga video and offer to do it along with them. A personal favourite of mine is the work of Rodney Yee.

6. Guided Meditation Set

Perhaps because of yoga's recent rise in popularity, it seems that nearly everyone and their uncle is meditating these days, and for good reason.

Despite its popularity, there still remain many of us who flat out refuse to meditate. While some eggs will always remain too stubborn and hard to crack, a guided meditation set would be the perfect gift for those who either have always been curious or have tried but didn't have the experience they were expecting.

For most of us, meditations with some form of tutorial tend to be easier to not only follow along to, but also actually meditate with as well.

7. Cooking Class/Recipe Book

Have a friend that could really use a change in their diet? We all do. If they happen to be someone who wants to change but doesn't know how, then a cooking class could be exactly what they need.

Cooking classes are not only incredibly helpful around the kitchen, but they also tend to be a wonderful social experience that can infuse fun into food preparation. If you take the class together, it can strengthen your friendship, too.

If they happen to be someone who already knows their way around a kitchen but could use some healthier options, a recipe book is the way to go. One that I would personally recommend is The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook; it not only accounts for nearly all dietary lifestyles, but it is also focuses on making the most out of every ingredient (and stretching your dollars in the process).

8. Recreational Sports League

If one of the people on your gift list could use a dash of physical activity in their life, what better way to encourage them than to sign up for a local recreational sports team with them? You'd be amazed by how many fun, rather than overly competitive, rec leagues there are in your local community.

I personally play in an ultimate frisbee league with a number of my friends that I absolutely love, and am considering signing up for a basketball league in the new year.

Just like the cooking class, this gift tends to come with a positive social experience, giving your recipient the possibility to also make a number of new friends. Of course, only gift this particular item if you know the recipient enjoys playing sports but has simply not made the time to enrol in one.

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