NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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Gifts That Promote Health and Safety

Christmas gift ideas, gifts that promote health and safety

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Community Wellness

Some people have a knack for gifting thoughtful items without fail, while others are stumped year after year when it comes to finding something to give to a loved one who is notoriously difficult to buy for. Gifts are a generous tradition that bring many people joy and, at times, a bit of stress.

So, as you make final gift selections, consider some possibilities for health and safety-promoting gifts that won’t break your budget.

  • Food thermometer: These internal temperature measuring devices are easy to use and don’t take up a lot of drawer space. Only 5 percent of cooks regularly use a thermometer, although many people use their thermometer during holiday dinners. However, food safety experts encourage the everyday use of thermometers because color is not an accurate indicator of doneness.
  • Pedometer: These step-counting devices are powerful motivators as people set goals to increase their physical activity. According to a recent Stanford University study, participants who set a goal walked 2,000 steps (one mile) more than before they set a goal.
  • For the music lover on your list, buy them a gift card for “tunes” to download and listen to while he or she walks.
  • Healthy meal/snack kit or a “meal I.O.U:” Try creating your own healthy snack/meal baskets. For example, tuck a jar of chunky salsa, baked chips, bottled 100 percent juice and some disposable cups and napkins in a reusable plastic bowl or basket. How about a soup, bread and fruit basket?
  • Another option, treat your friends to the promise of a home-cooked, healthy meal on a mutually agreeable date. For recipe/menu ideas and a free cookbook to download, visit http://www.ndsu.edu/eatsmart (click on For Parents/Caregivers). Also, consider printing the cookbook and putting it in a binder for a quick gift.
  • Winter weather can be unpredictable and can result in emergency situations. Assemble an emergency kit for travelers. Be sure that winter survival kits include a windshield scraper; battery-powered radio; batteries; flashlight; snack foods, such as nuts, dried fruit, jerky and trail mix; water-proof matches; and a can to melt snow for water. For a complete list of supplies and a guide to preparing for winter disasters, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/guide.asp.
  • Give the gift of time, such as free baby-sitting for busy parents, shoveling snow or help with household tasks.
  • For older family members, the best gift is the gift of listening. It is especially important for them to have the opportunity to reminisce about earlier memories of holidays or family times that brought them joy and contentment.
  • Families should focus on the “gift” of family time. Sharing time together in a positive way may require some effort and creativity, but the reward is worth it. The holidays are a special time for us to come together as families to re-connect, enjoy each other’s company and reflect on many good memories of the past.

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist

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