Gifts that are not sweets (but are still very sweet!)

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When my sister and I were young, we used to exchange money for Christmas. I would give her $5, and she would give me $5 right back. When we hit high school, we transitioned over to buying each other the same clothes (in different colors of course). As adults we now send each other gift cards to each other’s favorite restaurants. How’s that for some originality? As boring as this might be, our predictable gifting tradition ensures that we will give and receive something we actually want.

Something I don’t want to give or receive during the holiday season? Sweets. I know that homemade treats are very thoughtful gifts that take time and effort to make, but you will not receive them from me! Call me a Grinch, but there are enough opportunities during the festive season to eat candy, cakes, and pies to last a lifetime, and I don’t need to add to the excess. It’s hard enough as it is to stick to my own healthy eating plan from November through the end of the year – I don’t want to be responsible for derailing someone else’s diet too.

So what gifts can you give to your friends and family that aren’t candy or sweets? So glad you asked! If you still absolutely must give food in
some form, how about:

  • Restaurant gift cards – Find out your friend’s favorite place to dine and treat them to an evening out.
  • Cooking classes for two – They can invite a friend or partner to share the experience.
  • Infused olive oil – This is super easy to make at home.
  • Artisan popcorn or other savory treats. Make them healthier by making them yourself.
  • Grocery store gift cards – Places like Whole Foods and local co-ops can be expensive, and shopping there might be a real treat for a friend.

There are plenty of gifts you can give that have nothing to do with food. Perhaps your friend or family member is a fitness fanatic. I’m sure they would enjoy receiving:

  • Yoga, swimming, Pilates, or other fitness class passes
  • A round of golf on a nice course
  • Gear for their respective sport – bike lights, running socks (you can never have enough), hiking shirts, cold weather gear, etc.
  • A season pass for skiing or snowboarding

Maybe your friend has another hobby to which they dedicate much of their time. Consider one of the following:

  • Crafting supplies for your friends that knit, garden, sew, paint, etc.
  • Tickets to a concert, play, sporting event, or the movies
  • Books or music
  • Annual pass to their favorite museum or nearby national park
  • A gift for their pet

I’m sure we all have that token friend that needs to relax more. They might enjoy:

  • Candles, scented bath soaps and lotions
  • Book a massage or acupuncture session
  • Nice plants for their house
  • Clean their house or run errands for them for half a day

Once you start to think outside the box, you begin to realize the options are endless. Last year my favorite gift was a wall calendar from a good friend. Each month contained a collage of pictures from the same month of the previous year. It was thoughtful, personal, useful, and it contained not one single sugary calorie.


You might also like:

Non-Food Reward Ideas

5 Ways to Incorporate Exercise into Your Shopping

My Strength Training Success Story

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9 thoughts on “Gifts that are not sweets (but are still very sweet!)

  1. Volunteer to take your neighbor’s pets for walks. I like to shovel snow – I just keep going and do the neighbors sidewalks and sometimes even their driveways.

    1. Love these ideas, Laurie! That way, you are helping your neighbors while also getting in a little more physical activity, a win-win! I can imagine looking out my window and seeing our driveway or sidewalk already cleared for us – what a gift! 🙂

  2. We give our neighbors/friends a small gift like lotion, hand sanitizer, or hand soap…keep the germs away 🙂 This year our tag read: Just “soap’n you have a Merry Christmas!

    1. LOVE that idea, Holly! A helpful and clever gift- we will have to use that one in the future. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  3. This year my girlfriends decided on doing something different. We bought Christmas Socks stuffed them with healthy treats and then we exchanged them. We read the Nite Before Christmas and every time the word “the” was said we passed our socks. At the end of the story we opened out socks. We not only got something warm for our feet but a healthy treat.

    1. What a fantastic idea!!! I love this, we might have to borrow the idea ourselves 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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