Start shopping now to keep the holidays low key and fun. Let our editors show you our favorite gifts (most are less than $50!).
Delicious and Nutritious Treats
• Whole Grain Marshmallow Crispy Bars
"These bars are simple to make, taste great, and pack easily. Wrap them up and put in a stocking, or set them out for Santa. I don't think he'll miss the cookies."
--Norman King, Test Kitchens Professional
• A share of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), www.localharvest.org
"As a foodie I think this is just about the coolest gift I could ever receive."
--Scott Jones, Food Executive Editor
Healthy Benefit: Be sure to eat those fruits and veggies! Adding 2 grams of the plant compounds sterol or stanol to your daily diet may reduce your risk of heart disease by 20 percent
Healthy Way to Celebrate
• Category 5 (red), RayLen Winery, www.raylenvineyards.com
• Grand Cuvée Blanc de Blanc (Champagne), Beachaven Vineyards & Winery, www.beachavenwinery.com
• Viognier (white), Chester Gap Cellars, www.chestergapcellars.com "Wine is a great gift. It's full of antioxidants, so in moderation it's a healthy way to enjoy a drink during the holidays."
Healthy Benefit: Many medical studies indicate that drinking red wine in moderation may lower bad cholesterol levels, inhibit blood clots, and ward off Alzheimer's disease.
For the Home
• Handcrafted ceramic mugs by Rob and Beth Mangum in North Carolina, www.mangumpottery.com
"I always buy gifts from local artists while traveling. They have more meaning when I can tell the artists' stories or describe the studios where the pieces are made."
--Tanner C. Latham, Associate Travel Editor
• Aluminum hand-crafted ornaments, www.gardendeva.com
"The Garden Deva Sculpture Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a great little place. It has unique pieces made from recycled steel."
--Tanner C. Latham
• Flora candle by Hillhouse Naturals Farm, Ltd. in Kentucky, www.hillhousestore.com
"Candles are long lasting, beautiful, and invite contemplation--all important qualities when giving someone something special."
--Julia Hamilton, Home Senior Writer
Healthy Benefits: Burning candles made of soy wax rather than paraffin may eliminate the release of carcinogenic toxins into the air.
A Better Way To Wake Up
• Sweet Cranberry green tea and Charming Spice organic black tea, www.teaagora.com
"I enjoy giving gifts that promote warmth on cold winter days. Teas are healthier than coffee but still give you a little boost."
--Allison Barnes, Assistant Features Editor
Healthy Benefit: Research suggests that drinking teas such as black, green, or white throughout the day may fight off cell-damaging free radicals that cause many forms of cancer such as gastric, esophageal, skin, and ovarian.
• Pruners by Felco, www.felcostore.com
"I love Felco pruners! Even if the gardener on your list has a pair, he or she will gladly welcome a second. The model 6, designed for smaller hands, is a good choice for women."
--Rebecca Bull Reed, Associate Garden Editor
• Gardeners Hand Therapy Cream by Crabtree & Evelyn, www.crabtree-evelyn.com
"I like to apply this before putting on my gloves."
Healthy Benefit: Gardening is more than a fun way to exercise--it's nutritious too! Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D that promotes healthy bones and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
For the Birds
• Cole's wild birdseed, www.coleswildbird.com
"This is quality birdseed, and Cole's offers a wide range of seeds to attract birds from various regions."
--Rebecca Bull Reed
Tools To Keep You Moving
• Polar Insulated Bottle, www.rei.com
"My spinning instructor swears by her insulated water bottle because it keeps the water so cool."
--Sara Askew Jones, Healthy Living Editor
• Asics Hera Low Cut, www.zappos.com
"Specialized socks that hug your feet, add cushion, and wick away moisture are the perfect stocking stuffer for an active person."
--Bridget Sellers, Health and Beauty expert
Keep the Beat
• Polar heart rate monitors, www.shoppolar.com
"Those who exercise regularly should monitor their heart rate to learn their heart's optimal aerobic zone and ensure an overall safe and effective workout."
--Sara Askew Jones
Healthy Benefit: Exercising on ellipticals and stationary bikes helps decrease the likelihood of joint injury through circular motion that lessens impact on the body.
Great Gifts for Book Lovers
• The Seasons of Cumberland Island by Fred Whitehead, www.amazon.com
• Inspiration Texas Style, by Wyman Meinzer, www.wymanmeinzer.com
"I love coffee table books from local photographers on the rise who are being printed by smaller printers such as Badlands Blue Star Publishing in Texas."
--Mark Sandlin, Director of Photography
• Personalized bookplates, www.felixdoolittle.com
"You can make a book even more special by customizing it with a nameplate."
--Amy Bickers Mercer, Associate Home Editor
• New, used, and rare books, www.powells.com
"With crusty pages and worn bindings, books from antiques stores can be a cool find. I recently bought a friend a set of used food encyclopedias."
--Amy Bickers Mercer
Take Time To Treat Yourself
• Pacifica Solid Perfumes, www.pacificacandles.com
"These organic scents have no synthetic fragrance and are perfect if you can't handle strong perfumes."
Healthy Benefit: Perfume is a common allergen in personal care products. If you have allergies, test products that use natural or synthetic fragrance before applying heavily.
• Vintage clutch and jewelry, www.somelikeitvintage.com
"I'm a fan of vintage accessories because they never go out of style and are more interesting for having been recycled."
--Sissy Lamerton, stylist
Love Your Lips
• Ballmania Lip Balm SPF 20, www.ballmania.com
"These fun balls are filled with sun protection to keep lips young looking and moist."
• Cargo PlantLove Botanical Lipstick, www.sephora.com
"I love this lipstick--$2 per tube goes to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It has no petroleum derivatives, and the packaging is made of paper embedded with wildflower seeds. You can actually plant the box!"