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Send someone to the spa. A good massage can ease muscle tension and soothe the soul.
updated 12/5/2005 11:05:59 AM ET 2005-12-05T16:05:59

In the season of sinful indulgence, why not give your friends and family members a present that's good for their health? Consider some of these holiday gift ideas:

An abundance of antioxidants
Enough with the fattening fruitcakes. How about giving a membership to a fruit-of-the-month club? You can even go organic if you like. offers an Organic Fruit Club. Gift-givers can choose from a one-month subscription ($32.95) to one that lasts all year long ($329.95).

Harry & David sells a three-month membership to its Organic Options Club ($89.95). Other nutritious options include a Veggie Club Gift, Tropical Club and a Rare Winter Fruit Club.
An organic food basket from

If a year-long subscription is too costly, consider an organic food basket or even make one yourself.

Simply pick out some seasonal fruits or vegetables and put them in a decorated basket. Any friend or family member is sure to appreciate some nutritious relief from the typical holiday fare. — Susan Lim

A box of old-school fun
We all know that childhood obesity is at an all-time high and public-health officials have sounded the alarm that children need to get away from the television and computer — and move. Trouble is, many kids now are lost if you take away their screens. But not if you supply them with a big box of sports and game equipment.
The Official Brooklyn Stickball Set
Yes, this is your chance to introduce them to what you used to do in the prehistoric pre-PlayStation times. Did you like badminton? Or Frisbee, croquet, kickball, bocce, dodgeball, horseshoes, volleyball, whiffleball or stickball? You get the idea.

Think of the games you used to enjoy as a kid and give your children or grandchildren the loot to follow in your footsteps. Not just the balls, mallets and discs, though. Give them the information too. Write out cards explaining how to play the game and a little history of your experience playing as a kid. This is a bonding experience as well as a gift. You can also include indoor games such as jacks, marbles, darts and cards. They don’t provide as much physical activity, but they’re better than watching the tube when it’s cold or raining.

Best of all, sports goods and games are often far cheaper than electronics. Most items can be purchased for a couple of bucks up to $40 at sporting goods stores or department/discounts stores. The Official Brooklyn Stickball Set ($24) and The Shooting Marbles Set ($12) are available at — Victoria Clayton

Seeing the burn
Calories in vs. calories burned. That’s the simple reality about weight loss. There are plenty of pedometers and workout machines that monitor activity, but results typically give only rough estimates of progress.

For the fitness-conscious geeks in your life, the new "bodybugg" is an addictive device that tracks exactly how many calories are burned through the day. Developed by the Apex Fitness Group and BodyMedia, the iPod-sized device is part of a system that can show how close someone is to reaching their daily calorie limit. Seeing how many — or how few — calories are burned can be plenty of motivation to get the laziest slacker off the couch.

Strap it to the upper arm where sensors track motion, temperature and other skin responses, along with every step taken daily (10,000 are recommended). The system requires installing software on a PC and registering the bodybugg. Subscribers fill out a confidential, personal health questionnaire, including age, weight, height, food preferences and medical history.

The bodybugg is meant to be worn continuously to give the most accurate readings. Data are downloaded to the computer regularly.

It’s available only online at and through licensed gyms, and costs about $300 to $500 for the sensor, four sessions with a trainer and a three-month subscription to the Web service.    — Jane Weaver

Pamper them
With all the family get-togethers and intense shopping trips, the holiday season can be stressful for any person. Relieve tensions with a gift certificate for a good massage.

There's a wide variety to choose from, ranging from the traditional to the unusual. Cornelia Day Resort in New York City, for instance, offers a unique Thai massage that combines gentle rocking, reflexology, acupressure and stretching. Unlike other massages, customers are fully clothed and lie on a floor mat.

Prices vary by spa and provider, but one-hour massage sessions generally start around $65. — S.L.

Little yoginis
If yoga seems like a very quiet and very adult pursuit, you haven’t checked out the classes modified for children and teens that are cropping up at studios nationwide.

Living Arts
Gaiam Kids: Yogakids Fun Collection
Kiddie yoga classes are usually 45 minutes to an hour long and broken down for specific age groups. They generally include exercises, meditation, games and stories to help introduce the ancient practice to youngsters.

Tots have fun while learning breathing exercises, stretches and relaxation techniques. Yoga poses also foster a mind-body connection, coordination and concentration. Gift certificates can be purchased for single classes or series (a single class is typically from $15 up).

If there’s no studio in your neighborhood offering kiddie classes, consider DVDs and books such as "Gaiam Kids: Yogakids Fun Collection" ($18) and "Fly Like a Butterfly: Yoga for Children by Shakta Kaur Khalsa" ($15). — V.C.

A helping hand
Maybe the best gift you could give some of the people on your shopping list is your time.

Have an elderly relative who could use a lift to doctor appointments rather than taking the bus? Or one who lives alone and would love to meet up once a month at a local coffee shop for some socializing?

Maybe you have a neighbor who needs help picking up prescriptions or groceries, or could really use a nutritious home-cooked meal delivered every now and then.

Have a friend who bemoans the lack of time or motivation to exercise? Pledge to be that person's workout buddy.

Offering your time and companionship doesn't have to cost a lot of money. But it could be priceless to the recipient, and your spirits will surely get a boost too.

There's also no wrapping involved; just make note of your gift on a nice holiday card. — Jacqueline Stenson

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