Holiday Gift Guide 2021 from Athletic-Minded Traveler
What is your idea of "luxury?" Our team has some ideas. How about a sparsely populated beach with warm waters, fabulously healthy food nearby, and a massage whenever you want? Yes, please! Or what about unlimited funds on the debit card for food, dates, new outfits and more? Or maybe just having time to do all the things "wanted" versus "supposed to" or "need to". For many, just feeling truly connected hits the sweet spot in so many ways. Tell us!
We are grateful for our health more than ever, and equally thankful for all the super helpers among us who have kept us moving forward. Teachers, doctors, bus drivers, scientists, delivery folks, healthcare workers and even some politicians ;). We are fortunate and we know it. While we hear from our tribe that spreading the vibe of love and gratitude is more of a priority this year than any "gift", we have some ideas for those gifts, just in case.
Let your kindness shine. Connect with strangers. Open up a little. And let one of our gifts call out to you to make someone's day better. Thank you for reading and keep traveling healthily!
For someone you want to indulge. Some luxury is welcome this year. We love the combo of an enticing scent and gorgeous “vessel” of any of the candles in the Absolute Collection. Your recipient will be in awe and maybe inspired too! There are six scents, and the one below is the Rose de Mai, described as having the “full intensity of a voluptuous bouquet of roses intertwined with delicate hints of honey nectar and spicy geranium”. YES, please! And about that vessel! It’s hand blown glass that can be reused later. And we absolutely will! Yes, for our frugal team, $95 is a splurge. But we think this luxury is worth it!
For the budding artist/creative/do-it-yourselfer. We're channeling florals again. Anyone can enjoy creating, especially when there's expert guidance and the end result can decorate a wall or favorite shelf. The Darling Dahlia Kit by Pink Picasso will knock you out with its vibrant colors. If this doesn't float your flower boat, there are other "paint by number" options from this business. Each kit includes printed 16x 20 canvas, a 4 brush set, and pots of acrylic paint. The project will take up to 12 hours and at the end someone has instant decor. College dorm room or the living room will be brightened. Or maybe you'll gift a kit or your work to a bestie or neighbor. Pink Picasso $42/kit.
For the talker/listener/gamer/connector. There is one thing that REALLY made a difference to us during lockdown. Connecting. Our Managing Editor WAS a talk-on-the-phone hater. She ignored calls, avoided conference calls, and then limited any call that she did take. Why talk when you can text, email or even meet? So what were we to think when we saw her heading out daily for a "phone date" with family, friends and colleagues, or to listen to a podcast? Who is this person? Well it was tech that converted her, and specifically it was the Bose Soundwear Wearable Speaker. However, securing a new one in a box can be pricey $200-$350. That's where the Monster version comes into play. The Monster Boomerang Neckband gets very good reviews, and we have one on order for a lucky recipient. The price is better too, at about $80-90!
For the "make it easy on me" cook/chef/foodie. One word. OMSOM. The packaging is genius. Each sauce packet comes with its own recipe card, and the company's website offers additional ideas and recipes. Omsom makes Asian cooking fun, easy and tasty. We purchased the sampler pack during lockdown and all but one sauce was a hit among the Athletic-Minded Traveler tasters. Our likely favorite was the Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ. So easy. Just add protein and veggies! There are a number of options for purchase, but we suggest going for it all and selecting the Try 'Em All Set. $70. Because we love the ease of starter packets and simmer sauces, another option for those favoring Mexican flavors are the one pot sauces and simmer sauces from Salsaology. We approve!!
For the major do-it-yourselfer or "first timer". And we mean someone who really likes to "do". We love the idea of the Geekey and its small size. It easily fits into a cycling bag, backpack, or even on a key ring. The image suggests that this mini multi-tool can be used for A LOT. BUT BUT BUT, will your recipient really use it that much? That's the question we suggest you answer before hitting "add to cart." We purchased one, and our recipient said, it's "nice, but I don't want it on my key ring and I wouldn't use it that much..." So why do we still give it press? Well, we think it's super cool and there are plenty of buyers who LOVE the idea of not having to go in search of a bigger tool to get a job done! We have various screwdrivers in various places...right? We also like the Geekey for the college student, teen or any other kid who likes to "do." BUT how to explain the smoking pipe... $23 on Amazon.
For the kitchen RULER. So easy. So smart. Offices and homes alike should a) get/have one, and b) designate someone each week to clean it. This is a true microwave splatter solution. Yes, plenty of options out there, but because this one can STAY in the microwave, there are NO excuses to not cover your dish. We love our Tovolo. It is vented, collapsible, dishwasher-safe, BPA-Free 10.5" and CHEAP! Collapsible means there are two heights, if you don't need it, just put your mug or bowl on top of it. We use it. It works. Microwaves everywhere need this! $12
For the household. No more burnt fingers or sticking metal objects into an appliance. Toast Tongs ensure you can get your bread, bagel or whatever else you may put into a toaster out when the springs just don't spring enough. There are a variety of these tools on the market, and we like that each of our selections has a small magnet so you can affix it your fridge or another "magnetic strip"...like on the inside door of a kitchen cabinet. Both models look very nice, but we give the style nod to the ones from Williams Sonoma (right image) over the Mr. Art Wood version from Amazon. ($8-$10)
For every female athlete. The butt sweats. And we all know that medical types recommend wearing an undergarment during physical exercise. So what if we told you there were underwear that really, truly, do feel like you are wearing NOTHING. That is the deal with the Barely There Briefs from Sweaty Betty. Our Managing Editor swears by them and wears these knickers during her hot, sweaty, yoga practice. Until she found these, she went commando. $20. And bonus, there's a lot to like from Sweaty Betty...peruse!
For the grade schoolers. Give the gift of knowledge, a story, and perspective. Yeah, yeah, you're thinking, another book! Seriously, these two are so worthy. We were exposed to them via a "parent book club" designed to showcase stories that can be a "window" into another culture. Mission accomplished. We've read over a half dozen and these two stand out for different reasons. "Inside Out & Back Again" is one of the most beautifully written works we've encountered. The author, Thanhha Lai, brings you along on a young girl's refugee experience. Just look at all the praise and awards! "Indian No More" is more straightforward in the writing style, but opens a door into events and history that will likely surprise. The book deals adroitly with a family's struggle to maintain its identity in a quickly changing world. It's a family story. Prices vary.
So what do you think? Any winners on the list? If you have a true winner, leave a comment! And feel free to tell us what your idea of luxury is!