Friday, December 11, 2009

Om Gal Holiday Wish List

Ahhh, the holidays. Indulgence. Materialism. And, copious amounts of sugar. What could be better?

How about writing a self-indulgent blog post about the material possessions I covet most this holiday season while stuffing my face with red and green M&Ms?

I'm kidding, of course. (Truth be told, I have an irrational fear of red M&Ms. I don't mind green ones, but the reds seem unnatural to me. Do I realize that this is a thoroughly ridiculous assessment? Yes. Yes, I do).

Back to the indulgence and materialism part . . . While the following Om Gal Wish List does contain some items I might not mind seeing under the family tree this year (ahem, Om Bro), I've compiled this collection of gift ideas with the finest yogi readers in the blogosphere in mind (that's you). My intention is that this list inspires a few holiday shopping solutions for all the om guys and gals out there who are looking to spread some holiday cheer-- of the smart, soulful, and stylish variety. The selections below range in price, whimsy, wearability, and overall wellness-inducing affect, so there's something here for everyone. Enjoy!

Under $5

Give the gift of Ganesh . . . or Lakshmi . . . or Saraswati . . . I love giving tiny trinkets of inspiration to my om pals. To learn more about the symbolic meaning of the gods and goddesses often depicted in yoga iconography, click here. The above mentioned deities summon protection, prosperity, and creativity, respectively. Colorful stickers or mini statuettes make perfect mementos for friends and are modestly priced. Boston boasts several small boutiques with vast collections of these items. A few worth noting include Tibet Arts, Utso, and Prem La. (Photo: A colorful sticker depicting Saraswati; goddess of creativity, learning, and literature; watches over my laptop as I write).

Confession? I'm a cheap date. A $5 gift card to Starbucks buys me two mornings worth of happiness. And, by "happiness," I mean a venti Awake tea topped with steamed soy milk. For this, you've bought my love. Yet, somehow, I don't think I'm alone in this.

Before the days of iTunes, my version of downloading music was laying on my bedroom floor, listening to the radio, and waiting for the DJ to play my favorite song, at which point I would frantically hit "Record" on my tape deck. (It's sad- but true). Today, even with so much music at my fingertips, I still relish homemade compilations. My friend, Chanel of YogaThree, makes killer play lists, and, in general, I think sharing music is a treasured gift. Try it! Your friends will appreciate your creativity, thoughtfulness, and mad DJ skills.

Under $10
Pucker up, people! Smith's Rosebud Minted Lip Balm becomes a handbag, gym bag, puffy coat pocket, makeup kit staple. Simple. As. That. (Available at Sephora, $7).
The Baby Rib One-Shoulder Shirt caught my eye at American Apparel because it's fashionable, wallet-friendly, and fun. Maybe lacking one shoulder drops the price? Whatever the reason, your fashionista pals will love it, and your bank account won't need a bailout at a mere $9.

Speaking of bank accounts, the Buddha Buddha Peace Bank (Urban Outfitters) is the perfect gift for friends or family members whose "money corner" could use an infusion of creativity, abundance, and color.

Under $25
This newfangled interpretation of the Lego block is uber practical and hip-looking too. No batteries necessary, the Retro Block iPod Speaker transforms your iPod into a stereo. Perfect for travel and downright genius, actually.

Nothing lifts a mood faster than the whiff of a lovely fragrance. Go the aromatherapy route with essential oils from Whole Foods (e.g. peppermint for energy, lavender for relaxation), or treat friends with swish taste to a portable dose of designer perfume. My latest fav: Stella McCartney Eau de Parfum Roll On, for a sensible $17.

For both male and female fitness buffs, Laird Hamilton's book Force of Nature is a great resource. There's plenty to admire and emulate about the giant wave surfer's approach to life, health, and chiseled muscles. Ladies, did I mention there are pictures?

Under $50
Allegedly, these compression sleeves for arms or legs by Zensah, worn by the likes of NBA stars Ray Allen, Dwight Howard and others, help circulation, aid muscle recovery, and regulate body temperature- which is all fine and good- but let's face it, recipients will love them because the look pretty badass.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know my team, the New England Patriots, is struggling this season, but I still intend to rock a retro NFL beanie on the slopes this winter. Bunny slopes . . . but, still.

Yogis like being barefoot, and so do more and more runners (as evidenced by the barefoot running craze of late). Why not give the gift of going barefoot or, at least, feeling flip flop clad all year-long? The Vagabond Chill Shoe by Sanuk is a fuzzy, comfy, stylish slip-on with a sole that mimics that of a flip flop. Your om guy will love these. For gals, check out the Dreamcatcher Boot. I have a pair, and they look great with everything from tights to leggings to jeans. Plus, they feel dreamy.

Under $100
Remember the copious amounts of sugar, characteristic of the holidays, that I mentioned earlier? This influx of sweets takes a nasty toll on our bodies. Pair this with too many trips to crowded malls, too many cocktails at your holiday work party, and too many tiresome family gathering conversations about why you're not [insert appropriate response: employed, married, pregnant, divorced] ________ yet, and you have a recipe for feeling waaaay out of balance. Nip this energetic, physical, and psychological heaviness by giving the gift of Balance and Vitality. Yup, they come in a box now, thanks to the newly launched, "yogi-built," high-end nutritional supplement creator YogaEarth. (Disclosure: I'm on the company's "yogi board"). Designed to improve health and enhance performance on and off the yoga mat, a month's supply of either of these elixirs is the remedy for holiday stress and excess.

Maybe people have an emotional attachment to ratty college T-shirts with pit stains and faded colors. Perhaps they believe they must tolerate chafing from their running gear. There's a chance they don't know they need not look like a slob while sweating like a pig at the gym. Enter lululemon's Run Swiftly Tech shirt. Made for both men and women, this piece of gear is every crummy T-shirt's worst nightmare. (Your days are numbered, tattered tee!). The Run Swiftly wicks sweat, washes like a champ, and feels light and lovely in heat and cold. It even looks flattering. So flattering, in fact, that after wearing one in a recent video post (above), snarky NYC Gal remarked, "Dude, when did you get boobs?" (Such restraint, she has). "That's impossible," I explained, "Must be the shirt."

Under $150
Atop an om gal's list? A gift from down under. Yoga lifestyle brand Abi & Joseph, headquartered in Australia, is now available in the States. With luxe fabrics and elegant designs, you'll be tempted to wear these glamorous pieces of gear before and after class more than during it, like this beautiful Ballet Wrap Top. Hells-to-the-no would I wear this to a sweaty yoga session, but you can bet I'd wear it everywhere else. (Special treat: use promotional code OMGAL at checkout for a discount).

It's very simple: Buy someone a gift certificate for bodywork, such as a massage, Reiki, or acupuncture, and they will love you forever . . . or, at least, until New Year's.

Unlimited yoga, a personal training session with your local version of Jillian Michaels, or several classes at a swank Pilates studio would make any yogi swoon. Know your audience though, and notice I said "yogi." Don't go giving fitness-related gifts to someone who might take offense. Capiche? Moreover, be sure to do your research on which studio or health club is the gift recipient's favorite.

Not in the spirit of giving material goods this season? Donate to a favorite charitable cause on behalf of someone else. Here are a few organizations of which I am a fan. Perhaps their missions will interest you too:

Please feel free to add your own favorite nonprofit organizations and/or gift suggestions for the holidays by posting a comment. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, many blessings to you!


Elaine said...

Being a diabetic, I usually have to avoid a lot of the holiday treats this time a year. After doing some Internet research I found a nutritionist by the name of Rose Cole who has great SUGAR-FREE Recipes that are soooooo delicious. Now I can prep my own goodies and bring them along to dinner parties and know that I can dig in with everyone else! Her site is

Jenn said...

Om Gal! I do the same thing with M&Ms. Except I think the red, orange and especially yellow ones are safe. I will not touch the green or blue. No way!
This is almost as funny as the last time I saw my dental hygienist. I told her when I have a headache, often times if I just floss my teeth, my headache goes away. She's a very cute Hungarian woman, and she admitted she does the same, but never told anyone because she thought it was too weird! (Reminded of Lululemon's bag with all the suggestions on how to live ... among them, a simple: Floss.")

One other idea for a present is a gift certificate to Whole Foods, or better yet, Harvest Co-op in Cambridge or JP. I know for sure the JP Harvest has Sundrops in bulk. In case you're not familiar, Sundrops are the natural version of M&Ms; their colors are made from vegetable juices. The peanut ones are powerful. I ate probably a 1/2 lb last weekend in one sitting. I realize grocery store gift certificates are a bit practical, but... my friend gave me one to Whole Foods last year for my bday, and I loved it! I bought mascara that I had been holding out on, so it felt like a treat.

Happy Holidays to you too!

Jen said...

This might be one of the most inspirational gift lists I've seen this season! Thanks Rebecca, and happy holidays!

~ Jen

Diane said...

Ooooohhh, what great ideas! And I love that you organized them by price. Thank you so much for these awesome suggestions!