Giving gifts is a tradition for many holidays. Since ancient times, it seems that people the world over have celebrated holidays and festivals for one reason or another. When most of the population revolved around agriculture, the changing seasons had great impact on those working the land. The shorter days and longer nights were of great concern, and the earliest festivals took place when the seasons turned.
In different parts of the world, throughout many cultures, the passing of time was honored with ceremony and ritual. In Europe the people’s affinity with the land was celebrated in midwinter with many customs, which are still in practice today. The use of evergreens, holly, ivy, and mistletoe for decoration represented the continuance of life through the winter. In one ancient celebration, the Yule Log, a particular type of wood – usually oak – was brought indoors and lit with ceremony and song.
It was during the merriment of this celebration- food, song, the warmth of the fire symbolizing the return of the sun – that the custom of gift giving is said to have become established.
No matter your holiday, you will always have the same challenges:
- What do you buy?
- Do they already have it?
- Will they like it?
- Do they need it?
Chances are, everyone likes food and even if they already have it, they will always need it!! Now for the special part – why not really care and give the gift of health by making someone a special healthful treat?!
Some suggestions include:
Meal of the Month: Give an elderly shut-in or working mom a year’s subscription to your very own bread-, soup- or dinner-of-the-month club. Give a few days’ notice each month before delivering your gift.
Herb Mix: The American Heart Association has a recipe for a salt-free all-purpose herb mix. Mix the following well and put in spice jars for giving: ½ teaspoon ground red pepper, 1 tablespoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon each of the following herbs: basil, black pepper, mace, onion powder, parsley, savory, sage and thyme.
Salad Kit: Purchase a large salad bowl and fill it with vinegar, dried herbs, tongs, paring knife, etc. All fun things to use for salad!!
Tea: Make an attractive basket or mug filled with assorted flavors of tea.