27 Gifts (For Under $50) that promote Healthy Living, Creative Productivity, and Purposeful Growth

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With Hannukkah beginning this evening, and Christmas less than two weeks away, you might have some last minute gifting to do. As you choose gifts, why not promote healthy living, creative productivity, and purposeful growth?

Many of us are weighed down by clutter. Intentionally pursuing a happier life for one year, Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, spent the first month de-cluttering her living space. Following this example, instead of buying more stuff, why not offer gifts that allow for an opportunity to grow, live healthfully, be creative, and get more connected to the community?

This post is full of gift ideas, divided into three categories: experiences, books, and tools. Experiences give us invaluable learning experience. Books provide strategies, tools, and resources. Intentional tools facilitate actions. Overall, the theme for these gifts is community connectedness. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Purposeful Growth

Experiences for Purposeful Growth:

Propose a Volunteer “Playdate”

Take a look at volunteer options in your community, and pick one that your friend would enjoy. You can research potential volunteer opportunities using websites like Volunteer Match, Idealist, or MLK Day.

Gardening Kit

Give the gift of growth, literally! Put together a package of organic seeds and tools that your friend or family member might use in the garden.

Donate to a local nonprofit, in your gift recipient’s name. You can buy livestock (like chicks) for a family in need through the Heifer Project. Many organizations do similar promotions.

Books for Purposeful Growth:

The Artist’s Way

The strategies in this book can change the way you view your own creativity, and also provides ideas for lifelong habits that promote self-reflection.

The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin presents a year of pursuing happiness. Each month, she presents a new strategy to lead a happier life.


Arianna Huffington shows a great perspective on how to re-define success.

Tools for Purposeful Growth:


A beautiful journal and pen gives your gift recipient the tools for self-reflection.


This might take effort on your part, but putting together a scrapbook gives your gift recipient a personal and reflective way to look at the past!

Support local artisans and small businesses

Etsy is a great website to promote local artists and for unique gifts. Here are some of my friends on the site: eco-friendly soaps from Handmade For, cards and crafts from Tweet and Hoot Paper, and handbags from Wisdom and Labels.

Healthy Living

Experiences for Healthy Living:

Monthly gym membership

Membership to a local gym can be a great way to help your gift recipient get acquainted with new ways of physical activity. During the holiday season, a lot of gyms waive initiation fees. Be sure to ask about these specials when shopping around.

Exercise classes

If a gym membership isn’t possible, see whether local gyms or yoga studios offer “a la carte” classes. My local yoga studio offers a drop-in class for $15.

Healthy Cooking Lessons

Many adult learning centers offer a variety of interesting classes. Check out your local university or community center for more information.

Books for Healthy Living:

YOU: The Owner’s Manual

Citing scientific studies, this book is a great reference for a variety of health topics. It’s user friendly, and chooses language that is relatable (and readable) for most adult audiences.

The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises, or The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises

Not only are these books choc full of individual exercises, but they also include 4-week, 6-week and 8-week plans that give you a full body workout.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

If you are curious about or need an introduction to sustainable eating, this book is a great guide for beginners. It’s written by a journalist (not a nutrition scientist), and therefore is quite readable.

Tools for Healthy Living:

Blackout Window Curtains

If you live in a city environment, streetlamps can be a distraction in the middle of the night. By making your bedroom darker, blackout curtains can create a more restful sleeping environment.

Medicine Balls

Home exercise equipment is a great option to promote a healthy lifestyle. I have a set of medicine balls, and use them in various exercises. Need other ideas? How about a Yoga Mat or a Foam Roller?

Misto Oil Sprayer

This might help reduce the amount of oil you use in cooking, and also lets you choose the type of oil you are spraying. I actually have two of these—one with olive oil, the other with canola oil.

Creative Productivity

Experiences for Creative Productivity:

Painting Classes

Many cities and towns are teaching one-time painting classes. Sometimes held at restaurants (other times in a studio), it provides a relaxed atmosphere to casually paint with your friends.

Babysitter for the night

Why not give the gift of time? Volunteer to babysit the kids for a night, or pay for a sitter.

Tickets to a local museum

Inspire creativity with a ticket to a local museum or exhibit.

Books for Creative Productivity:

Getting Things Done

This book that provides wonderful strategies and tools to re-engineer your daily tasks and projects to get them done in a timely manner.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

A classic productivity book, Seven Habits takes you on a journey through strategies to increase your effectiveness.

Eat That Frog!

A quick and inspirational read that gives the reader “21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time.”

Tools for Creative Productivity:

Itunes Giftcard

Why not get an itunes giftcard, with a personal suggestion for applications that promote creative productivity?

Book Light

A book light is a nice way to promote reading, while also encouraging screen-free sleep behaviors!

Digital Timer

A timer is a great option for anyone looking to increase their productivity. It can help you stay on track during times when you want to procrastinate. It’s also helpful during circuit workouts.

What gift ideas do you have to promote healthy living, creative productivity, and purposeful growth?

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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  • Katie Riddell

    Awesome Ideas! I love the happiness project. I actually got it and her daily one sentence journal for my mother for christmas.

    • Great strategy, Katie. I think the one sentence journal tool is a great option, especially for beginning journal-ers. That was one of my favorite chapters of the book!

  • Faith Udell McCathern

    Thanks for mentioning Wisdom and Labels etsy shop! My daughter is so talented and I’m so proud!

    • I definitely recommend the shop! Great, creative items.