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Holiday Gift Ideas for Self-Improvement Enthusiasts

self-improvement holiday gifts

It’s gift-giving time!

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year (I’ve said this before on this blog, and I’m saying it again). I love everything about it: the music, the food, the traditions, the decorations, the movies, the atmosphere. . . But most of all, I enjoy giving gifts.

onehouradayformula banner longHowever, I must admit that deciding what gifts to get for my friends and family is sometimes a challenge. The kids are easy: I just take my nephews and my niece to the largest toy store in Panama and let them look around and pick out what they want. Then we walk around the mall and have a Christmas scavenger hunt, followed by lunch at the food court. We do this every year, and I really look forward to it. The adults on my list, on the other hand, are a whole different matter.

Last year I walked around the mall for hours (and hours) trying to find a great gift for everyone on my list. Honestly, it was a bit stressful. But this year, things are going to be different.

I’ve decided that I’m going to give my loved ones the Gift of Gratitude. That’s right: the Gift of Gratitude. I’m going to get a nice box for each one of them (in feminine colors for the women, and manly colors for the men). Then, I’ll add crinkled paper shreds to the box.

Lastly, I’m going to fill each box with the following items:

  • A gratitude mug so that they can start each morning with a cup of coffee, hot cocoa, or tea, and an attitude of gratitude (plus a laminated copy of my Morning Gratitude Affirmations).
  • A book by the world’s foremost authority on gratitude, Dr. Robert A. Emmons. It’s titled, “The Little Book of Gratitude: Create a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks.” In it, Dr. Emmons explains why gratitude works, and he offers exercises so that people can practice gratitude in their daily lives.
  • A gratitude journal and a nice pen so that they can write down what they’re grateful for each day.
  • A small box of thank you notes so that they can reap the benefits of gratitude by thanking others (you can read about how this transformed the life of one man, here).
  • Some gratitude cards for when they aren’t feeling very grateful and need some inspiration (I may include some gratitude prompts, as well).
  • A small toiletry bag filled with essentials such as soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a comb so that they can give it to someone who needs it (giving to others helps us realize how abundant our lives are, which makes us grateful).
  • A gratitude stone they can put on their desk so that they’re reminded to give thanks every time they look at it.
  • A little note letting them know why I’m grateful to them (this gives the gift a personal touch).

Doesn’t that sound like a great gift? I think so. You’re welcome to copy my idea, if you’d like. If not, below you’ll find ten more self-improvement holiday gifts you can give your friends and loved ones this holiday season.

10 Self-Improvement Holiday Gifts

If you’d like to give the gift of self-improvement this holiday season, below you’ll find 10 ideas to choose from.

1. The Gift of . . . Whatever They Need Most

I said above that I’m giving my loved ones the Gift of Gratitude. You can give each of the people on your gift list the gift of whatever they need most in order to move their lives forward. Here are some examples:

  • If a friend or family member has just suffered a significant setback—such as the loss of a job, the rejection of their manuscript, a difficult divorce, and so on– then they may need the Gift of Resilience.
  • If someone you love is stuck in the past, give them the Gift of Letting Go of the Past, or the Gift of Forgiveness.
  • If one of the people on your gift list is constantly late for work, meetings, and appointments–and this is causing problems in their life–, give them the Gift of Punctuality.

For whatever gift you choose to give, do something similar to what I’m doing with my Gift of Gratitude. Get a box and fill it with the following:

  • The best book (or books) on the subject-matter;
  • A token that will remind them of the goal that they’re pursuing, such as a poster, a mug, a keychain, a wood block sign, and so on;
  • A workbook filled with practical exercises and action steps;
  • A journal and a pen so that they can write about their journey toward healing;
  • A personal touch from you, such as a letter explaining how you overcame a difficult setback, forgave someone who hurt you, released a painful memory from the past, and so on.

This year, give life-improving gifts.

2. The Gift of A Hobby

As I wrote in my post, 16 hobbies That Will Improve Your Quality of Life, a hobby isn’t just something that you do to pass the time. Picking up a hobby can have mental, physical, and emotional benefits.

If you choose to give a hobby as a gift, there are many hobbies to choose from. Pick a hobby that they’ve mentioned they want to try—or choose something you’d think they’d like—and get them everything they need to get started with that hobby.

As an illustration, I recently wrote about doodling, which can be a great hobby. Among its many benefits, doodling helps with focus and concentration, it spurs creative insight, and it helps to alleviate stress. In addition, it’s easy to learn to do, and few supplies are needed. Here’s all you need to get:

  • A nice doodling how-to book;
  • Some colored pens and pencils;
  • Paper; and
  • Some stencils.

And, that’s it: with these few items you can give someone the Gift of A Hobby.

3. The Gift of A Blog

A great gift you can give a loved one this holiday season is the Gift of A Blog. That is, register a domain name for them (it can be their name and last name, e.g. mattsmith.com) and pay for a year of hosting. This will allow them to do things like the following:

  • Create a portfolio of their work which they can show to prospective employers or clients.
  • Blog as a hobby (they can blog about anything that interests them, such as cooking, traveling, or video games).
  • As a way to document a journey — a weight loss journey, a home renovation project, a journey to financial independence, and so on.
  • They can monetize their blog and create additional sources of income.

With Bluehost, for less than $75 you can get a domain name and a year of hosting. You can find out more here.

4. The Gift of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is all the rage these day. And for good reason: being mindful comes with a myriad of benefits, including reduced anxiety, improved focus, and higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction. One of the best ways to achieve mindfulness is through meditation — it can be sitting or active meditation.

If you want to give a friend or loved one the Gift of Mindfulness, one way to do it is to purchase a meditation class package for them. In the alternative, you can give them a package for any of the following:

  • A yoga class.
  • A Tai Chi class.
  • A Qigong class.

Instead of an in-person class, you can get them DVDs so they can practice yoga, tai chi, or qigong at home. Give your family and friends the Gift of Mindfulness, and then sit back and watch how their lives improve.

5. The Gift of An Experience

It turns out that you can buy happiness. And one of the ways to purchase happiness is by buying experiences instead of consumer goods (like purses, ties, or jewelry). This can include things such as the following:

  • Tickets to a concert (the ballet, the opera, a play, the symphony, or whatever they like);
  • A pass to an amusement park or local attraction;
  • Scuba certification;
  • Sky diving;
  • A museum membership;
  • A zoo membership; and so on.

Help your loved ones create positive memories they’ll cherish for years to come by giving them the Gift of An Experience.

6. The Gift of A New Skill

Think of the people on your gift list and ask yourself if they’ve mentioned any skills that they would like to learn. Photography? Entrepreneurship? Coding? Whatever it is, find an online class for that topic and gift it to them.

And, of course, keep in mind that my eBook on how to learn any skill fast will be finished by December 31st and will launch on the first or second week of January, so keep an eye out for that.

7. The Gift of a Positive Habit

If someone you love has been talking a lot about wanting to adopt a specific positive habit, give them the tools that they need to develop said habit. Here are some examples:

  • If they want to start making smoothies so that they can add some greens to their diet, give them a juicer.
  • If they want to lose weight, give them a cookbook filled with healthy recipes.
  • If they want to start exercising, give them a rebounder.
  • If they want to become an early riser, give them a smart alarm that will gently wake them up at the lightest part of their sleep cycle.

Positive habits are a fantastic gift!

8. The Gift of Time

One of the best gifts you can give someone who’s feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities–because they have small kids, because things are hectic at work, or because they’re taking care of a sick relative–is the gift of time.

A few years back—when my nephews were very young– I gave my sister the gift of ten hours of babysitting. Let me just tell you that she was very appreciative (and, as an added bonus, I got to spend more time with my nephews).

9. The Gift of Fun, Laughter, and Play

I think we could all use more fun, laughter, and play in our lives. If you want to give someone this as a gift for the holidays, you can give them things such as the following:

  • Coloring Books and Pencils
  • Board Games
  • Joke Books
  • Funny Movies
  • Sports Equipment – a soccer ball; rollerblades; a boogie board; and so on.

Helping someone to laugh and enjoy themselves is a great gift.

10. Give the Gift of Relaxation

One of my Christmas traditions is watching all the Christmas episodes of my favorite TV sitcom: Frasier. In the episode “Perspectives on Christmas”, radio psychologist Frasier Crane is having a tough time deciding what to get his loved ones for Christmas.

Everyone gets together at Frasier’s apartment a few days before Christmas, and they all start complaining about all the frustrations they’ve had to face that holiday season. Frasier tries to improve the mood in the room by telling everyone he’s going to give them their Christmas presents: he’s going to tell each one of them what they mean to him.

They all think this gift is rubbish, so he proposes to call a massage therapist and have him come over to the apartment to give them massages. This idea is met with a lot of enthusiasm. In the end, everyone agrees that they all felt better and more relaxed after the massage, and that it was a great Christmas present.

Follow Frasier’s example. This holiday season, give the Gift of Relaxation. Here are some ideas:

  • A massage coupon.
  • A day pass to a spa.
  • A box filled with self-pampering items such as bath salts, green tea, an aromatic candle, a good novel, dark chocolate, a stress ball, and so on.

Relaxing during the holiday season sounds lovely, doesn’t it? In fact, in the spirit of self-love, I think this is what I’m gifting myself this holiday season (yes, I’m on my gift lift).


I know that I’ve reaped enormous benefits from my self-improvement journey, and I hope to share that with my friends and loved ones through my Gifts of Gratitude.

I hope the ideas explained above for self-improvement holiday gifts have helped you to decide what to give the people on your gift list this holiday season.


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