Holiday presents that pamper aren't a new concept; we—and likely many of you—have received our fair share of bath bomb filled spa baskets, coordinated skincare travel sets, and the purely medicinal DIY hot chocolate jars complete with bags of spirit-lifting mini marshmallows. In the wake of the pandemic, opportunities to treat oneself at home have taken on an entirely new importance in our lives. We still pine for our aestheticians and the foreign serenity found exclusively in meditation studios but we've successfully sought out available alternatives and adapted to our new home-centered lifestyles. This year, we've compiled a list of self-care staples so you can offer your loved ones a purposeful sense of peace within the comforts of their own homes. Some of these gifts will feel familiar, following a more conventional wellness perspective of self-care. Others are gifts that make our souls sing to the tune of their rather atypical luxuriousness. The result is a collection of perfect pampering presents that offers something for everyone on your holiday list!
Let's get things moving with the kinetic offerings. Wellness is often appropriately viewed within a framework of physical health and there is nothing like a heart-rate-elevating, soul-centering activity, one that fill us with elating endorphins, to make us feel like our best selves. We firmly believe that all movement, regardless of how strenuous or structured it is, should be celebrated. Today, we're sharing just a few of our favorite gift-worthy digitally accessibly courses to inspire you as you explore the world of motion-focused holiday gift giving.
If your loved ones are specifically fitness focused, the Training Programmes from Natacha Océane make exceptional gifts. Scientifically-backed, each programme is a comprehensive fitness package offering progressive, dynamic workouts that are demonstrated through impressively aesthetic video instructions and are paired with a "step-by-step nutrition [guide that] breaks down metabolism science...so you fully understand and own your journey" (1). While the meticulous attention to the details that ensure each element of the programme is as efficient and effective as possible earns our resounding endorsement, it's Océane herself who elevates this fitness regime to the top of our physical wellness gift charts. Her ability to train with an unrelenting ruthlessness and honor the bounds of her somatic and mental limits, all while maintaining a heartwarmingly delightful demeanor, showcases an understanding and appreciation of the longevity of a fitness journey that is a refreshing change from the "fit in five minutes" model too often pitched to consumers before the start of the new year.
Océane's authenticity paired with her passion for and adherence to research-supported practices are a recipe for phenomenal fitness routines that are the perfect wellness gift for fitness buffs and novices alike.
Should your loved ones find invigorating freedom in less goals-and-gains focused movement, we recommend this ultimate dance course from 1MILLION Dance Studio. The course introduces participants to a variety of contemporary dance styles taught by a truly visionary group of expert choreographers during 29 recorded classes. Since its humble beginnings in a South Korean basement studio, 1MILLION has grown into a viral dance revolution supported by over 24 million subscribers. Reaching this broad audience, 1MILLION shares recordings of rehearsed choreographed performances in addition to the up to six classes a day offered at their locations in Seoul. By gifting this digital dance course, you're sharing with your loved ones an opportunity to reap the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of expressive movement in the company of millions of like minded movers. "This class is for anyone who wants to strengthen their dance fundamentals, widen their views on different genres of dancing, and step out of their comfort zone. If you’re looking to shake up your approach to dance and learn new skills in the process, this is the perfect fit for you!...Develop your flexibility, control, rhythm, and strength with 1MILLION" (1).
For those on our holiday gift lists who may align to a more centering and meditative physical practice, yoga programs are our instinctive gift choice. On the rare occasions when we aren't dancing, you'll likely find us on our yoga mats. Whether we're glistening with sweat during vigorous vinyasa flows or melting softly into the prop-supported poses in candle-lit yin yoga, we feel more in tuned with our bodies—and subsequently more at peace with ourselves— while on the mat than during nearly any other movement based activity. And fortunately for us, for you, and for your gift recipients, there is a seemingly endless pool of truly exceptional yoga instructors leading digital classes. We love the balanced artistry, strength, and the intentionality of tone of Stephen Beitler's FreeYogaTV membership classes. The cheerful casualness and "signature wiggles" shared in Cole Chance's CCY Studio membership content hold space—refreshingly devoid of pretentiousness—for us to be open to and explore our yogic playfulness. The power of the thematically-focused, guiding narratives available in the membership program from the ever majestic Ali Kamenova is second only to that of her vibrant flows. Regardless of which style they prefer for their practice, your loved ones will certainly treasure the opportunity to experience the spaciousness, relaxation, meditativeness, and liberation of yoga from the comfort of their own homes.
Next, let's freshen up our now sweaty spaces with a few sprays of fragrance. Personally, most ARCANISA team members align to the signature fragrance practice, selecting one scent that is an ideal olfactory expression of one's truest self—or at least the self they wish to project to the world. We also fully support the more fluid scent stories of those who page through their libraries of fragrances and select, day by day, which notes are best suited for their moods. However your loved ones choose to engage with bottled bouquets, it can be overwhelming and downright terrifying to venture into the inapproachably expansive world olfactory offerings. Thumbing—or should we say nosing— through endless scent descriptions and incomprehensible haikus of layered notes does more to discourage our exploration than it does to guide us towards our perfect fragrances. So we love to call in the experts! Sitting down with someone well versed in the nuances of nose tickling treats is, in our opinion, the best way to find the right scent. We once walked into Aedes De Venustas and shamelessly—alright, admittedly slightly shamefully—expressed a desire to smell like Vics Vapour Rub after which we were guided by experienced noses to a much more sophisticated alternative in the form of a bottle of Green Green Green and Green. Another time we stopped by Osme Perfumery in Miami and articulated our thirst for a fragrance that smelled cold, mysterious, and dark and were introduced to Coven, the wicked masterpiece by Andrea Maack. During another conversation at Osme we opened the door of possibilities with a remarkably vague request for a 'fragrance that fit our personality' and, without any additional filtering information offered, we were shown Sucre Obscure and nearly collapsed with infatuation. This holiday, share that olfactory excitement with your loved ones by arranging for them to participate in a virtual fragrance consultation with an expert. Paired with a gift certificate, this gift offers novices a guiding hand into the unknown scented waters that can culminate in an order of samples of the expert selected recommendations. And for fragrance fanatics, the chance to run through the canon of brilliant scents held by a perfume expert will be a cherished chance to discover something new and wonderful.
Occasionally, we crave a bit more physicality than that offered by the phalangeal pressing of a fragrance atomizer. As we spend more and more time in our homes, finding unique torture in the focus-grabbing flaws we suddenly notice in our interior spaces, we recognize good old fashioned wood working as a form self-care. Not only does carpentry lend itself to our frustration and stress relieving efforts, it also encourages us to find meditative focus by tackling a tangible tactile task. We harness our creativity to design each project, find connection and pride in methodical execution, and are ultimately rewarded by a rush of satisfaction and an addictive boost to our self-esteem upon seeing the completed piece. Our outside-the-lines minds struggle with the mundanity of trending—and frankly tedious— colouring books but wood working, with its nearly limitless possibilities, gives us the space to find the meditation and release we need. For those in your life who may want to venture into this lumber-filled self-care space, gifted access to wood working websites like Shelf Help by Ana White, Taunton Woodshops, and Woodworkers Guild of America are holiday surprises that are sure to be cherished. Encourage your loved ones to start small and build a high school wood shop style birdhouse or go big and try their hand at built-ins and beds. We firmly believe that resources our loved ones can use to better themselves and expand their skill sets make phenomenal gifts, and wood working classes come with the bonus gift of an improved interior space!
After a day spent carving, cutting, and clamping, our skin is thoroughly powdered with sawdust and stippled with wood chips and we're eager for some dermatological detoxing. During non-pandemic periods, we would likely encourage you to find luxurious and natural skin therapy in the Thalassotherapy pool circuit at the Rocco Forte Verdura Spa in Sicily, the serenity of a Hammam treatment from Six Senses Spa in Marbella, or the herbal and salt steam rooms and the icy sensory shower at Fenicia Prestige Spa in Ibiza. In moments like this when travel is off our holiday menus, we appreciate the accessibly and transformative power of the skincare treatments that line our bathroom shelves. Not unlike an experience in the world of fragrance, one could spend years scrolling through online skincare offerings until they're dizzy, discouraged, disappointed and still suffering from dry, dull, and sawdusted skin. So we recommend gifting the depth of knowledge and guidance exclusively offered by experts. Schedule a virtual skincare consultation for your loved ones with aestheticians or dermatologists—we love the Dermocrat in NYC—combined with a gift certificate so they can stock their skincare arsenals and maintain their natural beauty from within the comforts of their homes!
While skincare immediately comes to mind upon mention of self-care, sexual health woefully does not. We know you read "sexual health" and recoiled slightly, but don't pull away from us just yet! We aren't suggesting you gift your parents erotic largesses—although we in no way discourage that if your family is comfortable with it!—but introducing your friends to the brilliance, wit, approachability, and unrivaled and enthusiastic knowledge of clinical sexologist Dr. Lindsey Doe is a gift giving decision you won't regret. Best known for her YouTube channel and podcast, Sexplanations, Doe converses about all things sexual wellbeing with an ease and a mastery we hadn't seen since the retirement of Dr. Ruth. Her messaging is firmly rooted in a foundation of science, curiosity, and judgement-free acceptance and her unique ability to present an air of whimsicality and joyousness as she unravels the unspoken nuances of play ensures that everyone can comfortably gain insight into the spectrum of sexual experience. Unfortunately, Doe is retiring from the Sexplanations digital sexual masterclass but we encourage you to take full advantage of Lindsey Doe's absolutely delicious personality by sharing a Patreon-based gift of sex-positive, self-exploration that will encourage your friends to appreciate, play, learn, and follow the Sexplanations tag line: Stay Curious.
We do recognize, however, that not everyone in your lives will express elation at the idea of sexual explanation and exploration. But there's one thing everyone can agree on: there is nothing more heart-warming, soul-comforting, and all around spiritually-healing than a grandmother's home cooked meals. There is something uniquely and inherently magical about food made by venerable matriarchs. Whether it is the generation-spanning love infusing the food with a sense of familial connection and acceptance or simply the time-refined recipes themselves that moves us, we feel at peace with each bite of hand crimped pie left to cool and rest on stone farmhouse windowsills and with each spoon of slow cooked beans spiced by slices of garnet hued sausage and a secretly snuck thimble of whispering ale. You've likely experienced this unrivaled comfort regardless of whether your grandmothers are wise gentle figures of affection or razor sharp witted women (one ARCANISA once told their less than warm grandmother of a beloved childhood memory where their grandmother served them buttered slices of cinnamon raisin toast paired with Dröste hot chocolate gently simmered on the stove and served with a decadent dollop of Fluff, only to be assailed with the searing and oh-so-condescending response of "of course your favorite memories are centered on food"). Now that may sound like the epitome of anti-holiday-spirit family dynamics, but we share it because even with this grandmother, who was less than generous with her affection, food was an understood expression of love, comfort, and care—whether she chose to admit it or not!
In those moments when the culinary magic of our own grandmothers is needed but absent, we turn to the women who unknowingly become digital surrogates as they serve their signature recipes to the world. Guided by Pasta Grannies, we travel across Italy swooning as we watch quintessentially charming nonne twirl lorighittas and pleat culurgiones. The Pasta Grannies Cookbook compiles a collection of their traditional recipes which each welcome us into love-filled kitchens, the hearts of Italian homes. We've never met a single one of the feature nonne, but when we make these recipes we find that same connection and peace as we would if the nonne had formed every petal-esque orecchiette with their masterful hands. Share a generational embrace powerful enough to span the globe with a gift of the Pasta Grannies cookbook!
Try gifting one of these spectacular forms of self-care or follow the links below to continue exploring the Holiday Gift Guide for even more ideas.