12 Things Under $35 To Help You Connect, Move More, and Smile Often
We could all use a few more ways to add laughter and happiness to our days. Hopefully, these gifts will put a smile on your face and bring joy to your friends and family.
This burrito blanket has 5 stars and over 42,000 reviews on amazon. A staple food in the blue zones region of Nicoya, Costa Rica, this makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Helpful review: “Once you wrap yourself in it you will be convinced that you are a burrito. Your friends and family will beg you to snap back to reality but you will be too far gone into burrito-dom.”
$30 on Amazon
The Blue Zones Challenge
Give the gift of life this holiday season. The #BlueZonesChallenge represents the culmination of 20 years of research on longevity. People in the blue zones don’t make it to 100 because they have greater discipline or self-control than the rest of us. They live in environments that make the right choice, the unconscious choice. The Blue Zones Challenge will help set up a life to live to 100, effortlessly.
Helpful review: “The thing that brings me back to the Blue Zones brand again and again and again is the fact that Dan Buettner is simply reporting on a handful of unique cultures that are home to the longest-lived people in the world. He reports on their diet, lifestyle, social lives, etc. – and distills their habits into easy to read, evidence-based, books. Buettner then takes the next logical step and makes recommendations on what WE can learn from these titans of longevity. I have every single Blue Zone book. I always need several copies because, in addition to giving these as gifts, after devouring my own copy, I usually give mine away to a loved one looking to make better, healthier choices in their life but not knowing where to start.”
$14 on Amazon
(Sourdough) Baguette Cushion
For the bread lover in your life (read: everyone).
Helpful review: “Unbeloafable. Word to the rise (get it??): buy some extra stuffing and get two! Ended up coming back to buy a second after my husband stole mine!”
$35 on Amazon
In Okinawa, Japan, sitting on the floor instead of high chairs is traditional for reading, eating, and talking. By placing these pillows around the house, you are more likely to sit on the floor, which can strengthen your muscles and core in the act of getting up and down. It is a fun habit that can get the whole family involved.
Helpful review: “I wasn’t sure in all honesty what I was going to get with these. In the end, I ended up with two incredibly comfortable and beautiful pillows. They were the perfect addition to our newly created “zen” room, where we go to chill out after a long day. They are large enough to be completely seated on the pillow which is nice and they offer just enough cushion to feel supported but also not too much cushion to where the pillow becomes lumpy after too much use (writing this review after having for two or three months). We use these almost daily and love them!”
$35 on Amazon
Blue Zones Conversation Cubes
These foam puzzle piece CONNECT Conversation Cubes are perfect for a family fun night or to keep on your table for mealtime conversation starters.
$6 on thebluezonesstore.com
Learn a new hobby with this handheld thumb piano. Research has shown that learning new skills during mid-life can reduce memory loss by 40-50 percent.
Helpful review: “I’ve seen some videos about Kalimba on YouTube and just wanted to try it out. This is a beautifully crafted instrument made of wood. It’s very light, and convenient to take with you, fitting easily into any carrying bag. It has a delightful tone reminiscent of a giant music box. The keys are easy to read and though it came tuned out of the box, it seems clear how to adjust the pitch if necessary. I think it sounds calming and it’s easy to pick up quickly. My husband just practiced for a few minutes and was able to play Jingle Bells!”
$30 on Amazon
AvoSeedo Avocado Tree Growing Kit
Studies have proven that house plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15% and with the AvoSeedo you’ll also be giving the gift of fresh, homegrown avocados.
Helpful review: “The AvoSeedo gives even the neophyte gardener a green thumb. The concept is ridiculously easy – even easier than the DIY method of toothpicks and a glass. Both methods work – and we’ve done both – but this one is a more colorful (select the color of your AvoSeedo “boat”) charming (the flag is fun and the avocado-shaped “boat” is, too), and effective (as the water evaporates between changing, the AvoSeedo simply floats down to that level; toothpicks stay stationary on the container’s rim. Also, you can grow multiple pits with this method engaging more users.)
The step-by-step, illustrated booklet, three flags (see pic), and markers give gardeners of any age the opportunity to get their hands dirty with this water-based growing method. It took a month for the pit to split, and another 2 months for roots to sprout (we started this in January in Boston!), but once it did, the root grew like crazy. Just now, 5 months in, the tree is finally growing out of the top of the seed. We got on AvoSeedo’s website for transplanting instructions. It’s been an exciting process to watch and makes us appreciate the time and care required for things to grow properly. It’s a great lesson to impart to young children.
AvoSeedo’s method can be used as a lesson in homeschooling programs but is low-key enough to be enjoyed by the casual gardening enthusiast. That flexibility to grow your engagement with this tool is one of the many reasons it’s a 5-star purchase.”
$10 on Amazon
The Happiness Lab
If you could give the gift of happiness, what would it be? What about a full course on “The Science of Well-Being”? A series specifically based around the research and psychology of what truly makes us happy. Yale Psychologist and Professor Laurie Santos developed this class and it quickly became the most popular class on campus. It was in such high demand that it became available for anyone to join and learn. Sign up online for a self-paced learning experience that will instantly impact someone’s life. This gift is so affordable (FREE!) you might as well register the whole family.
FREE on coursera.org
Box of Vintage, Inspirational Stationery
Why not send the gift of the written word? When you are stumped on what to get for that one person on your list, these beautiful, positive notes may be an unexpected but pleasant surprise. Let your family and friends know how much they are loved by sending them a box of inspirational and encouraging words. Giving this gift of generosity is contagious. Each day, they can read a letter that will fill up their soul. It is a great way for someone to start the day and can be passed on all day long.
$17 on Etsy
Pinolillo de Maíz Morado, better known as Yummy Blue, is a 100 percent natural cacao and purple corn blend. It carries natural antioxidants and is high in iron and potassium. A healthy choice for anyone active one on your list. Also great for those with a sweet tooth but want a healthier option. The drink helps to improve circulation and to aid in the reduction of cortisol and triglycerides. Warm it up with water, milk, or a milk-alternative of choice and enjoy it like the favorite seasonal cup of hot chocolate. Your recipient will feel the thoughtfulness and the health benefits in one sip.
$19 on thebluezonesstore.com
Whether they’re into travel, books, checking off their bucket list, or movies, there is a scratch-off poster for them! This bucket list one is the perfect gift for someone who is looking to start the new year with purpose.
Helpful review: “If you are struggling for ideas on what to get someone who has everything I’d recommend this as a gift. An advantage of this is that it also allows you to think of ideas of days out or trips for future gifts.”
$15 on Amazon
Mystic Maze Puzzle
A study published in JAMA Psychiatry associated activities like reading books or magazines, playing board games, doing puzzles, or even betting on horse racing with a lower risk of dementia in older adults.
Helpful review: “Just got this puzzle for something to do at home over the holidays. Seriously … never seen a puzzle quite like this! It’s very impressive and exceeded my expectations already. The packaging is beautiful inside and out. Everything about shouts quality. I particularly liked the Kraft envelopes inside for the puzzle pieces & mystery. Heavyweight and substantial. The one holding the 1000 puzzle pieces stays closed with Velcro! How cool! And the secret mystery envelope has a cool string loop tie. Makes you remember you can’t open it until the puzzle is done. The whole vibe of The Mystic Maze is quality and fun, and also looks like a challenging puzzle. Looking forward to getting started on this. Certainly a good “stay home” fun activity. Highly recommend!”
$20 on Amazon