Gifts For New Parents That They’ll Actually Enjoy

Close friends of ours just had a baby! A shout out to beautiful cupid-cheeked baby Uma! Like most new parents these days, our friends signed up for a baby registry which made it easy for us to give them a newborn baby gift that we knew they wanted.But don’t hesitate to send a baby gift not on the registry, especially if it’s an item that you may have discovered by trial and error as a parent yourself: share that one toy that would infallibly sooth your cranky newborn, or that one mobile that magically mesmerized her. “Welcome New Baby” gifting solved. But what about the parents? New parents are desperate for sleep, nutritious food and adult conversation. But mostly they are short on time: time to take care of anything that isn’t directly related to their new baby. Here are 8 great gift ideas for new parents that will really be appreciated.

#1. Food
Eating becomes a “catch it as you catch can” endeavor when you have a new baby at home. One of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts for new parents is a good meal. Bring over some healthy home-made dishes that are divided into meals and can be frozen and defrosted as needed. Replenish! Or if you aren’t into cooking yourself, consider signing the new parents up for a food delivery service. Some services send fully prepared meals that only require heating; others send a simple recipe with all the ingredients to make the meal, which at least saves shopping for groceries.

#2. Gift Baskets – For Moms, New Parents, & The Baby
If you don’t live close enough to bring homemade food to the new parents, and you don’t want to commit to a subscription meal service, then a food gift basket for the new parents is just the ticket! Finding time to sleep can be hard enough, let alone finding time to cook. How about a breakfast hamper such as our Early Bird Breakfast Basket with artisanal bread, jam, granola, and Clementine juice, or our hearty Bagel Brunch Baskets with delectable smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, capers and organic blood orange juice? These gifts are sure to please new parents who likely eat breakfast any time of the day or night!
 

A gift basket designed just for new or expecting moms, filled with all of the essential vitamins.

Nutrition is critically important for new mothers, especially if they are breast-feeding. It’s hard to make sure to get enough healthy food when you don’t have the time to put into shopping and food preparation. We have designed the Mother’s Nature collection, a line of healthy gift baskets specifically to address the nutritional needs of pregnant and nursing women. In three different sizes, we include fresh and dried fruit that contain many of the most essential vitamins and minerals necessary for good maternal nutrition, and a variety of healthy, easy to eat snacks filled with protein for energy.

You can also add a little present for the new baby to a gift basket for new parents! Our customers tend to include baby booties, and/or baby blankets in pink, blue or a neutral shade, or a soft and cuddly teddy bear to acknowledge the new arrival.

#3. Laundry Service
The diaper service has been engaged, but what about the rest of the family laundry? Find a laundry service that will pick up dirty clothes, sheets and towels, and deliver them back all cleaned, folded and pressed, and you have a good gift idea for new parents!

#4. Doula or Housekeeper
Doulas are breast-feeding specialists, but their expertise can extend into other areas of newborn child care and maternal health and well-being. Doulas are companions as well as mentors. They also typically will do light grocery shopping, prepare simple meals, and tidy up. Sometimes Grandma or Grandpa can fill this role, but often grandparents don’t live near-by or new parents don’t want the complications of a relative taking on these responsibilities. Doulas can live-in or visit daily for as long as needed. For more heavy lifting in maintaining a clean and tidy household, think about engaging a housekeeper for the new parents. Scrubbing a bathroom or scouring a stove top aren’t high priorities for parents of a new baby.

#5. Run Some Errands
Any chore that involves leaving the house can be a challenge for a brand new parent. Offer to do grocery store or pharmacy shopping, drop off dry cleaning, pick up older kids from day care/school, or walk the dog. If you want to visit the home, offer to do some chores, such as ironing or washing dishes, while you are there.

#6. Pet Care
Taking care of pets that need special attention, such as an elderly dog, a young dog that needs lots of outdoor running, or a cat that needs twice daily glucose injections, for example, can be an extra burden when all the focus is on the new baby. Offering to take a pet for a few weeks may be a great gift for new parents. Even if a pet doesn’t require additional care, they may suffer a bit from their owner’s distraction. You can also benefit from all the good energy a pet can bring to your own household!

#7 Short Story Books
Reading a book is almost impossible when you can only get through one or two pages at a single sitting. Short story books can be the perfect solution for new parents who love to read. There are lots of classic selections such as the short story collections of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Munro, or Mark Twain, or you can chose the current year’s “The Best American Short Stories” which are consistently excellent. Another great option is the “Letters of Note” volumes, which print correspondence written in the near and distant past from famous people and average citizens, and in ordinary or extraordinary circumstances. Each letter is about a page and fascinating enough to hold your attention, at least for the time you have to devote to it!

#8. Parent Pampering
One of the best gift ideas for new parents is some pampering. The very last thing new parents are thinking about (even lower on the list than laundry) is taking care of themselves. Give a gift certificate to a nice restaurant near-by home and take care of the baby so the new parents have the chance to freshen up and share a few hours together out as a couple. It’s easy to forget the importance of your relationship with your partner when you become a family. Another good gift for new parents is a spa treatment! Send them a gift card to the local nail salon. And don’t worry: manicures and pedicures aren’t just for women any more. Men are going to nail salons in increasing numbers these days for care of their feet and hands. Facials or massages are also good options.

The point is to give a gift that reminds the new parents of what they used to enjoy before baby came into the picture. The needs and wants of the new parents are often forgotten in the flurry of attention that the new baby draws. Giving a gift specifically for new parents will be a delightful surprise and greatly appreciated. If you can, don’t just offer one homemade meal, one week of laundry or housekeeping service, or one day of errands or pet care. A personalized gift that keeps on giving over 3 to 6 months is the best gift you can give new parents.

Father’s Day Activity Ideas: How This Dad Likes to Celebrate

As a Dad, I’m a real fan of Father’s Day! While Father’s Day doesn’t get nearly the same amount of attention as Mother’s Day, as a parent, I feel just as important on my special day. And I know other Dads do too. There are so many ways to celebrate Father’s Day and lots of blogs give advice on Father’s Day gift ideas. Today, I thought I would make it personal by looking back over the last 26 years I’ve been a father and sharing with you some of my favorite ways to celebrate Father’s Day.

#1. Doing What I Want
Coffee & NewspaperFather’s Day is a holiday, and to me, that means no chores, no errands, no work, no alarm clocks, no time constraints, no rushing, and whenever possible, no subway! I like to sleep in, have a big breakfast and read the paper at my leisure. If the weather is at all decent, I’ll go for an epic bike ride and have a plan to stop off at my daughter’s apartment on the way home. She’ll take me out for a beer and chicharron (fried pork) at my favorite friendly hole-in-the-wall restaurant in her neighborhood. This will inevitably lead to an afternoon nap.

There’s nothing like becoming a parent to bring you closer to your own parents. When my father was alive, we would often arrange to spend the weekend with my parents, thereby making it a double father’s celebration day. This was always a special Father’s Day weekend as my daughter was able to celebrate with both her dad and grandpa. And my daughter could acknowledge her Grandpa too.

#3. Hanging Out with My Daughter
When my daughter was younger, nothing made me happier than spending time with her doing the things we liked to do together: namely to play some type of sport. We would grab a big sports bag and fill it with a basketball, lacrosse sticks, Frisbee, etc. and off we would go to the park. We would roam from basketball court to field and we’d come back home tired, sweaty and dirty. These days, we may meet in the park for a run. We still share a love of being physically active.

#4. Sharing Music
One of the simplest and longest lasting Father’s Day gifts is the gift of music, even if it’s just a playlist of current music that my daughter loves. I look to her to keep me up-to-date with new artists, or old artists that she’s discovered. Sharing music is very personal and brings us closer together. What you’re listening to can tell you a lot about a person. Once in awhile, I get to introduce her to someone she doesn’t know about!

#5. Receiving a Father’s Day Gift 

Custom Father's Day Gift

My daughter surprised me with this amazing custom bike jersey – one of my favorite Father’s Day gifts!

Gifts are always fun to get. I hardly ever buy anything for myself (I hate to shop) so I really appreciate it when someone else buys something for me! In the past, my wife has taken me jean shopping, and although I didn’t like the process, I was really happy to get some jeans that actually fit me well. My daughter has a real talent for researching and finding just the right Father’s Day gifts for me. One year she surprised me with a new bike jersey that she designed herself: it was customized around the theme of our French Bulldogs, Massimo and Lily. I cherish it.

This year, she gave me an early gift of a cordless electric drill! It replaces an ancient drill that required an extension cord and had a chuck key (really old school). My new one is lightweight and even has a light on it. She gave it to me early so that I could use it to help her put up her blinds, mount her TV, and hang shelves in her new apartment. Yeah, she’s smart.

Pistachio Gift Box

Who doesn’t love pistachios? (This dad is a big fan).

This year I would also especially love the Father’s Day gift from Manhattan Fruitier! I created it so, of course, I want it. I designed Pistachio Blitz because I’m such a pistachio lover. The gift features three flavors of pistachios in the shell, pistachio caramel corn and pistachio butter. I’m willing to share, but first someone (hint) needs to send it to me.



#6. Spending Time with My Family
No matter how I may spend Father’s Day, it almost always ends with my wife and daughter and I getting together to share wine and a meal. Speaking of wine, we recently discovered a medium-fruited and lively red wine, Langhe Nebbiolo, made from grapes from the same general area as Barolo and Barbaresco in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and in Lombardy. Delicious!

In my heart, Father’s Day is about more than gifts. It’s about opening myself up to receiving thanks for being a Dad and making memories with my family.

7 Delicious & Heart Healthy Food Gifts

We should all be concerned about the health of our hearts — and I guess I can say that both figuratively and literally! Both happiness and the state of our coronary arteries are crucial to a long and healthy life. Many of us, myself included, have heart disease that runs in our families. It’s impossible to escape the genetic-predisposition that makes us vulnerable to the build-up of plaque that clogs the arteries feeding our heart and leads to heart attack and stroke.

But there are many things we can do to mitigate our susceptibility. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is an important component to a heart healthy lifestyle and longevity. But exercise alone is not enough. We also need a diet rich in heart healthy foods.

Luckily, heart healthy foods can also be delicious! Look for foods that are low sodium, cholesterol free, and high in omega 3 fatty acids, flavonoids (antioxidants), potassium, fiber and protein. Here are seven delectable heart healthy gift ideas that will be sure to please.

Fresh and Dried Fruit

A gift basket of fresh and dried seasonal fruits is always a nutritious choice and a great heart healthy gift idea. The best fruits for heart health are the ones with high fiber content, Vitamins such as A, C and E, minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and flavonoids.

Some of the best choices are apples, apricots, berries, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi and peaches. Avocados are also especially heart healthy because of the fatty acids.

Nuts

I was so happy when I learned that nuts were one of the best heart healthy foods you can eat! I love nuts and eat a large handful every day either in my morning yogurt or oatmeal, or as a pre-dinner snack with a glass of red wine. Although caloric, nuts are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and protein.

Any nuts are fine, roasted or raw, except that they should not be salted, if you want to create a heart healthy food gift. I make my own nut mix and will often bring it to friends as a gift. I’ll put them in a glass jar and tie a ribbon around the neck. My favorite nuts are raw cashews, roasted almonds, pistachios, and walnuts and I like to include some raisins for the chewy consistency.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is heart healthy because it contains flavonoids, which can reduce arterial inflammation, as well as protein and fiber. Dark chocolate is also more nutritious than milk or white chocolate because it contains less sugar. Look for chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa and is low sodium or sodium-free. A selection of dark chocolate bars wrapped in tissue and placed into a gift bag makes a lovely heart healthy gift that anyone would be happy to receive.

Oatmeal

I know that oatmeal isn’t the first thing to come to mind when thinking of a gift, but oatmeal is simply one of the best concentrated sources of fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins and one of the most highly recommended foods for heart health. What if you could find a gift constructed around a unique artisanal oatmeal? We have just that!

Heart Healthy Gift BasketOur Heart Healthy Beat #2 gift, shown in the photo, contains fresh and dried fruits, nuts, dark chocolate and oatmeal. This oatmeal is made from organic non-GMO whole grains and oats milled in Chappaqua, NY by Farm to Table. A variety of grains bring a complexity of tastes and diversity of textures to intrigue the palate. This oatmeal is one of my favorite cold weather breakfasts and I also like to eat it as a power boosting snack before a bike ride… with a handful of nuts, of course!

Legumes

Legumes are a class of vegetables in which the dried fruit of the plant is contained within a shell or a pod. Legumes are heart healthy because they are a great source of non-animal protein, are packed with the minerals and vitamins important to heart health, and are high in fiber. But how do you make a heart healthy food gift out of legumes?

Heart Healthy Beat Gift 3Try our fabulous Falafel Chips by Flamous that we include in our largest Heart Healthy gift (Heart Healthy Beat #3, shown right). Made from black beans, chick peas, fava beans and pinto beans, these chips are just as addicting as tortilla or potato chips but without all the salt and fat. You won’t feel like you’re missing out with this healthy alternative. And they’re organic too!

Fish

Omega 3 fatty acids are thought to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease. These fats are called “essential fats” because our bodies can’t produce them from other sources so we need to ingest them from our foods. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. So we developed a heart healthy gift idea that is centered around tuna belly and trout. Now how can that be appealing?

Heart Healthy Panty - Mediterranean DietWell, we start with delicate and delicious, lightly salted canned trout and tuna from the Cole Company. The Cole Company is known to care about sustainable resources and catches the fish using fishing poles (how old fashioned!). These fish make a fantastic dinner in a salad or on a cracker. I always have some on hand in the kitchen cupboard.

The rest of the gift includes other items perfect for storage in the pantry and all part of a heart healthy Mediterranean diet, such as couscous, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, almonds, and dried apricots.

Red Wine

Probably the very best news is that red wine can be part of a heart healthy diet so it makes the perfect heart healthy gift idea! Consider adding red wine to a food gift such as those in our Heart Healthy Gift collection for the ultimate heart healthy gift.

Heart healthy living and heart healthy gifting doesn’t have to be hard!

10 Best Gifts for Yoga Lovers

When the next gift occasion arises, take advantage of yoga’s ever-increasing popularity for a fresh take on traditional gift giving. In addition to the millions of yoga devotees already practicing in the U.S., another eighty million people (34% of the population!)  will give yoga their first try this year. So, why not consider a yoga-themed gift?

Chances are high that one of your friends, family members, or co-workers are enjoying the benefits of the mat. Maybe you know someone with a committed daily practice, or have a friend that’s musing with an intention to start.

Of course, finding the perfect gift for yoga lovers can be challenging, but you already have a leg up – or a down-dog split – knowing their interest. So, you’re on the right track but still stumped on what you should get the yoga lover in your life?  You’ve got this. Take a deep, controlled breath and get inspired by our choices for the top ten best gifts for yoga lovers.

#1. Aromatherapy: Essential Oils and Room Diffusers
Essential oils are a simple, wonderful gift to enhance a yoga or meditation practice by helping yogis connect with an intention. Often essential oils can help capture the spirit of certain qualities. For instance, Lemon is associated with mental clarity and attention. Peppermint, a joyful exuberance and energy. Lavender, relaxation and peaceful communication. They can also make a room smell pretty!

Two or three different essential oils with an ultrasonic room diffuser are great gifts for yoga lovers. Just a few drops of an essential oil combined with water in it’s base can instantly create a soothing or stimulating atmosphere. Yogi’s choice.

I’m particularly fond of the exceptionally high-quality DoTerra brand of pure, cold-pressed essential oils, and for a tasteful, modern ultrasonic diffuser that would unobtrusively work with a decor, Muji’s is the best.

#2. Water Bottle
Gifting a water bottle for a yoga lover is a no-brainer, but it can be a struggle to find one that’s kind to the earth, has style for days, and is light enough for the gym bag. We picked this one for our line of yoga gifts because it satisfies all three of those requirements. Designed by LAB[O] in Montreal, CA, our water bottle is actually made of glass, but don’t worry, it’s protected by a zippered silicone sleeve. BPA and phthalates-free to boot. How refreshing!

Yoga Water Bottle

#3. Yoga Travel Mat
Gifting a yoga mat to a yoga lover can be tricky. With different types of mats suited for different yoga practices, where do you start?  A thicker mat is a great choice for a yogi who enjoys a more restorative practice. Look for a mat that will have a stickier grip for those who enjoy a higher energy vinyasa or bikram class to help them avoid slipping and sliding out of their poses.

So, you know they love yoga, but what if you aren’t sure which kind? Trust that most yogis already have a mat they like. What they probably don’t have and where you can help them the most is by giving them a Yoga Travel Mat.

Oftentimes, a vacation can wreak havoc with even the most dedicated yoga practitioner. Even standard-size mats can be awkward, heavy and prohibitive to carry. A travel mat can easily fold or roll into a carry-on bag or backpack to bring their practice with them wherever they go. My personal favorite is the Manduka eko superlite.

One of the most valuable lessons yoga students first learn is the importance of “just showing up”. It’s a lot easier when the mat can come with you!

#4. Headband
Stylish and sweaty doesn’t have to be an oxymoron if you work it right. A great, affordable gift for a yoga lover is a headband that can absorb the side effects of a vigorous yoga workout, while keeping their hair suitable for any before or after class errands. Ponytails and barrettes are great, but a headband can keep distractions like pesky flyaway hairs and perspiration out of their eyes so they can focus on the important stuff, like breath and alignment.

Choose a wide headband that can serve a dual purpose. A headband like this can be easily pulled down over the eyes for a blissed-out savasana.

#5. Organic Fruits and Snacks
The revered yoga master, B.K.S. Iyengar, who is credited with bringing the ancient practice of yoga to the West said “Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”

Making the right food choices plays an incredibly important role in any yoga student’s well-rounded practice. Nourishing the body with wholesome foods lays a foundation for nourishing the mind.

Organic Bounty

Help the yogi take their practice from the mat to the dining table with healthy snacks to nourish the body.

We believe one of the best gifts for yoga lovers is one that extends their practice from the mat to the dining table. Our Organic Bounty gift basket does just that. Filled with certified-organic fruits, both fresh and dried, and organic nuts, cheese, crackers and jam, it’s a universally appealing gift for yoga lovers of any age or gender, beginners or advanced.



 
#6. Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner Sprays
How lovely to craft a yoga gift yourself and have it be a gift they actually need! Every yoga lover can benefit from a yoga mat cleaner and making one is not as hard as you’d think! Here is a super-simple 3-ingredient recipe (distilled water, witch hazel, and essential oils) you can make in minutes that will keep yoga lover’s mats fresh and clean for many vinyasa classes to come. Rather than one big bottle, this recipe makes a trio of 2 oz. spray bottles, each with a different scent, for easy, everyday travels back and forth to yoga class.
Simple Steps and Ingredients for a Homemade Yoga Mat Cleaner Spray:

– Fill each 2oz. spray bottle (found at any beauty supply store or Amazon) three-quarters of the way full with Distilled Water.

– Shake three drops of either tea tree, eucalyptus, or peppermint essential oil (all known for their antibacterial and antifungal properties) into each spray bottle.

– Fill the bottles the rest of the way up to the top with witch hazel, close tight and give them a gentle shake. Give them a quick spray. Do they have enough scent? Go ahead and add another drop until it’s to your liking.

– Last step, the fun part. Find some adhesive labels and get creative with a signature design and brand for each bottle.

#7. Yoga Bolster
Every yoga enthusiast has a mat at home for their practice, but most yogis only take advantage of a bolster when they are at a yoga studio. One of our top gifts for yoga lovers is a bolster for home use.  A bolster is an important tool or prop used in a wide range of restorative yoga poses that can have the added bonus of being used as a meditation cushion.

Meditation and yoga are so closely intertwined that people who practice one are really also practicing the other in one form or another. Both practices explore the mind/body connection and having the proper tools within reach makes achieving a daily dedication to one’s practice so much more attainable. When choosing the perfect bolster as a gift for yoga lovers, choose a rectangular bolster with exceptional firmness and support with an upholstery-grade fabric covering. This bolster is my favorite.

#8. Yoga Blocks
In addition to bolsters, another yoga prop most people only access at their local studio is yoga blocks. These are an integral part of any yoga practice, no matter what experience level. Lightweight cork or recycled-foam yoga blocks are a great gift for yoga lovers who appreciate the tools that get them closer to good alignment, balance and stretch!

Yogis and non-yogis alike would all benefit from a Supported Fish Pose for a few minutes a day. This pose, supported by yoga blocks, expands the chest and throat, which is a great counteraction to the inevitable afternoon slump.

#9. Yoga Gift Baskets
Our absolute favorite gift for yoga lovers has to be our collection of Yoga Baskets. A woven bamboo basket combines organic fresh apples, organic maple glazed mixed nuts, and organic banana and mango slices, and, of course, essential yoga accessories. In addition to a thick, cotton strap for reaching those deeper stretches, and a silky eye pillow for a restful savasana, we’ve added our unique and so very chic water bottle designed by LAB[O] in Montreal, CA to the healthy mix. So good!

Yoga Gift Basket

#10. Gift Certificate to their favorite Yoga Studio or Retreat
When you are thinking about a gift for a yoga lover, perhaps the most appreciated gift you can give them is a gift certificate to a local yoga studio of their choice.

While a lot of practicing yogis are already enrolled in a monthly membership to a yoga studio or gym that has yoga classes, most yoga studios have special workshops or events that are not included in a rolling membership and are outside of this monthly payment. That’s where a gift certificate can really come in handy.

I have a monthly membership to a yoga studio in Brooklyn that covers unlimited classes, but my mother just treated me to a gift certificate at the same studio which I used for a four-part tai chi workshop. Thanks Mom!

Whatever gifts you end up choosing for the yoga lover in your life, know that picking a gift that is closely connected to a practice that brings health and happiness to their life will make you feel great too!

5 Tips for Sending Business Gifts

A successful business gift both matches the occasion and the taste of your gift recipient.  Since gifts reflect your sentiment, it’s important to send a gift that will be appreciated.

Here are 5 tips for sending business gifts:

1. The more you know about the tastes of the person receiving the gift, the better gift choice you can make. Is the gift recipient a cheese lover, a chocolate lover, on a special diet, or into organic foods? If you can choose a gift that has particular appeal to your recipient, you will make the biggest impact.

2. Saying “thank you” will never go out of style. In the business context, saying thank you may be an end in itself as well as a benefit to you in the future. Gifts that expressly say thank you, like our line of Thank You gifts, will be understood and appreciated.

3. You want to make sure that the gift fits the sentiment. A small thank you can be a smaller gift with a message that says, “Just a small token of my appreciation.” A bigger thank you, as in “Thanks for being instrumental in closing the deal. It wouldn’t have happened without you!” is probably best communicated with a more substantial gift like one of our corporate gift baskets.

4. For a business gift to an office, you want choose a gift that’s the right size. You want everyone to enjoy the gift. A small office with a couple of people can enjoy a smaller gift. A larger office probably calls for a larger gift. Our line of Office Gifts features five levels of gifts so you can choose the right size and the right variety of ingredients.

5. The greeting card should clearly express your sentiment. Sometimes it might be easier to just say, “Thanks from Bill Johnson,” but it’s always better to be specific about the reason for the gift. Something like, “I really appreciate all your hard work in bringing the project to fruition” is going to make the gift even more meaningful.