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Simple Gifts that Motivate
Align Ultra Mat is ideal for yoga. (November 25, 2010)
Exercise is often at the top of the resolutions list. If you know someone who keeps talking about getting in better shape but never makes a move, consider choosing a workout on DVD and a water bottle and then roll the these gifts up in an exercise mat with a decorative ribbon. Try the colorful Align Ultra Mat ($28, lululemon athletica, Oak Brook, Naperville) and encourage them to check out the free yoga classes at their local lululemon athletica location. The mat has a sponge-like texture and three embossed guidelines to help yoga beginners maintain proper alignment.
To shake things up choose a DVD from their favorite TV show. The Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars all have several workout DVDs or Wii games to choose from ($10.99-$16.95, Target, Walmart, Best Buy). Keep them hydrated with Nalgenes new slender On-The-Fly water bottle in a variety of colors and a convenient locking flip top. ($12.99, available at major retailers and sporting goods stores)
Hit the road
If the travel section of the newspaper is their favorite read, but they never follow through on that dream trip, give them a nudge with an atlas such as Rand McNallys 2010 Road Atlas ($13.95, major book retailers) and a gas card and bundle them together. If you want to splurge a little choose a GPS navigation system such as the Garmin nuvi 3790T ($449.99, Abt, Best Buy) to help when off on the beaten path. For some fun presentation ideas use a map as wrapping paper.
Pull it together
Do you know someone whose photos are piled in a box or on their computer and nobody is enjoying them? A scrapbooking starter gift can put these memories in a special place. Choose a basic album, some fun paper and embellishments around a theme and top it off with a gift card to Archivers where they can sign up for free classes for beginners. Or find a starter kit such as SEI 1-Hour Scrapbook Album Kit or Scrapbook In a Box with all the basics included. ($34.99-$24.99, Target, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store)
Sweeten the deal
Shows and bakeries have taken the art of baking to a whole new level. For the person on your list who longs to make incredible edibles pick up the Wilton 50-pc. Decorating-Tool Set with Caddy ($61.99, Wilton, Meijer) complete with beginners guide. For something a little extra add the book Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes by Food Network star Duff Goldman. ($35, bookstores)
Get into the swing of things
While the professionals can make it look easy, getting that small golf ball across the course anywhere near the hole takes loads of technique. So dont jump in by getting a full set of clubs, which could be very pricey. Start with a set of practice balls like Callaway HX Practice Balls ($11.99, major golf retailers and pro shops) and an assortment of tees. Make the bulk of the gift lessons. Just about every park district offers something from private lessons to lessons with video or try a local pro shop or driving range, which may also have clubs for rent.
You can brew it
With all the microbrews out there it has inspired beer connoisseurs to try their hand at the perfect blend. Making the process easy the Mr. Beer Home Brewing Kit ($39.99-$49.99, Meijer, Bass Pro Shop) will have you tasting a new brew in two weeks. If you want to put something more personal together or a gift for wine making there are area specialty shops such as Brewers Coop in Warrenville, Home Brew Stop in St. Charles and Fox Valley Home Brew in Aurora with all the tools to home brew.
It is a popular pastime and although the middle of winter in Chicago doesnt lend itself to gardening you can help the person with the would-be green thumb get started while theres still frost on the ground. Visit the gardening section of any major bookstore and find a suitable choice such as Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love by Julie Messervy ($30, bookstores) to offer ideas and inspiration. If the idea of organic gardening or growing their own produce sounds appealing Gayla Trails Grow Great Grub ($19.99, bookstores) takes the intimidation factor out and simplifies home gardening even if the only growing space is a ledge. To round out the gift with a few fun items like basic gardening tools and a decorative pot. A packet of seeds makes a unique gift tag.