Don't know what to get that wellness-obsessed friend? Pilates instructor Audrey O'Connor has a few ideas...
As a Pilates instructor in the wellness industry, I am regularly asked the same question in the run-up to Christmas: what are the best wellness-related gifts to buy for friends, family and loved ones? Thankfully this year more people are thinking more eco-friendly, sustainably and are aiming to buy Irish where possible.
People are looking for gift ideas ranging from Irish handmade stocking fillers, vegan treats and the perfect gift for the yoga lover. With people’s lifestyles changing, busy schedules, and anxiety levels on the rise, “self-care gifts” are a great idea. I have chosen gifts this year that will help reduce loved ones' stress levels, that will encourage them to make time for themselves, and prioritise their mental wellbeing. I have compiled a list of my favourite products (Hint! Hint!) that will spice up your loved one’s Christmas stockings this year, and keep your conscience clear by buying locally and ethically.
Maël essential oil diffuser — €49
The Nature of Things is an Irish essential oils producer based in Dublin’s Chocolate Factory. Essential oil diffusers are the perfect way to infuse any home with your favourite scent. Simply fill with water and add a few drops of essential oils and the diffuser will spread a finely scented calming mist throughout your room. These stylish gifts are available in a selection of colours and made from eco-friendly bamboo fibre
Flow State botanical mats — €145
Biodegradable, eye-catching, eco-friendly yoga mats for the yoga lover in your life. Flowstate yoga mats are designed to bring colour into your practice and home. Irish artist Maser has designed these iconic botanical-themed mats — they even have a built-in hanging feature for interior design, and a cool carrier strap.
MB Element by Monbento — €41.99
Practical gifts for adventurers or desk jockeys? Reuzi store has you sorted with the Element by Monbento. Free yourself from the politics of the work fridge and microwave. Keeping you going throughout the day, whether in the office or on a hike, this is both stylish and practical.
Lumie bodyclock — €94.99 from Currys PC World
Know someone who is affected by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or who struggles to get up on those darker mornings? The Lumie body clock mimics the light and colour of a real sunrise so when you open your eyes you feel properly awake and refreshed. Great for the Irish winter.
Huka Balance Boards — €140
Handcrafted in Donegal, the guys at Huka create natural products which have a positive impact on you and a neutral impact on the environment. Explore balance, and nail backbends with Huka Balance Boards. The additional feel-good factor is knowing that with every one Huku sold, the world gets a tree back.
Fiadh “Triangle” scarfs — €55
Fiadh hand weaves her own designs, all inspired by the West Kerry landscape. These unique and beautiful scarves are handwoven in Dingle using traditional weaves and contemporary design inspired by the local landscape of the beautiful Dingle Peninsula.
Headspace app — From $12.99 a month
The Headspace app is a brilliant resource for someone who needs to stress less, reduce anxiety, focus more and sleep better. Gifting a Headspace subscription uses no packaging, zero waste and keeps you away from the shops on the run-up to Christmas, reducing your own stress.
Fear Mná tote — €10
The perfect gift for all the fierce women in your life. This brilliant tote is a play on the combination of the Irish and English words for man and woman, but which is it? Or is it both? Raising more questions than answers, it will brighten up any Christmas stocking, while also helping to save the environment one reusable tote at a time.
Nourish vegan chocolate selection box — €12.95
Satisfy the vegan in your life’s sweet tooth, with a Nourish vegan chocolate selection box. The selection contains dairy- and gluten-free treats from Irish brand Nobo chocolate and delicious LoveRaw peanut butter cups. This is definitely one of my favourite stocking fillers for all chocolate lovers.
Jiminy wooden toys — From €6.99
For a plastic-free, sustainable gift, Jiminy have you sorted with their gorgeous collection of Irish handmade wooden trucks, cars and planes. All are beautifully produced with Irish grown FSC spruce and will last for generations to come. Jiminy was founded by Sharon and Suzanne, two self-proclaimed proud Dublin mammies, who still sell their toys in St. Annes Park on a Sunday.
Reusable gift wrapping — From €7.50
You can wrap consciously this year, and save a few trees in the process. The festive designs on this beautiful double-layered crackle wrap fabric from The Little Green Shop give that delightful crackle sound as your gift is being unwrapped without the waste.
Looking to spice up the Christmas dinner? Treat the family to these delicious vegan condiments to lather on roast potatoes or mix up into a winter salad. The drool-worthy selection from White Mausu includes Peanut Rayu, Blackbean Rayu and Cashew Crunch. Although the influence is Far Eastern, they are all made locally by Katie Sanderson.
Bodhi Blends Calm Balm — €14
Just the thing for anyone looking to kick off their slippers and find a little calm this Christmas. Irish brand Bodhi Blends Calm Balm is a magical pot filled with skin nourishing salve. This multipurpose wonder balm can be used as a meditation aid, a perfume or to soothe dry skin. It’s fully organic and handcrafted in Dublin.
Liadain Aiken's beanie hats — €55
Check out these cosy, ethically made, and shockingly trendy bespoke handmade beanies. The wool is ethically sourced in Donegal, to make these gorgeous beanies that you can cherish for life. Check out Liadain Aiken's gorgeous beanie designs, as well as jumpers, scarves and more that are all designed in Dublin.
Moon Mná Journal — €20
Treat yourself, or the woman in your life to this beautifully crafted journal by Moon Mná. This journal is filled with heartwarming woman's stories, affirmations, moon-phases and so much more. The ideal gift for anyone living a busy life, who needs to make time to nurture the body, mind and soul.