Tagged Gifts

Health and Wellness Gifts for Couples

Go-To Gifts

Ways to Help Newlyweds Feel Their Best

Health and wellness pros share their favorite presents to help couples focus on each other and their personal well-being.

  • Jan. 30, 2021, 9:18 a.m. ET

Every January we collectively set intentions to become better versions of ourselves. With the desire to refresh, reset and renew at the forefront of everyone’s mind, many couples use the top of the year as a time to establish their own health and relationship goals.

We checked in with four leading fitness gurus, wellness influencers and mindfulness experts who shared their go-to items that they gift newlywed couples to help them strengthen their bond and stick to their resolutions.

Shaun T

Fitness motivator and creator of the popular fitness programs “Insanity” and “Hip-hop Abs.”

Credit…

“Get an Airbnb gift card! What better way to make new memories together or escape the busy day-to-day, especially if you’re working from home, than to take a road trip or book a staycation at a cool Airbnb?”

Credit…

“Often times, as a relationship matures, the ways to connect with each other become more challenging and require more work. This book will help you do just that. This book is such a great tool for couples.”


Genevieve Padalecki

Actress and lifestyle blogger.

Credit…

“When you begin a marriage, there are three things you have to nurture; yourself, your spouse and the relationship. They all need specific attention at different times. Having some guidance on how to handle the inevitable ups and downs and navigate the adventure can help smooth out the bumps in the road.”

Credit…

“2020 has taught us that we can all benefit from being resourceful and resilient. There is nothing more resourceful than growing your own food and nothing more resilient than mother nature. I also think getting your hands dirty and building something with your partner is bond building, fun and incredibly sexy.”

Alexandra Elle

Author, wellness consultant and host of the “hey, girl.” podcast.

Credit…

“This is a great book for couples to read together and individually. It opens the door to conversations through a soulful collection of lessons learned, meditations and affirmations.”

Credit…

“This game is so fun. It offers moments of reflection for any time. It’s really amazing for an unplugged dinner at the table rooted in meaningful connected conversation.”

We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game, $25


Tia Mowry

Actress, author and wellness entrepreneur.

Credit…

“This is the absolute power couple gift. With more than a dozen essential vitamins and minerals, the Anser His + Hers bundle will keep a newlywed couple energized, healthy and stronger together.”

Credit…

“A cutting board is essential for any kitchen, and personalization adds the perfect, unique touch. Everyone will love it. This board is great for entertaining guests with a charcuterie spread, or passing out hors d’oeuvres.”

BigWood Boards Walnut Circular Motif Wedding Board, $46

Continue following our fashion and lifestyle coverage on Facebook (Styles and Modern Love), Twitter (Styles, Fashion and Weddings) and Instagram.

Knit to Improve Your Mood

Pick Up the Knitting Needles for a Mood Booster

This inexpensive hobby abounds with benefits. And once you get good, you’ll be a mitten machine.

Credit…Ryan Mcgurl/EyeEm, via Getty Images

  • Dec. 19, 2020, 11:43 p.m. ET

Already an excellent winter activity in an ordinary year, knitting is even better suited to 2020, when we’re being encouraged to stay home and restrict our social circles.

Picking up needles and yarn to create scarves, hats, mittens and sweaters is an inexpensive hobby and easy to take up, given the wealth of free, online resources.

But the craft can also trigger mental health benefits. Many studies have been published that show knitting helps to manage chronic pain, improve cognitive function and even increase happiness. Perhaps most relevant to these uncertain times, a survey of knitters taken last year by the Abo Akademi University in Finland indicated that they felt knitting “can be a counterbalance to a stressful job, hectic lifestyle or other demanding situations in life.”

Soothing stitching

Amy Reddinger, a dean at Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba, Mich., came back to knitting after a long hiatus in March, when the campus closed and she needed a way to get away from screens. Her first project was an ambitious one — a complicated shawl using some fairly advanced techniques.

“I almost quit a lot of times,” Ms. Reddinger, 45, said. “But I kept at it, and I was both miserable and joyful at times — it was a good emotional process for me.”

She valued the level of challenge as a “great distraction from the chaos and stress of the unknown.”

It’s well known in knitting circles that there are two types of knitters: those who focus on the results — a comfortable sweater, mittens to match a new winter coat, a gift for an upcoming baby shower — and those who focus on the process. Process knitters knit for knitting’s sake. They value the soothing repetitive motions and the feel of the yarn running through their fingers, relish the colors, the act of creation. They enjoy the good things that come with it, without having to fuss about their work being perfect, or their scarf being stylish.

If you are considering picking up knitting, think of it as meditation with a little bit of equipment. Approach it for the joy of the process and to take some pressure off. (Also, it’s a good way to keep your hands out of the candy bowl if you want to change your eating habits.)

Warm outputs

And if the result is something that can keep you (or a friend or family member) warm, it’s a fantastic bonus. Just think: scarves! Hats! Mittens! Sweaters! Stylish statements, gifts for loved ones, blankets to welcome new babies. Once you become more accomplished, you’ll be a mitten machine.

Ruhee Dewji, a Canadian software developer who lives on her own, took up knitting in early spring at the encouragement of some friends. Before the pandemic, Ms. Dewji, 31, filled her spare time playing music in bands; she found playing on her own during lockdown just emphasized her loneliness.

She finds knitting an uncomplicated joy with many benefits, but one stands out.

“I’ve mostly made things for other people, and I realized that when you are making something for someone you love, you are thinking about them with every single stitch, and somehow that feels less lonely even though I am doing it all alone,” she said.

Supportive communities

Although knitting is a single-person activity, many knitters enjoy gathering, both online and in person, to share the successes, laugh about the mistakes and learn from one another. The portability of knitting is crucial, and as knitting doesn’t require one’s full focus or attention, you are able to engage with the people around you. In the Before Times, yarn shops would hold knit-nights and libraries had crafting groups. There are also formal knitting guilds, and most major cities seem to have at least one group of self-identified “drunken knitters” who meet in bars.

Most knit-nights and classes went virtual early this year, making them accessible to faraway members and those nearby with physical or other limitations that may not let them appear in person.

Before the pandemic, Seattle Yarn hosted three regular in-person gatherings every week. Destiny Itano, a co-owner, said that when travel and gathering restrictions were put in place, both staff members and customers were “devastated” at the thought that these groups might not continue. Within a couple of weeks of the city’s lockdown, they set up online sessions and have been hosting two events a week ever since. Ms. Itano said that she was “surprised how well they work — not only as social gatherings, but as a way for knitters to offer and get help with their stitching.”

And the local knitting community has expanded: Ms. Itano’s mother joins from her home in Alaska, and a regular attendee to their Saturday morning group lives in Germany. They plan to keep these groups going even after the shop is fully operational again.

How to get started

Before you begin, know that focusing on the end result means that many beginners are often too impatient with the inevitably imperfect results of their first projects. The first of anything you make will not be great. (Admit it, there was some disastrously inedible sourdough this past spring.) And it doesn’t matter one bit. You still get all the benefits (virtuous or not) whether or not you come away with a wearable scarf. You’re still going to be relaxed and mindful whether or not the beanie fits.

But to make that hat, you’ll need balls of yarn and knitting needles. Look to specialized local yarn shops (L.Y.S.’s), big-box craft stores and online retailers like knitpicks.com and yarn.com, the website of the knitting retailer WEBS. Yarn and craft stores also offer instruction and specific learn-to-knit kits for beginners.

Know that yarn comes in different thicknesses, and needles are sized to suit. Always choose your yarn first — beginners might want something on the thicker side, and in a lighter color so you can see what you’re doing and make fast progress. The yarn label indicates the size of needle to use.

If you prefer learning with books, introductory manuals are easy to find in thrift and used-book stores, and the instructions themselves don’t change. But it might be worth investing in a newer one: The projects are more modern, and they use the readily available materials. “Vogue Knitting: The Learn To Knit Book” or “Knit How” are two good choices.

There are plenty of free online and video resources, too. The video lessons at knittinghelp.com are well presented, accurate and clear, while ModernDailyKnitting.com has articles, lessons, patterns and other goodies for knitters of all levels.

To meet other knitters, check out the online classes, virtual knit-nights and other social gatherings hosted by a yarn shop in your area. Even if you can’t visit in person, their websites and social media will give you a sense of who they are and what they do.

In New York City, Knitty City and String Thing Studio are two shops that are striving to maintain and bolster knitting communities, even under this year’s necessary restrictions.

Felicia Eve, owner of String Thing Studio in Brooklyn, sells a standard kit for novices, and offers one-on-one appointments, both in-person and online, to teach the basics. She urges beginners to be soothed by knitting’s colors and textures, and to value its meditative nature, but also to embrace mistakes as part of the learning process.

“Cherish the wonkiness,” she said.

Wrap Gifts With Newspaper

Top a Present With a Newsprint Bow

With some artful folding and a few snips of the scissors, a newspaper can become fanciful gift-toppers (and they’re recyclable).

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

By

  • Dec. 5, 2020

As much as unwrapping a present is part of the delight of receiving a gift, wrapping one can be an enjoyable part of the gift-giving experience. No matter what holiday you are celebrating, these handmade gift-topper ideas — from a fancy bow to a quick-snipped holly leaf — are relaxing and meditative undertakings.

And what’s more, you’ll be using newspaper. While gift wrapping is a lovely tradition, fancy paper often ends up on the floor within moments, and many wrapping papers are not recyclable because of inks, glitter or plastic linings. Using unpainted newspaper means you can recycle your upcycled wrapping after it has been enjoyed.

Newspaper Holly Leaf and Berry Gift Topper

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Supplies

  • Painted or unpainted newspaper

  • Pencil

  • Scissors

  • Hot glue and/or clear tape

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times
Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Cut out a holly leaf shape and fold at the center.

Make a berry by tightly wadding up some scrap newspaper to your desired size. Cut a circle of paper for the berry and place the ball in the center. Gather the circle up and around the ball. Twist it closed and snip off the excess paper. Squeeze some hot glue onto it and press to close (Tape can also be used to close).

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Hot glue or tape the berry and leaf to a package.

Simple Newspaper Bow

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Supplies

  • Painted or unpainted newspaper

  • Pencil

  • Scissors

  • Ruler

  • Clear tape and/or double-sided tape

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 1.

Cut seven 1 inch-wide strips: three nine inches long, three eight inches long, and one four inches long.

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times
Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 2.

Fold a nine-inch long strip in half to make a center crease and then unfold. Curve one end of the strip around and under to create a cone shape at the top and tape the end at the middle crease. Repeat on the other end of the strip to create a figure eight loop.

Step 3.

Repeat on the remaining nine-inch and eight-inch strips. Roll the short strip into a loop about one inch in diameter and tape closed.

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times
Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 4.

Use a loop of tape or some double-sided tape, to stick two of the large figure eights together, then add the third. You should have a six-pointed star.

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times
Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 6.

Make a smaller star using your eight-inch strips. Then tape that star on top of the bigger one with a loop of tape or double-sided tape. Tape your one-inch loop in the center.

Tape or hot glue to the top of your package.

3-D Snowflake

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Supplies

  • Painted or unpainted newspaper

  • Pencil

  • Ruler

  • Scissors

  • Stapler

  • Clear tape

  • Twine (optional)

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times
Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 1.

Cut a rectangular piece of newspaper measuring 6 by 10 and a half inches. Accordion-fold the paper along the short side, creating pleats that are three-quarters of an inch wide. Keep folding until you have 6 pleats. Trim any excess paper.

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 2.

Fold in half and staple at the center

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 3.

Draw decorative shapes on your pleated paper, and then cut along them, making sure not to cut all the way through. (Use the ones above as a template or come up with your own.)

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times
Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times

Step 4.

Fan open and tape ends together on both sides.

OPTIONAL: Add a twine loop, threaded through a hole in the snowflake, to turn your topper into an ornament.

Credit…Jodi Levine for The New York Times