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Christmas gifts to stimulate the mind

Christmas day is the celebration of new life and hope for us all - in whatever physical, mental or emotional condition we may be in. This Christmas, try to give gifts that offer hope or distraction for friends and family members who may be overcome by the pressures of life.

Christmas Gifts that Stimulate the Mind and Body

A very large man shouts Ho Ho Ho: Santa’s little helpers sing Jingle Bells: Reindeer crash through the snow! Somehow this doesn’t fit with our Aussie idiom of 30 degree heat and the beaches full of baking bodies! But whatever images flit into your imagination, December 25th means Christmas and brings a long standing tradition of giving and receiving gifts.

When it comes to gifts, I must admit to being a bit of a subversive! In this electronic era, many people now email lists of suggestions detailing things they’d like you to buy them for Christmas. For adults these gifts will often be of practical value and for the children they tend to be of the impractical variety! However, modern etiquette determines that we should read through these wish-lists and pick out one gift to buy for our intended ‘target’.

My take is that gift-giving should involve sincere reflection on who the recipient is and an essence of who the giver is. For example, this year one of my grown up sons will be surprised by receiving an ocarina! Like the majority of people, he will have no idea what it is! For the un-initiated, the ocarina is a musical instrument from the Galicia region of northern. I found it when presenting at a conference there earlier this year. It is a wind instrument made out of clay.

Why am I giving my son such an odd gift? Well, he’s a very busy man living a very stressful life and my hope is that - once mastered - it will give him hours of endless pleasure. It will require him to stop and concentrate on something totally different from his usual daily routine and in doing so (hopefully) reduce the stress that his job naturally brings. It should also help him slow down and think about his breathing - a very useful thing to do when dealing with the challenges of daily life!

Giving gifts shouldn’t be about buying, wrapping, and hoping for something ‘good’ in exchange.

Giving inspired gifts can change lives

This year, I offer you a challenge. Instead of picking a present off your recipient’s wish-list, try to think about something that will enhance the gift-receiver’s life. 

Gifts that stimulate the brain

These can vary from books that inform and challenge your recipient to tickets to a play or exhibition (ideal for someone who has rarely experienced such an event). It could also be a simple musical instrument like my ocarina or a ticket to a musical.

Gifts that stimulate the body

First up might be an entry to a fun run like the HBF Run for a Reason. At this time of year the lucky recipient will have plenty of time to get into training and experience a whole new way of life. If walking/running is not their thing, lessons to try a new activity like kayaking or sailing can be great fun and may even inspire your recipient to take up a new hobby. 

Cooking courses are another great option. Would-be chefs learn to cook a variety of healthy and tasty dishes from all corners of the globe - and lucky gift givers may even be rewarded with an invite to dinner where they can taste the fruits of their gift.

Gifts that do both

There are of course some gifts that stimulate both the mind and the body. For a child this might be tickets to the zoo, a museum or a family show. Such activities combine both walking and watching (and if they’re behaving themselves, perhaps even an ice-cream too). For adults, tickets for a walking tour of Perth or Fremantle - like Two Feet and a Heartbeat – are bound to surprise and delight those who receive it, and best of all it gets them out and about.

Christmas day is the celebration of new life and hope for us all - in whatever physical, mental or emotional condition we may be in. This Christmas, try to give gifts that offer hope or distraction for friends and family members who may be overcome by the pressures of life. If your gift can take them away from those stresses for short periods of time it can enhance their lives and provide memories that last a life-time.

Have a very Happy Christmas!

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Dr Duncan Jefferson

GENERAL PRACTITIONER, HBF

After over 35 years in the medical profession there is one thing that I am certain of: being healthy is far better than being sick. My aim is to help you live your life to your maximum potential, and I'm here to help you do that.

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