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  • Writer's pictureSarah Nantel


Cool clothes and cozy comforters make great gifts, But some might prefer presents that help them build up their bodies and brains or learn a new skill. If you’re looking for a lifestyle lift, consider these categories when penning your wish list.

Make Music

If you’ve always wanted to learn a musical instrument, consider adding something with strings to your gift list. For instance, most people can learn to play a tune or two on a ukulele within a day or two, even if they’ve never picked one up before. Because ukelele strings are usually made of nylon -- as opposed to steel for guitar strings -- they require players to put less tension on them to form chords. Some uke chords can also be formed with only one or two fingers, according to the Teton Music blog.

For music lovers who might want to learn guitar later, the best ukulele is probably the baritone ukulele, which is tuned to the notes D,G,B, and E. Those are also the highest-pitched four strings on a guitar, so baritone ukulele chords easily transfer to a guitar.

Get Moving

You could request gifts that reinforce resolutions to get healthy. For instance, if you have always wanted to try power yoga, pilates, barre, or boxing classes, add them to your holiday wish list or request some gear to get you going. A yoga mat or a set of hand weights are affordable gifts that can be used at home or in the gym. Those options also give offers gift givers a wide range of potential price points to choose from. And their fitness shopping spree might even prompt them to sign up for a few sessions themselves.

Get Cooking

Is your recipe repertoire limited to a handful of tired traditional dishes? Worse, does your diet consist of cereal, sandwiches, and fast food? If so, consider adding a cooking class to you wish list. Grocery stores, restaurants, kitchen goods specialty stores, and cooking schools or community colleges in many areas offer courses on everything from Indian fusion to classic Italian cuisine that will add some spice to your life. Or request some basic kitchen gear to help you break the burger chain.

Learn a Language

Whether you’re planning a trip to France or simply want to impress people when ordering a meal at your favorite French bistro in town, it’s never too late to learn a language. What’s more, there are many free language learning tools online. Supplement those by asking for a translation dictionary or a cool notebook and fancy pen to help you keep track of notes and new vocabulary.

Or perhaps you prefer paid language learning programs. If so, you can request anything from software to in-person continuing education classes at a local community college. Regardless of your what learning style, there’s probably more than one option that will have you saying, “Je parle français” (I speak French) in no time.

Start Stitching

Sewing circles and crochet clubs are increasingly popular for every age group. If you’d like to try your hand at a handicraft, add a simple sewing machine, a pair of knitting needles, or a set of crochet hooks to your list. If you’re a self-starter, there are books and online classes that can guide you through the basics. Many communities also offer classes at chain craft stores, according to HGTV. Or you could needle your crafty cousin and aunt into teaching you everything they know.

So, if you’ve got gadgets and sweaters to spare, try requesting gifts that won’t gather dust in your closet and, instead, encourage you to try something new. Who knows? You could discover a hobby you’ll love for life.

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