The holiday season is right around the corner, and sure, I could have picked a handful of ideas to improve your health (seaweed shakes and fish fat toffees, anyone? Don't ask), but where's the fun in that? Good health begins with getting to know your body and considering its many parts as more than just things that occasionally break down to complicate your life. You're a beautiful machine! Have some fun exploring yourself and educating your family!Knowledge
Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to find out how your genetic makeup may impact your health? Like someone could run a test and say, "your genetic chances of getting Type II diabetes are about 52% percent"? Oh, wait, there is! Using a little spit, 23andMe enables an individual to trace his or her ancestry and explore the impact of genes on health. A personal order runs you $99, plus a commitment for an annual subscription of $9 per month ($207 altogether) -- and, of course, you can get the kit as a gift for someone else!Art
Normal Heartbeat by Artologica
You could be a nag and tell your loved one to watch their heart health or you could buy them something beautiful to reflect on it. Artologica's Normal Heartbeat watercolor ($75) is 11 by 14 inches and comes matted and ready to frame. Oh, and by the way: no, her Heart Attack piece is probably not an appropriate gift. Unless you plan to give it to me, that is!
DNA 11 portraits
Remember that episode of Law & Order where they determined a person's involvement in a case based on a painting she had of her DNA? Actually, that's probably not the best way to pitch this, so let me try again: people can get an awesome a painting of their genetic code created by taking a close look at their mitochondrial DNA (which they provide by sending in a cheek swab). People choose the size and color they prefer. No two paintings are the same, so you can bet your painting is as unique as you. Prices start at $199. (And no, if you're worried about that Law & Order episode, unless you have your portrait customized to highlight a specific trait, people can't retrieve any genetic information from these paintings. Yes, I asked. I've got your back.)Personal Hygiene
Howling Pig's smelly soaps
Cleanliness is the first step toward a healthy life and what better way to start the day than to jump in the shower with a delicious scented soap? Howling Pig's soaps ($5) aren't just 100 percent natural, kosher vegetable glycerin -- they're made with love by really smart people (John M. McKay, one of the co-founders, has a great blog about science, history and woolly mammoths!) and in these hard times, they would love your business. Let's show our love and get awesome stocking stuffers in the process!Toys
There is no greater way to interest kids (and adults) in the workings of their bodies than with the adorable stuffed animal creations of Drew Oliver. The Corporeal line offers plushy red blood cells, white blood cells, squiggly brain cells, plump fat cells, colorful stem cells, platelets, nerve cells and even sperm and egg cells. A set of any four stuffed toys is $34.95. But that's not all, there's also a Calamities line for the morbid (hey, I'm not judging, I think they're awesome, too) that has a plushy ebola virus, black death, anthrax, cholera, and a handful other tragedies. And if you have a teen, there is nothing better than the Venereal line! Just kidding! Sort of.Activities
Babies are hard and the added stress of the holiday season doesn't do us any favors. Not to worry, the Baby Owner's Games and Activity Book ($14.99) offers 75 games specifically designed to test a baby's audio/visual apparatus, maximize coordination, strengthen motor skills and much, much more, for mutual bonding and amusement. And yes, if it sounds a little bit technical, that's because this is by the same people who brought you the original Baby Owner's Manual. In a world of gadgets, doesn't it make sense we'd want a manual to operate our progeny? (This is why you didn't ask me to be your kid's godmother, isn't it?)
Get the kids excited about cardio with the Smart Heart Pulse Monitor ($9.99), a brilliant little gadget that enables you to listen to your heartbeat and calculate your pulse rate! What better way to discuss how cardio works and why exercise matters?
Kids running around all over the place not your thing? Fine, fine. Get the kids excited about vegetables (okay, fine, taproots) with the Root Vu Farm ($32.99), a self-watering grow unit with a window that enables the kids to watch their carrots, radishes and onion seeds grow! A great way to learn and inspire a deeper appreciation for the yucky things we force them to eat at dinner!
Have some educational fun identifying and learning about the different blood types with the kids with the DIY Blood Typing Test Kit ($8.99)! All you need is a little prick (wow, am I really suggesting this as a holiday gift? OK, no wonder you didn't ask me to be your newest's godmother. Seriously. But it looks so cool minus the poking! Maybe you can wait until someone falls down?), combine a few drops of blood with water and see which antigens are present have in the blood, and use the chart included to figure out what blood type that is. You can even laminate the card once it dries so you and the kids never forget!
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