Taking life in the slow lane
When choosing holiday gifts this year, consider these for people looking to ease up on daily stresses
The world is fast and furious. Why not slow it down for the holidays?
Ways to achieve that lofty goal are plentiful. Some ideas on how to give the gift of slow living:
The Art of Slow Growing
For loved ones with a green thumb, and those who aspire, set them up with seeds and everything else they need to get their hands in soil and plant. The shop Smart Seeds Emporium on Etsy offers a way to grow a living sculpture, the Queen Victoria agave plant. With a spiral of deep green leaves, it grows slowly and can reach a foot tall and wide. Mature plants, considered hardy and drought tolerant, can cost up to $1,000. For less than $7, gift 20 seeds. Queen Victorias can live for several decades and spike reddish-purple blooms. This Etsy seller offers a variety of rare, exotic seeds from the around the world as well, but the queen seeds hail from the United States. Able to ship internationally.
For people who aspire to walk more, appreciate the woods, get out to the local park trails or get just an hour outside to get the blood flowing, do it in style with a walking stick or cane. In addition to specialty makers and hiking stores, bigger chains are in on the idea. Bed Bath & Beyond carries walking sticks in various lengths and colours at many price points. A site called Fashionable canes. com is full of options, including a hazel walking stick handcrafted in Ireland. (Canes can be shipped internationally, too.) Antique canes and sticks are all over eBay if your gift recipient likes retro.
The Slow Home Podcast
The podcast is hosted by the Australian Brook McAlary, a mother of two. She’s a 30-something writer from the Blue Mountains near Sydney who suffered severe postnatal depression in 2011. That’s when she decided to embrace minimalism and simplicity in her life. In addition to the podcast, she has written two books: Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World (Sourcebooks) and Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life (Head of Zeus).
Defy the instant pot
The multi-use pressure cooker has been all the rage. Slow it on down with a simple, single-function slow cooker. Consider a stoneware insert, make sure the lid is tight fitting and look for easy, intuitive controls. Also, it would be nice if the handles stayed cool. The idea is to make it easy but more importantly slow, providing the best aromatherapy of all: Eight hours of pot roast wafting through the house.
My Calm Blanket
Do you know somebody who feels they’re failing at sleep? The folks at MyCalmBlanket have borrowed a tool used to soothe anxiety and other sleep disrupters — a weighted blanket. The cotton inner blanket uses glass beads to provide mild pressure based on body weight. The blanket, which measures 48 by 72 inches (1.2 by 1.8 metres), should weigh seven to 12 per cent of the sleeper. For a person who weighs 80 to 100 pounds (36 to 45 kilograms), for example, a 10-pound (4.5 kg) blanket would do. An outer duvet, in a grey square quilted design, is made of minky, a soft polyester velour. The creators caution that the blanket should not be used by anyone who likely would not be able to remove it on their own. Buying the right weight is key otherwise. It comes in four weights, from 10 to 25 pounds (4.5 to
11.3 kg). Search around because many other weighted blankets are available. This one, intended for use year-round by one person at a time, costs US$169.99 for the 10-, 15- and 20-pound (4.5-, 6.8- and 9.1-kg) versions, and US$199.99 for the 25-pound (11.3-kg) blanket. For Canadian consumers, an alternative is hushblankets. ca, which also offers weighted blankets, starting at about $189.
Buddha boards and sand gardens
A token gift or actually pretty
Zen? Your gift recipient may get a tickle out of one of these either way. Buddha Boards come in a range of styles and sizes now. They provide a surface for creating fleeting designs with water, a bamboo brush, a bowl and a stand to catch drips included. Mini Zen sand gardens are a world onto themselves, with little tools, bridges, rocks, trees and Buddha statues available. One company, Zen Life, offers a set of eight sand stamps in floral, spiral and polygon shapes. $43.55 on Amazon.ca.