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Five Innovative Gifts of Good Health from the Health Unit

When searching for the perfect gift for a family member this holiday season, the Health Unit is encouraging you to consider these health-ful hints. The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is suggesting five healthy gift ideas for people to consider getting their loved ones this year. The idea behind each gift item is to encourage health and well-being.

The five items include gifts that promote food safety, physical activity, healthy teeth, learning skills and time together as a family. The specific items include:

A meat thermometer is a practical gift idea, especially for someone who loves to cook or barbecue. Raw and undercooked meats, especially poultry, are major sources of foodborne illness. Meat thermometers are important to measure the internal temperature of meats to ensure they have been properly cooked. You can complete this gift by visiting the Healthy Canadians website ( and searching for the ‘Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures Chart’ that you can then print and include as a resource with the meat thermometer.

The gift of physical activity can take the form of sports equipment such as skates, snowshoes, skis, toboggans, snowboards, hockey sticks or curling brooms, as well as the related safety equipment like helmets and gloves. Purchasing passes for parks, ski trails, fitness clubs, recreation centres, swimming pools or bowling alleys can also be popular, especially to encourage people to stay active during the winter months.

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A toothbrush can be a good stocking stuffer for a young child, especially as a reminder about the benefits of regular brushing. If an electronic gadget is more to your child’s liking, consider an electric toothbrush that is designed for children. You can enhance the gift, and keep children busy over the holidays, by including oral health activity sheets that you can find under the ‘Kids’ Zone’ section of the Ontario Dental Association’s website (

Board games may seem old-fashioned, but can be a good way for the entire family to unplug from their digital devices. “Age-appropriate games can also encourage learning and life lessons without children even realizing it,” says Shaughnessy. Not only can a board game be fun to play, it can promote reading, counting and colour recognition. It can also encourage social skills, such as taking turns, winning with tact and handling disappointment. Board games can also provide fun opportunities for face-to-face interaction between family members, Shaughnessy adds.

The gift of time can be the most precious item to get someone, and it does not need to be expensive. Set aside some time with your child or family member when you can do something together that you both enjoy. This could be an outdoor winter activity, going on a day trip somewhere, seeing a movie together, playing a game, or working on a building project. “Life is so hectic and rushed that spending time with a loved one can build bonds and create memories that are priceless,” notes Shaughnessy.

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