Nourishing Hope Holiday Guide



Holiday Gift Guide

I get many in my community who ask about my favorite products, not just in the kitchen but also when it comes to clean air, water, snacks, treats, and even self-care products. When we are looking to nourish our families in the healthiest ways possible, having tools for both mind and body are important.  

The holidays can be a great opportunity to make bigger purchases like changing out kitchen equipment, investing in a wellness tool, or just finding sensory-friendly items for your child and having ideas to send to family can be handy.

I’ve created the gift guide below with some of my favorite products for both parents and kids! Foods and treats can be a big part of our holidays and I wanted to share some of the products and brands I use personally.

For Kids

For kids who have higher sensory needs, there are some great products to help! Noise cancelling headphones can be terrific for helping children who have auditory sensitivities be more comfortable in loud places. Whether this is the grocery store, outing with family, or even a home celebration, overwhelming noises can be really challenging for those who are sensitive and this can be a wonderful support.

Sensory swings can also be a fun gift that provide support in addition! These can easily be used at home and provide a cozy haven when a little sensory downtime is needed.

I have also had clients share that their children really enjoy calming sensory lights as a focal point. These can be used near bedtime or even during the day in a darker room.

A weighted blanket can be wonderfully soothing for some children and adults. They come in a variety of different sizes depending on your needs and preferences.

Sweet treats are something special many children look forward to at the holidays. But, with special diets, food allergies or reactions, and just the desire to have the healthiest diet possible, that can be a tricky topic. These Enjoy Life Rice Milk Christmas Minis can be a good option.  No Whey Santa is another festive and allergen-friendly option. And for that classic holiday treat, YumEarth Candy Canes give you the delicious peppermint taste without the high fructose corn syrup and food dyes found in other brands.

Gifts for Mom and Dad

Staying hydrated is important for the whole family, including mom and dad! When we take care of our own health, we can better care for our loved ones. I like Hydroflasks or this glass bottle that I use almost daily.  For a truly special gift, my friend and colleague Terri Hirning told me about these VitaJuwel bottles or pitchers. They blend the health of drinking out of glass with the stunning beauty of gemstones. Terri loves hers!

Essential oil diffusers can make beautiful yet functional gifts for moms and dads! In this recent blog, I brought up the topic of certain scents causing meltdowns. This can include even more natural scents like essential oils. If your child is reactive, you will want to be careful and avoid those that trigger behavioral issues. But, there are oils that are lower in phenols and can be very soothing and pleasant. This marbled glass diffuser is a beautiful option, as is this domed version with a smaller profile. Some of my favorite oils come from my friend Jodi Cohen’s company, Vibrant Blue Oils.  

Our special dads who shave will love this Harry razor! Another Close Shave makes a clean shave gel that would be a great accompaniment.

Health Supporting Gifts

Self-care is another important area and the holidays can be a great time to have family members go in on larger gifts together. I recently started tracking my sleep, stress, oxygen, and heart rate. I find that looking at this data daily is very useful to boost my health and productivity. I use this Garmin Venu fitness watch. I also love my Oura Ring. It gathers similar information as the watch, and because it’s a ring, it’s more comfortable to wear to sleep. So if I’m trying to view my stats real time or during a workout, I prefer my watch, but if it’s sleep related I like my Oura ring.

The Apollo Neuro is great for kids and adults alike. It is a new kind of wearable that improves the body’s resilience to stress, so you can relax, sleep, focus, and recover. It’s like a wearable hug for your nervous system that helps you be calmer.

It can be worn on the wrist or ankle and works by engaging with your sense of touch, delivering silent, soothing vibrations that help you feel safe and in control. Apollo Neuro’s scientifically validated technology trains your nervous system to bounce back from stress more quickly, going from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest”. So far I am loving it and do notice a reduction in my stress levels when I wear it! In fact, I even recently wrote about this in my article on Avoiding Holiday Havoc because it is so helpful in reducing my feelings of stress.

I get asked all the time about my favorite air filter. Having clean indoor air is so important. And what is really frustrating is that our indoor air can be 2 to 5 times—or even up to 100 times—more polluted than outdoor air! Air Doctor is the brand I use in my home because they are the first affordable air purifier that not only removes virtually 100% of the particle pollution but the vast majority of toxic ozone and volatile organic compounds which can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea and also liver, kidney and central nervous system damage. They have 3 models to choose from depending on your needs.

ChiliSleep is a terrific sleep-hacking tool. Science shows that we sleep deeper with increased recovery at a cooler body temperature. ChiliSleep systems leverage hydro-cooling power to deliver your best night’s sleep, every night. You can set your optimal sleep temperatures that shift and adjust based on your perfect sleep schedule. You can use the “warm wake” feature and ditch your alarm clock, and even set your ChiliPad to come on and be ready for you when you slip into bed! As my gift to you, use code HOLIDAY30 and save 30% off all new Sleep Systems 11/17-12/31.

My Favorite Tools For the Kitchen

I love things that make it easier and a high powered blender is one of those tools! I have a Vitamix but Blendtec is another great option. The advantage of a blender like these is that it blends foods really finely so when you want to add things like kale to your smoothie, you don’t have to chew it! Another great tool is a juicer. When we aim to get as many healthy vegetables and fruits into our children, smoothies and juices can be easy ways to do so. For juicers, I like masticating because more of the raw enzymes stay intact. This Omega juicer is a nice option. For my fellow gardeners, winter doesn’t have to mean an end to your growing season. I have an Aero Garden like this one. I love being able to have fresh herbs and veggies all year round!

For the Whole Family

As I referred to above, in this recent blog I talked about reactions to common holiday scents, including from candles that can cause meltdowns and other behavioral issues. Bluecorn Candles are 100% pure beeswax, scented by honey, colored by pollen, are paraffin-free and have a lead-free wick. Some of my favorite kitchen tools include this glass kettle and my Instant Pot. They even make an air fryer top that fits on your existing Instant Pot if you wanted to try air frying.

Give the Gift of Hope

And finally, we here at Nourishing Hope are on a mission to support individuals with special needs and their families. We have made it easy for you to get yourself or a loved one the gift of our Nourishing Hope for Healing Kids program (we are giving our loyal readers a coupon code for  30% off – use code: Holiday2021). This program is our most comprehensive offering for individuals and families, it takes you through my proven 12 step program which includes a private Facebook community and live monthly Zoom calls to ask your specific questions. If you know a family that could benefit (or want to pass this on to relatives asking what your family really wants or needs), click here.

Ultimately the best gift we can give our loved ones is the gift of time. Special time together in the kitchen preparing delicious and healthy meals or special holiday treats can mean more than any wrapped gift. Baking cookies is a particular favorite for me and my daughter Ruby. We love these holiday cookie cutters to make delicious and healthy sugar cookies.

No matter what your plans are for this holiday season, from our Nourishing Hope family to yours, wishing you love and joy.

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Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Educator, globally respected nutrition expert, published researcher, and accomplished author. Her guidance is backed by over twenty years of clinical experience and scientific research with complex neurological and physiological needs; particularly autism, ADHD, and related disorders. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism and also the founder of Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.


  1. I love reading all your tips. I pass them on to family and friends


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