Your Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Wellness & Exercise


For your adventurous girlfriend who’s done it all twice

Trapeze School New York gift certificates

She’s kayaked the East River. She’s climbed the boulders in Central Park. She’s parkour-ed every hydrant, handrail, and bike rack this city has to offer. For the lady in your life who has a deep aversion to sitting still, try one of the Trapeze School’s exhilarating, challenging, and insanely fun flying trapeze classes ($50-$70). A beginner-level class teaches the basics — how to achieve a good takeoff, knee-hang, backflip dismount, and the catch, plus the right way to fall — and forms the foundation for more complicated tricks. The school also offers classes in trampoline, silks, and acrobatics for those looking to expand their performance resume. And with a scenic outdoor location on the banks of the Hudson, a tryout of this breezy sport is worth it for the vista alone. — Heather Baysa

Trapeze School New York
Hudson River Park, Pier 40, or 467 Marcy Avenue, Brooklyn

For feminist beauty and spa enthusiasts

Ms. Andry’s Bath House products

If you have a friend whose taste in toiletries is more Morticia Addams than Laura Ashley, brighten her day — and her locks — with a bottle of Vagenda of Manocide blood orange shampoo from Ms. Andry’s Bath House ($10). This independent seller’s goods are formulated with fair trade ingredients that are friendly to people with sensory sensitivities, and are not tested on animals. And their cheeky pop-culture-inspired names add a bit of bite to any bathing routine: There’s a Bubbell Hooks bubble bath ($8) and a Don’t Want No Scrubs bath scrub ($8), a Michelle Obalma body cream ($7) and an Ella Spritzgerald body spray ($7), a Bonerkiller nail polish ($5) and four tinted lip balms named for each Golden Girls character ($6). The company’s mission is even more appealing than its puntastic product names: “The beauty industry thrives on fixing imperfections that largely do not need [to be] fixed,” the pseudonymous founder writes. “I don’t believe that things like aging and wrinkles need to be fixed or prevented or hidden. I don’t want my products to be in your home because you are paying a penance for your existence as a human.” — Jennifer L. Pozner

For the friend who deserves a treat

Aire Ancient Baths gift box

Give your hardworking pal the gift of complete relaxation in a decidedly un-New York environment: Aire Ancient Baths, a subterranean grotto filled with a half-dozen sexy, softly lit pools to explore. They can sink into the hot whirlpool, plunge into the fifty-degree “frigidarium” ice bath, drift in the saltwater sensory-deprivation tank — and repeat to their heart’s content. Aire says this mix of temps can help ease bodily tension, increase mental relaxation, and facilitate joint movement. Whether or not your buddy believes that, they’re bound to be awed by the gorgeous space with its lantern-studded stone walls that feel more ancient-castle than downtown-Manhattan. Pick up a certificate for a Gift Box package either online or onsite, and take comfort in knowing that even the entry-level options will impress. Gifts range from about $90 for the basic baths-plus-aromatherapy-steam-room experience to packages with super-luxe add-ons like the $575 private red-wine soak and hour-long massage. — Julianne Pepitone

88 Manhattan Street, Manhattan

For the would-be Californian who somehow ended up in the Village

SURFSET NYC gift card

In New York City there’s water, water everywhere, but not a drop to surf. SURFSET NYC brings the waves to your giftee in the form of unique cardio workouts: Class attendees hop atop surf-trainer boards that simulate the motion of waves. They’ll engage core and stabilizer muscles by paddling, duck-diving, and executing pop-up maneuvers. Classes at SURFSET’s East Village location are $32 per session, with multipack options of 5 classes for $150 and 10 for $300. SURFSET offers four types of classes — Newbie, Yoga, Burn, and Blend — depending on whether your surfer chick/dude wants to burn fat, gain flexibility, or “get shredded” (a phrase true New Yorkers really can’t pull off). — Julianne Pepitone

64 East 4th Street, 4th floor, Manhattan

For anyone massively triggered by the phrase ‘President Trump’

Third Root Community Health Center self-care gift certificates

There’s no better present for any worn-down progressive than self-care gift certificates for massage, yoga, acupuncture, or herbal medicine from worker-owned Third Root Community Health Center, where “social justice is at the core of healing.” This multilingual center run by a multiracial, multi-generational, straight and queer, cis and trans staff is antithetical to everything Donald Trump represents, with a mission “to challenge systematic health disparities [and] hierarchies within different modalities of healthcare, and to provide a different model of care that grows out of love.” While gift certificates are sold at a fixed price, services are sliding-scale based on household income, to remain accessible. And if your friend needs a safe space, they can use their gift certificate for Third Root’s specialized affinity group programming, such as Brown Sugar yoga for people of color, Queer & Trans Yoga, Yoga for Abundant Bodies, which focuses on pleasurable movement rather than weight loss, or Yoga with Wee Ones (for kids six weeks through age 6). — Jennifer L. Pozner

380 Marlborough Road, Brooklyn

For the Dirt Candy devotee

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn skincare products

It’s no easy feat to buy a present for an eco-minded giftee who scrutinizes product labels, but S.W. Basics of Brooklyn offers truly all-natural, sustainable skincare that actually works. The nine-person S.W. Basics crew formulates all products using only organic, fair trade, or family farm ingredients. The company is certified cruelty-free by PETA (no animal testing!), and all products except the beeswax lip balms are vegan. Options include face cream made with shea butter from Ghana ($32), a hibiscus mask ($22; 5 percent of sales go to breast cancer education group Keep a Breast), and an exfoliant full of “kitchen-cabinet awesomeness” like oat flour and sea salt ($24). Not sure what your environmentally-friendly friend might like? S.W. Basics also offers a number of nicely packaged gift bundles as options. — Julianne Pepitone