The Gift of Beauty

The Three Wise Men—who, in the Christmas story, came bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh for Jesus when he was born—sure knew how to give a good gift. But Christmas isn’t the only religious or cultural celebration that is associated with top-notch presents that enhance beauty and health.  Hanukkah celebrants indulge in serotonin-boosting dark chocolate (in the form of Hanukkah gelt), and those celebrating Kwanzaa can pamper themselves with skin-softening shea butter.

GALLERY: Gifts that Give Back

Deepen your holidays by honoring the wisdom of the ancients with these beauty-boosting gifts.

1Glittering Gold

Giving gold—particularly gold jewelry—makes anyone feel regal. The key is to choose a shade of gold that enhances the recipient’s complexion. People with cool skintones, who tend to have green, blue or gray eyes, look gorgeous in white gold.

QUIZ: Take the Eye Makeup Quiz to Find Your Best Colors

For those with warm skintones, who tend to have brown or hazel eyes, consider these earrings based on yellow gold Roman balls from the first century A.D.

MORE: The Right Hair Color for Your Skintone

2Fragrant Frankincense

Still used in Oman as a deodorant and toothpaste, this ancient holy resin may reduce inflammation. A new study suggests that an extract from a species of Indian frankincense may help ease arthritis. Share this gift of good health in the form of powder extract that can be mixed into your favorite lotion (try Boswellia Serratta extract from Skinactives). Use 1.6 grams for every four ounces of cream.

MORE: Anti-Inflammatory Foods

3Sweet-scented Myrrh

Want to bake your in-laws a strudel or butter cake as a present? You can use modern-day myrrh’s cousins, sweet cicely or chervil, as a substitute for sugar. Or give African myrrh incense to help your loved ones meditate—a proven path to stress relief.

QUIZ: Feeling Stressed?

4Decadent Chocolate

At Hanukkah, Jewish parents would give local religious teachers gelt (Yiddish for “money”) as a token of gratitude in the Middle Ages—an ancient custom that developed into gold-foil-covered chocolate coins that are given to children at Hanukkah and used as chips in the game of dreidel. Chocolate is always a welcomed gift, but to get the health and beauty benefits of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, look for bars containing at least 70 percent cocoa. If your nieces and nephews have certain allergies, give them nut-free, dairy free gelt as a safer alternative to milk chocolate coins.  Or save your loved ones the extra calories by giving them dark chocolate body wash instead.

MORE: Beauty Benefits of Dark Chocolate

5Skin-smoothing Shea Butter

If your friends or family members celebrate Kwanzaa, share this skin-smoothing wonder from West Africa: shea butter. Shea Terra Organics’ Marula Whipped Shea Butter cream, which is rich in vitamin A and E, and can help soften scars, stretch marks and wrinkles, according to Shea Terra Organics founder Tammie Umbel.

This product is available at our sister site, BeautySage, where we only sell products that are proven to work!

QUIZ: How Healthy is Your Skin?