The holidays are a wonderful time to cook like Emeril, entertain like Martha, and snuggle by the fire like Felix the cat. However, there’s nothing like toxic décor and combustion gases to put a wrench in any holiday mood. As it turns out, all that extra time cozying up indoors is exposing us to a host of pollutants. We can’t see them, but they’re taking a toll on not just our health but our brain function.

In fact, thanks to pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide, the EPA ranks indoor air pollution one of the top five environmental health risks to the public. But, it’s not just respiratory issues arising from poor ventilation inside. A 2016 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that normal levels of indoor air pollution are negatively affecting our cognitive function and decision making. Hmm. Might explain why you can’t decide on holiday gifts this year.

Don’t worry, friends; I’ve got you covered. Here are four gifts that keep on giving. These gifts of health will have you and your loved ones breathing easier into 2019 and beyond — and perhaps feeling a little smarter, too.

Natural Mist Pluggy USB Wall Plug-In Diffuser ($)

Natural Mist Pluggy USB Wall Plug-In Diffuser
Natural Mist Pluggy USB Wall Plug-In Diffuser. Image: GuruNanda

If you’re like me, you love the smell of essential oils and know there’s no comparison between the therapeutic effects of nature compared to the cocktail of toxins found in traditional synthetic air freshers. While most air fresheners contain ingredients linked to everything from headaches and hormone disruption to cancer, they only mask odors while providing zero health benefits.

Meet the Natural Mist Pluggy by GuruNanda. It’s the only USB-powered plug-in essential oil diffuser that uses 100 percent pure essential oils. It’s convenient, affordable, and contains no chemicals. Just plug it right in the wall outlet, your laptop, or any USB connection. Then, allow it to disperse a clean, natural, and therapeutic mist into the air directly from the bottle. Unlike traditional diffusers, it requires no water and can be used anywhere — at home, work, or on the road.

Use it with a bottle of essential oil your choice (think peppermint or cinnamon for the holidays), depending on the aromatherapy benefits desired. Diffusing essential oils can improve breathing, strengthen the immune system, and relax the mind.

Himalayan Salt Lamp ($$)

Himalayan Salt Lamp
Himalayan salt lamps help clean your indoor air. Image:

Got allergies, asthma, the winter blues, or a friend named Debbie Downer? Positive ions could be to blame. These ions are atoms stripped of their electrons and can be attributed to a lowered immune system, feeling down, stressed, irritable, or under the weather. So much for positivity.

Instead, harness the powers of negative ions in your indoor environment and reap the health perks by adding a Himalayan salt lamp to your home or office. Himalayan salt lamps are hand carved from dried seabeds that are 250 million years old. The lamps are available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.

Due to its atomic structure, this crystal salt contains more negative chloride ions than positive sodium ions, hence the emission of negative ions that occurs during the natural ionization process. These lamps draw moisture from the air and, by releasing negative ions back into the air you breathe, they can improve your health and your mood. Himalayan salt cleans your indoor air by neutralizing bacteria, mold, pollen, and other allergens.

But the healthy perks don’t stop there. These salt lamps also increase levels of the mood-boosting chemical, serotonin, to reduce stress and relieve depression, improve eczema, aid in detoxification and sleep, offer pain relief, neutralize electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and remove airborne particles such as dust. How’s that for positive?

AirVisual Pro ($$$)

The AirVisual Pro is a portable and convenient air quality monitor.
The AirVisual Pro is a portable and convenient air quality monitor. Image: IQAir

Have you ever come home from a trip or day at work to find musty, dusty, or stinky air? Or, perhaps you or your loved one suffers from COPD, allergies, asthma, or other respiratory ailments? How can you protect them — and yourself?

Meet the AirVisual Pro by IQAir. AirVisual Pro is a portable and convenient air quality monitor for your home or on the go. In fact, it’s part of the largest air quality monitoring network in the world. It now has “if this, then that” (IFTTT) functionality. IFTTT allows your gadgets, apps, and devices to communicate with each other. The air quality data — including temperature, humidity, CO2, and air quality index (AQI) — from your AirVisual Pro become not just numbers, but tools. They help you detect tiny, invisible threats called microscopic particles that penetrate deep into your lungs and travel to your bloodstream. You’ll be able to identify pollution sources even when you’re not home.

With LED lighting and a rechargeable battery, this monitor can check both indoor and outdoor pollution to measure particulate matter, carbon dioxide, humidity, and temperature. Plus, it’s portable, so you can take it to Aunt Edna’s holiday party or on that family road trip.

The Atem Car Air Purifier ($$$$)

The Atem Car Air Purifier clean your interior air up to 20 times per hour. Image: IQAir

What are you breathing in when you take your kids to school or hit the mall for holiday shopping? Benzene, soot, formaldehyde, VOCs, nitrogen dioxide, bacteria, sulfur dioxide, allergens, and more? Unfortunately, it’s all of these. Research shows that the air inside a car can be up to 15 times more polluted than outside on the road.

So, while you may think traffic fumes don’t affect you inside your vehicle, think again. Over 275 chemicals can be present inside your car at any given time. Many of these ultrafine particles (UFPs), which make up 90 percent of airborne particles, are produced by interior materials and contain toxic chemicals such as phthalates; synthetic hormone-disrupting compounds. Suddenly, red lights and teens fighting over iPads seem like the least of your worries.

The solution? The ultimate car air purifier by IQAir, The Atem Car. Not only is it German-engineered, but it’s sleek, small, and effective. By utilizing IQAir’s revolutionary HyperHEPA Plus filter, the Atem Car will clean your interior air up to 20 times per hour, absorbing gases and odors while converting the pollutants to an oxidized form.

Feature image courtesy of IQAir

By Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres is a healthy home authority, Baubiologist, published author, professional speaker and Telly award-winning media personality who teaches busy people how to eliminate toxins from their home with simple, step-by-step solutions to improve their health. With her husband, Ron, she is the co-founder of The Healthy Home Dream Team and the 30-day online program Change Your Home. Change Your Health. She is the author of the children’s book My Body My House and co-author of Just Green It!: Simple Swaps to Save Your Health and the Planet, Learn to Create a Healthy Home! Green Nest Creating Healthy Homes and The 9 to 5 Greened: 10 Steps to a Healthy Office. Lisa’s TV appearances include "The Rachael Ray Show," "Nightly News with Brian Williams," "TODAY," "The Doctors," "Fox & Friends," "Chelsea Lately" and "The Suzanne Somers Show."