Mich??le Samarya-Timm: Handwashing for the holidays

Michéle of Jersey’s own Franklin Township Health Department – represent – writes in this guest blog that her Christmas shopping for 2009 (yes, 2009) is well on its way.  

As I get creative with my gifts, I often find things that put a fun spin on gift giving – while still spreading a positive handwashing message.

So whether you are thinking of next year’s holidays…or very belatedly catching up on this one, perhaps some unique musings on present possibilities may help you give the gift of health to your loved ones.   

Consider the following:

(1) The Florida Department of Health encourages giving the Gift of Wellness to your local school.
The “Perfect Classroom Gift” includes tissues, hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap and hand wipes.  Don’t have a kid in school?….Seems that these items (and their active use) would be a perfect gift to combat any office hacking, sniffling, wheezing and dripping.

(2) Fisher Price has a doll that pees (nothing unusual there),  poops (yup, dolls do that too) and  talks about handwashing??! The company touts:   Just like a real toddler, the Gotta Go Doll goes both “number 1” (and “number 2!”) on her very own small potty, but, unlike real toddlers, there is no mess and no water—just realistic sights and sounds! The doll can flush and knows to wash her hands.   I played with it in Kmart…she really does say I gotta wash my hands.


Now only if a toy manufacturer can create a toy to teach adults to handwash.

(3) Are you a creative sort?  How about spending those cozy winter evenings stitching a decorative handwashing reminder?  Handcrafted items still surely are treasured gifts…and these may help put all those guest soaps to good use.

(4) How do you handle those who wish a gift of good old fashioned cash?  You can give a gift of soap with an unknown denomination of currency inside…the best way to ensure that the recipient won’t play with dirty money.

(5)  Want something a little more fun?  How about buying (or making) real working snowglobes made of soap?  I don’t know what happens when you lather your way to the center…but certainly will be good clean fun to find out.

(6) Sending greetings electronically?  The California Department of Public Health and the UC Men’s Octet has an extended play holiday handwashing jingle and video that will have you singing at the sink all winter long.

(7) Is handwashing humor more your style?   Clip handwashing comics all year long for a happy handwashing montage. Or search the Internet for some handwashing humor from up and coming artists.  Here’s a start.

(8) Reading this blog?  Then you must buy quantities of the Don’t Eat Poop shirt for yourself and loved ones. (Thank me later, Doug!) Don’t Eat Poop shirts come in four of the hippest languages around: English, Chinese, French and Spanish. They are a bargain at $20 per shirt (who can put a price on spreading the message of safety?) and come in a variety of sizes.  Somehow I think infant and toddler sizes may not be too far off. 

But the best gift of all only takes 20 seconds…so wash your hands (with soap!), and enjoy a Healthier New Year.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time