The frenzy of the holiday season is upon us. Or I should say some of us. For years, the holiday season in my own household has been quiet. We spend the days leading up to the end of December doing enjoyable activities together such as reading by the fireplace or playing board games. That is our tradition and it is right for us.
For others, the holiday tradition includes parties, festive meals, decorations and the exchange of gifts, large and small. To help you with the gifting tradition – and especially the small gifts – I have come up with a holiday gift guide to help you select the perfect gift for loved ones close to you.
Bring on the Stocking Stuffers (under $10)
Most of these items you have seen before. They are extremely popular, work well, and are low in cost.
Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: One of my readers (James) claimed that these work great. So I bought one. Then I bought another. All told, I now have 8 of these spread out in drawers, in emergency kits, the car, everywhere. This is my number one pick for a small, but effective flashlight.
As an alternative, consider the itty, bitty Streamlight Nano Light Keychain LED Flashlight. This little itty bitty flashlight is extremely small and light weight yet it will throw off a decent amount of super-bright light. At just .36 ounces and 1.47 inches long, it will take up a minimum of space in your pocket or bag.
Paracord Survival Bracelet, Keychain or Lanyard: Take your pick. Why a paracord bracelet or other accessory? So you always have some of this useful cord on your person. I happen to have all three but my favorite is the Paracord Lanyard that holds my whistle.
GI P38 & P51 Can Opener Combo Pack: This is one of the army’s greatest tools. Can be used for dozens of jobs. Makes a great can opener, cutting edge, groove cleaner, screw drive, clean finger nails, open seams and many, many more practical uses.
Windstorm Safety Whistle: When being heard is a matter of safety or even life and death. you want a whistle that is no only loud but that can be heard for a long distance. This particular whistle is not the cheapest on our there but I have proven to myself that this particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds. (It pairs nicely with the Paracord Lanyard.)
Survivor Outdoor Fixed Blade Knife with Fire Starter: This knife measures 7 inch long overall, has a full-tang stainless steel blade, is equipped with thick green cord-wrap handle, and has a nylon sheath plus a magnesium-alloy fire starter. How does it work? This is not a Kershaw, Gerber or other high quality blade. On the other hand, the fire starter works great (better than great) and is worth the price entire set.
Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener: I wrote about this is in the article The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money. It sharpens everything from pocket knives to kitchen blades. Very portable and easy to use.
SE BT20 9-Volt Battery Tester: I do not know anyone that is sorry they purchased or gifted an inexpensive battery tester. Mine sits in my desk drawer and is used 3 or 4 times a week.
Other Gifts for under $10
Homemade baked goods: Who can resist the temptation of homemade baked goods? I know that I can’t. This includes cookies, candies, pies, cakes and even artisan breads. Nothing beats the love that goes into something that is made by your own two hands. Candles: Emergency candles are inexpensive yet well received. These candles from Emergency Essentials are perfect, even when there is no emergency.
Preserved memories: Do you have a digital photo that represents a cherished moment with a special someone? Consider memorializing the event and the moment by having the photo printed – then frame it yourself.
DIY Laundry Soap or Household Cleaners: Be sure to include the recipe and perhaps the raw materials so your gift recipient can carry on the DIY tradition. Did you know that many “converts” to DIY cleaning products began with a gift that someone gave them?
Coffee, tea or hot chocolate: Select some gourmet coffee, organic tea, or rich hot chocolate and package it up in a mason jar or fancy mug wrapped in cellophane and a bow. Your gift recipient will think of you every time they take a sip.
Windowsill garden: Pick up a few small plants or herbs and group them together on a plate that can be wrapped with cellophane at the last minute. The herbs, especially will be a welcome addition to any kitchen.
Hand warmers: Reusable hand warmers would make a great gift for folks living in colder parts of the country.
Prepping and Survival Gear
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and weighs only 2oz. It works quickly, taking roughly 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the filter. It’s ultra-light and inexpensive but effective. There is also the new, LifeStraw Family that will purify up to 12 liters per hour.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife: The sky is the limit when it comes to survival knives. For the beginner, or someone on a budget, a decent quality, all purpose knife is what you need until you have a chance to use it and learn what you you like and don’t like, feature-wise, before you invest in something more pricey.
Leatherman Wave Multi-tool: I did an informal poll on Facebook and asked fans to weigh in on their favorite multi-tool. The number one pick was the Leatherman Wave followed by the Wingman and the Supertool 300. Over 120 of you offered your opinion and ultimately, I chose the Wave for myself.
Spark Naturals Essential Oils: This “Health and Wellness Kit” comes packaged in a tin and includes a brochure with suggested uses for each of the oils. It includes all of my favorites, including Lemon, Frankincense, Oregano, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Rosemary, Lavender, Amend (Soothing Blend), Respire (Respiratory Blend), Shield (Protective Blend), and Peppermint. Use the discount code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” to receive a 10% discount.
Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: This nicely built charger will charge charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box. Yes it really works, even under solar power.
EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove: Burning twigs and pinecones, this stove will cook a big pot of rice in under 20 minutes. The stove is solidly built and will burn charcoal as well. There is also a version that only burns biomass for slightly less money. Mr. Heater Portable “Big Buddy” Heater: Using propane and safe for indoor use, the Big Buddy Heater features an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system that automatically turns the unit off before carbon monoxide fumes reach dangerous levels in home.
The Gift of Food Storage
Mountain House Food Buckets: Mountain House Buckets range from Essential to Classic Assortment Buckets and provide up to 32 servings per pack. The buckets are easy to store and the food from Mountain House is delicious. You might want to add some “Astronaut” Neapolitan Ice Cream Bars as well. They may great snacks!
Emergency Essentials Freeze Dried Combo Assortments: Everything from entrees, to fruits to veggies – pick the combo that you like best. I can attest to the quality, especially the fruits and vegetables since I use them for day to day eating as well as long term storage. Be sure to watch for the specials; many are fantastic!
Survival, Prepping and Books on Self-Sufficiency
Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: Of all of my books, this is one of the few I go back to over and over again for inspiration and motivation. Clara is in her 90s and I hope she lives another 100 years! If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.
The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way: The book will teaches how to deal with all the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation, and including strategies to keep your family healthy even in the worse scenarios. It covers skills such as performing a physical exam, transporting the injured patient, and even how to suture a wound. This medical reference belongs in every survival library.
The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Baking bread from scratch for the first time has got to be one of the most rewarding things a new prepper can do to feel self-sufficient. This book will make it easy and will be a welcome holiday gift for both the new and more experience bread maker.
If All Else Fails – The Gift Card
The Final Word
I am certain that you are going to be bombarded with all kinds of emails, advertisements and inducements to get you to buy stuff this holiday season. At the end of the day I want you to remember this: the greatest gift you can give yourself is a debt-free life. You may not be there yet, but with prudent spending this holiday season, you will be a lot closer than those who max out their credit cards during this time of year.
There is still time to prepared some handcrafted gifts and to bake some goodies. Be creative, enjoy the love and friendship that about this time of year and have a fun, and stress-free gift giving experience.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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