With the onset of the holiday season, it is time to begin thinking about how we are going to spend both our precious time and money to ensure that we make the most of the spirit of the season.
In my own household, things are a bit up in the air. Although our tradition is not to exchange gifts, spending quality time with each other is most definitely a tradition. Rain or shine (which is very rare in Western Washington this time of year), we take a walk along the beautiful shoreline of San Juan Island and spend hours in front of the fire reading, playing board games, and sipping good wine. We also munch on chocolate; again, the good stuff.
Your own holiday tradition may include 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.
Each of these items is something I own myself and is something that is included with my own preps. There are also some DIY, almost zero cost, items as well. I don’t know about you, but often times it is those handmade gifts that are the most special. Even cards. But I suppose that is a story for another time.
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, making them the perfect stocking stuffer.
Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: I first learned about Blocklites from a reader. I am impressed with how long they will run on a single, 9V battery. I now own 8 of these spread out in drawers, 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 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. By the way, it is current #1 on Amazon in the category Key Chain Flashlights.
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. They can be used for dozens of jobs: opening cans, cutting a straight edge, cleaning grooves, screw driver, fingernail cleaner, seam ripper and many, many more practical uses. For a couple of bucks, they are a good deal for very little money.
Windstorm Safety Whistle: When being heard is a matter of safety or even life and death, you want a whistle that is not only loud but can be heard for a long distance. This particular whistle is not the cheapest one out 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 well 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
DIY Healing Salve: As far as I am concerned, a gift of a jar or two of handcrafted healing salve should be the top gift on this list. You can make it yourself using these instructions than pass along the directions so that the recipient can continue the tradition.
Homemade baked goods: Who can resist the temptation of homemade baked goods. 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. I know that I can’t. 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.
Something chocolate: I don’t know anyone who would not appreciate the gift of chocolate. Make something yourself go for something as simple as a pouch of chocolate kisses. Either way, you will be loved for it!
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 LifeStraw Family that will purify up to 12 liters per hour.
SolarBag Water Purifier: The SolarBag is an easy to use water purification system that is lightweight and portable. Where it really excels is in removing a broad range of contaminants from water including chemicals and metals. Plus, the SolarBag can be used hundreds of times. It takes up very little space and is an excellent solution for purifying water for drinking, hygiene, and family use.
Note: For special discount pricing of $70 with free shipping, use code BDS70 (or BDS6PACK for 6 solar bags) at the top of the checkout page through this link only.
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 like and don’t like, feature-wise, before you invest in something more pricey. Even then, perhaps the OSO Sweet will work out so well that it will become your #1 blade with no upgrade needed.
Light My Fire Titanium Spork: A “spork” is a spoon-knive-fork combination utensil. I have wanted one of these for the longest time so I finally ordered one. I chose the titanium over non-BPA plastic because I thought it would be more durable.
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.
Solo Stove: I personally own three solo stoves. They are compact yet well-built and perfect for cooking off-grid with just a bit of biomass. This is one item that you should gift to yourself if you do not have one already.
Cast Iron Skillet with Hot Handle Holder: Likewise, I feel that everyone should own a basic, 12” cast iron skillet. In spite of the myth, they are easy to care for and over time, will become a family heirloom. On grid or off grid, cooking with cast iron is the way to go.
The Healing Gift of Essential Oils
Spark Natural Essential 4 Pack: This 4 pack includes some of the most popular essential oils for everyday use, including lavender, peppermint, melaleuca, and lemon. Another option is the “Health and Wellness” kit that comes packaged in a tin and includes a brochure with suggested uses for each of the oils. As kits, these oils are already discounted but as an added bonus, you get an additional 10% off with discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.
ZAQ Noor Diffuser: Of my three diffusers, this is my favorite and is therefore the one I recommend for gift giving. It puts out a strong, fragrant mist that is both soothing and healing.
Essential Oils Desk Reference 6th Edition: This is the ultimate gift for the essential oil lover in your life. I thought long and hard before purchasing this book myself, but once I did, I was so grateful I took the leap. The information is cross referenced in many ways making it easy to find what you are looking for. When searching for a particular remedy, you may see multiple oils listed and any will work but they are presented in order of typical efficacy. The nice thing is that if you do not have #1 on hand, you can move down the list. I have found the recommendations to be spot on.
Just for the Fun of It
Conflicted: Conflicted is a survival card game designed to make you think. Four different decks are currently available with more to come.
Ticket to Ride: When it comes to board games, this is my favorite. (It helps that I usually win.) This is fun for the entire family. Warning, you and your gift recipient will become addicted and will often ask the question: Want to play train aka “ticket to ride”?
Survival, Prepping and Books on Self-Sufficiency
The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster: There have been so many great books released this year that picking the best one for gift giving was difficult. I have selected Prepper’s Blueprint because it represents a soup to nuts approach to preparedness while at the same time sets aside both fear and panic.
Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage: This modestly priced book is about food: What to store, how to store it and best practices. It is a roadmap for showing ordinary citizens that long-term food storage is not something that will overwhelm or burden the family budget. I wrote this book and am proud of it. It will make a great gift!
The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way: This book teaches how to deal with all the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation, 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.
If All Else Fails – The Gift Card
The Final Word
Is it just my imagination or did the 2014 holiday frenzy start early this year? As I recall, I was seeing holiday decorations as early as October which tells me that retailers are anxious to begin separating you from your wallet. Likewise, I noticed that many preparedness and survival websites rolled out gift guides two weeks ago. What’s with that?
Let me simply say this. I offer this gift guide as a convenience to you with recommendations that come from my first hand experience using each and every item. At the end of the day, over and beyond giving material goods, think about giving of yourself and giving of your heart.
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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