You’ve enjoyed a year of being better prepared and living more self-reliantly. Now is the season to share and help others start on the road to self-reliance. There’s a preparedness gift for just about every age and experience level. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Share from the year’s abundance
Hopefully this has been a good year for you: a bountiful garden, lots of new skills learned, a full pantry, a happy and healthy family. Why no share some of this bounty with your friends and family? Gifts from the kitchen are always welcome: home-canned jams, jellies, salsas and chutneys. Using whole wheat and honey from your pantry storage,
you might give something like homemade bread, cookies or pies.
On a limited budget? How about giving a coupon to help someone learn a new self-reliant skill such as canning, sewing, knitting, fishing or hunting? Or you can share some seeds from your garden.
Consider giving something that will put your loved ones firmly on the path to preparedness.
For young children:
- A BOB (Bug Out Bag) for school: A kit to see them home if a disaster strikes.
- Clip-on or Headlamp: Who doesn’t love reading under the covers? It’s a perfect for both reading in bed and emergencies.
- Seed-starting kit: Give them a love for the science and art of gardening. This is a cool set that lets kids watch the roots develop. And here’s another set that let’s them start a garden indoors and learn all the sciencey stuff behind gardens.
- Soap making kit: A fun craft that makes a very useful product.
- Emergency plug-in light: Get one that turns on when the power goes outs.
For older children:
- Camping gear: Fun for camping or Scouts and can be used during an emergency. Check out this unique modern mess kit: compact and stylish. Any youth would love to have this.
- Martial arts or self-defense classes: Teach your children how to defend themselves.
- Sewing, knitting or crocheting lessons and supplies: Learn a useful skill that fosters creativity.
- Walkie talkies: Fun to play with and very useful if the phones go out. This is a review of the top 10 walkie talkie values.
Young Families or those just getting started with preparedness:
- Food Storage Starter kit: Six #10 cans of food storage basics from lds.org.
- Mini emergency kits: Perfect for car or office. Make your own or buy online.
- Gardening or canning supplies:: Gardening and food preservation are the foundation of any good preparedness plan. Here’s my list of the most useful canning supplies.
- Family First Aid Kit: Every family should have one. The Coleman First Aid kit is reasonably priced and pretty well-stocked. But if you want to get the very best, most complete kit, you want to look at the Ever Ready First Responder Kit. Several prepper sites give it high marks.
- Dehydrator or food sealer: These are two of my favorite (and most used) tools for storing food. My absolute favorite is the Excalibur Dehydrator. It dries the best, is quieter than most, has a large capacity and is very durable. I’ve had mine for almost 20 years and use it year-round. But look around–there are cheaper models that will work fine. See my chart comparing the pros and cons of different dehydrators here.
- Emergency lighting and/or heat: When the power goes out, heat and light suddenly become the most important things. Make sure the loved ones in your life don’t have to worry about that. There are so many lighting options, but I like those with solar or wind-up power (no flames! Open flames can be so dangerous, especially if young children are around.) This one is very affordable and compact and gets high reviews. This lantern costs a bit more but is powered three ways: electric charge, hand crank or solar.The Mr. Heater is my favorite back-up heater. It is compact, affordable and has an automatic shut-off. If the heater is tips over or there are dangerous CO levels in the room, it automatically shuts off..
You can’t go wrong with books. Here are some good books for children:
- The Long Winter: (from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder) Laura’s family struggles to survive the worst winter anyone has seen.
- The American Boys Handbook: Written at the turn of the century (the 20th century, that is), it has chapters on kite flying and fishing, rigging and sailing small boats, camping out without a tent, knot-tying for mountain climbing, and more. It will challenge and entertain your children.
- The Dangerous Book for Boys: is along the same line, covering essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north and much more.Ignore the titles of these two books. Both of these books are great for boys or girls.
But if you want something specifically for girls, there’s:
- The Daring Book for Girls: It’s not just sewing buttonholes and tea parties. This book includes female heroes in history, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, performing the perfect cartwheel and much more. preparedness and it is a gift that will bless someone’s life for years to come.
Books for adults:
- 77 Days in September: An entertaining fictional account of a man who tries to get back to his family after an EMP cripples the nation and all the hardships he, his family and his community have to overcome.
- Lights Out by Ted Koppel: “One of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.” And now that it’s in paperback it’s a very affordable gift.
- The Prepper’s Instruction Manual: A step-by-step guide for preparing for a disaster. This is good book for those who are just getting started.
- Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook: The most comprehensive book on the topic, a favorite among preppers for years.
Need more ideas?
If this list doesn’t help, check out my personal Christmas Wish List for some of my favorite things.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to help someone get started with preparedness. Give your loved ones a gift that will bless their life for years to come.