Prepping is a lifestyle, so incorporating the holidays into it makes sense. I’m not suggesting you serve freeze dried ham for Christmas dinner or heat to the range on Christmas Eve, but if you are in a prepper family, you can give gifts that help improve your preparedness. Holiday gift giving can be an excellent opportunity to improve your prepping position while also giving your loved one something useful.
Here are a few suggestions:
Spread a Little Light at Christmas
I love a good tactical flashlight with rechargeable 18650 batteries and I don’t think you can have too many. When the power goes out, whether it’s for a few hours or a few years, a good flashlight and a solar panel to recharge your batteries will be a boon. Lighting a dark area will make you productive after the sun goes down, help you move about safely, identify what that noise was, and comfort you and yours in the middle of the night. They are also far safer and brighter than candles and oil lanterns or other devices that rely on an open flame.
Flashlights come in a range of sizes, price points, and power, so you can pick and choose based on the recipient. If you need stocking stuffers for the kids, get them an inexpensive model from Walmart. For adults who are tactical, get a nice tactical light that is at least 800 lumens, waterproof, and impact resistant. For someone who works with their hands, a headlamp might be best. Lanterns are my least favorite lighting device, but they are great for common areas like the kitchen or living room.
The best lights are those with adjustable brightness so you can dial in the amount of light needed for any situation. Powerful lights can be useful, but they also burn through batteries at a rapid rate. Setting the light on a dimmer setting extends battery life. When it is pitch dark, a low setting like 20 lumens is enough to navigate a room.
A Sharp Gift Idea
I think a pocket knife is also a great gift. I got my first one at age 10; it was a thick Swiss Army type of knife with far too many tools to be useful, but it thrilled me at the time. After college, I purchased a Spyderco, which was my first one-hand opening knife and my first serious blade. Since then, I have carried folders by CRKT, Ken Onion, Cold Steel, Emerson, and others.
I feel you can get a pretty good knife for $40 to $65 and a darn nice one for $70 to $150. Anything above that and you are probably paying for the brand name, the knife designer, a special grade of steel, or the cost of being made in the USA. My problem with expensive knives is that I tend to lose them.
For gift giving, avoid knives with plastic parts, bright colors, or gimmicks like replaceable blades. For a youngster, an alternative to my old Swiss Army knife would be a traditional folder from the likes of Case or Buck. These look like a knife a Boy Scout might have used in the mid-1900s to whittle something.
For adults, pick a knife sized to their lifestyle. If the recipient wears dress slacks or a suit, for example, you don’t want to give them a heavy knife as it will weigh down their pocket. For someone who works outdoors, choose a knife that can be opened one-handed with a blade that is large enough to take some abuse without fear of breaking it. For women, consider whether they will want a smaller blade or a pink knife, or if that will offend them. If you know little about knives, find a store that specializes and ask their sales staff for assistance.
Food Preservation Gifts
I will not recommend giving the lady in your life a kitchen appliance unless you know she would be enthusiastic about it. If she is, however, there are a number of hand-crank or other labor-saving manual devices that would be useful for food prep after the SHTF and for food storage before an emergency. Examples include a dehydrator, a grain mill, a Victorio food strainer, the Foodsaver vacuum sealer, or a pressure canner. For hunters, consider a meat grinder or butchering tools. Another gift idea is cast iron cookware, which can you can use now on the stove and later over a fire.
More Expensive Gifts
You can spend a ton of money on prepping. Expensive gifts for preppers include things like dual fuel generators, large solar generators like the Ecoflow Delta Max, solar power systems, a freeze drier, multiple guns, cases of ammunition, dedicated prepper vehicles and even underground bunkers.
I don’t recommend spending more than $1,000 on a prepper gift unless you have the basics covered, including at least a year’s worth of food, water, shelter, medical, and weapons. Only when you reach this stage of your prepper journey, should you be spending large chunks of change on a single item. When spending the big bucks, you may want to consult with your spouse or partner before breaking the bank.
Give an Experience or Training
Consider give an experience as a family gift such as sleeping bags for everyone and the promise of a week-long camping trip after school lets out.
When I took my kids camping or backpacking, I considered it prepper training. They just considered it fun. We had to cook food over an open fire or on a small backpack stove, sleep in a sleeping bag on a thin cushion in a tent, pee in the woods, and use flashlights after dark. We had to put up with adverse weather, live on what we could carry on our backs, and hike for miles. Good training for bugging out.
Firearms training course are also useful experiences that make splendid gifts for adults. Multi-day courses taught by national experts can be costly, but there are less expensive alternatives out there. One is Project Appleseed, which trains rifle marksmen but also offers pistol courses. My kids attended these two-day events using 22 caliber rifles when they were in their early teens.
You can also go to prepper conferences and shows or farm and homestead visits with an educational component. These can be a fun family vacation that also helps you prep.
Use your imagination and get someone a prepping gift this year.