It’s that time of the year again when people are compelled to buy gifts for others to show how much they care about them. Sorry… just channeling my inner Scrooge… as I’ve gotten older I’ve become less & less interested in Christmas, excepting the excitement my small children have at the thought of Santa coming. Both my wife and my family insist on the adults buying presents for each other, though, so I have to come up with a list of things people can buy for me. This is getting harder every year. I thought about putting a Glock 19 on the list (not that anyone would spend that much), but decided my wife would simply redact that entry.
So, I’ve been putting my limited brain power in action trying to come up with some gift ideas that are something I’d really use, and will continue to be useful in coming years no matter what. For me, this has pretty much eliminated most electrical gadgets. It’s not that I think batteries or the power grid will be gone anytime soon… it’s just that I’m on a simplicity kick of sorts. After working on this list, I thought it might be of interest to others who are in a similar situation, so I thought I’d write a post about it.
Anyhoo, this is a short listing of things I’ve come up with. Feel free to add to the listing via comments
- Outdoor clothing. I live in Minnesota, where it gets quite cold for 3-4 months out of the year. I haven’t had a pair of snow pants or long underwear in a hell of a long time since I could always go from warm house to warm car to warm office building. Between longer walking commutes at work and my kid’s anting their dad to play outside with them, I’ve decided that a new set of snow pants and a good hat are in order. I also haven’t owned a true rain jacket in years, so I put that on the list as well.
- Outdoor Equipment. I’ve asked for some fishing equipment, since I live in the land of 10,000 lakes. Nothing fancy, just a basic spinning rod suitable for panfish and walleye and a tackle bag. As much as I enjoy going downrigging for pike & walleye in the fancy boats with GPS, fish finders and the like, it’s just not going to be happening that way for me. I’m trying to build up a good set that I can use for shorefishing. I may also get a compass at some point and learn orienteering again, since my son is in scouting, and I consider GPS to be handy, but ultimately a crutch.
- Saftey Razors. This is mostly for the adult males, I suppose, but I’ve been shaving with an old-fashioned safety razor for a few years now off & on. These razors use the old-fashioned metal blades, so the only piece that needs to be replaced is a thin slice of metal instead of the more modern plastic jobbers. There’s something to be said for holding a solid metal razor and learning how to not cut yourself up. For razors there are a few choices for manufacturers. Merkur makes some tremendous modern razors ranging from the utilitarian to the extravagant. Some people are also paying way too much money to buy 40’s-50’s era vintage Gillette razors on eBay. A couple of places I’ve shopped from and been happy with are Classic Shaving and Lee’s Razors. There are other reputable places online, and there are several vendors of home-made shaving soaps, either glycerin or hard soaps. You can experiment and find what you like.
- Books on gardening, cooking, sustainable building, philosophy, etc. I’ve got a short list here, but there are plenty of other titles out there. Nothing wrong with being an autodidact or learning new ways to take care of yourself in an uncertain future.
- Booze. It’s a consumable, but it’s not another piece of crap to stick in your basement. You drink it, enjoy it, and it’s gone. And then people get to buy you more next year. And, if the shit hits the fan some day, you can barter it for who knows what. And if you’re really creative and don’t mind running afoul of the authorities, you can learn how to make your own.
- Games. There are plenty of board & video games out there. I am talking here about some of the old classics: chess, go, card games, etc. I already own simple chess and go sets. I’m considering asking for a decent backgammon set, since I’ve become hooked on that game. Having a couple of classic old games that are both timeless and easy to store seems like a good deal to me.
- Cooking equipment. I’m partial to cast iron pieces, since they are both cheap and versatile. If you’re going to pick some up, I would spend the extra few bucks for Lodge, Camp Chef or another reputable manufacturer. I personally think Le Creuset and other similar imported brands of ceramic-coated pieces are too expensive. Some useful pieces are a 12″ skillet, a 5-6 quart Dutch Oven, and if you like acidic foods, a less expensive ceramic-coated oven. You can pick most of these items up at places like Fleet Farm, Gander Mountain, or other big-box outdoors stores as well as some household stores. Amazon also carries the entire Lodge line at a discount, and if you buy $25 or so of the stuff, they’ll ship it for free, which is crazy considering how heavy this stuff is.
Those are the items that come to mind so far. What other ideas do you have?