Saturday, November 16, 2013

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Prepper Gifting

I was perusing a pretty lifestyle blog recently (one fairly new to me so I forget the title) and the blogger mentioned giving a package of AA batteries as hostess gifts at Christmas last year.  They were a huge hit and as she said, they all had enough scented candles.  (Although can one really have enough scented candles? But that question is for another day...)  Anyway, what an excellent idea for a teacher's gift, too.

But that reminded me of suggestions I used to make long ago when I was a part of an emergency preparedness website.  That was to use the Holidays as an excuse to provide friends and loved ones with some practical preparedness gifts... what we now call "prepping".

I am always surprised by how many people I know who either do not have a flashlight in their home or if they do... have not checked the batteries since the last power outage.  Now, in my case that would only be a few months ago but if one does not live in an area where squirrels are known to bite down on the wrong wires... that may be years ago.

While people may not get all excited if a good quality flashlight is their only gift, it provides an opportunity to give (along side what their heart desired) as a little "extra".  They will love having it if a storm knocks out the electricity after the sun goes down.  And if your budget allows, it can actually be a fairly sophisticated light source that will fascinate even the youngest among you.

I plan to give a couple of those pictured above this year.  They are inexpensive but I have read they are quite sturdy.  Associate Amazon link is... here.   Yes, it is a shameless plug.  ;)

Actually, kids love things like flashlights, and helmets with lights on them, and emergency radios, and real tools.  We gave Christopher his own toolbox with a few inexpensive... but REAL tools when he was around nine or ten years old.  As he grew older, he'd receive a couple better quality tools to go in his toolbox each year until by the time he left for his own apartment, he had a good collection.

We gave both our children a good quality Swiss Army knife when they were old enough.  These days you have to be careful where you carry them, though.  Even if they are at a university.  Such is life today...

This Christmas one can include a NOAA weather alert radio with the other gifts for one's family.  If the budget allows, a real honest to goodness emergency radio would wow just about anyone... especially guys who like gadgets.  For it has everything from the proverbial weather alert radio to a solar power source to the ability to charge your cell phone to... a radio to listen to music.  Some more expensive models can pick up short wave stations.

But every family should have some kind of a battery operated radio should the electricity go out.  One does not want a storm raging outside and not be able to hear their local station.  This is the one I'm giving this year (to someone who does  not read my blog)... here.  Yes, you guessed it... it is an Associate's link.  I am so bad...  But I also know not everyone has researched pantry lifestyle gifts.

It's a little harder to give a family prepper type foods.  While I'd love to receive freeze dried packets of lovely long term storage food for my pantry, not everyone would get all that excited about it.

But... I don't know anyone who wouldn't appreciate some of those gift foods we've talked about before that do not require refrigeration.  And receiving homemade jam or preserves have been known to make our household downright giddy (we just opened the last jar a friend gave us).

Here are some prepper style gift ideas to spark your own brainstorming...

*Assemble a sewing kit for the non-sewer (good scissors, needles, thread, etc.)
*A basket of some food items and throw in a high quality non-electric can opener.  (This is one area where you get what you pay for.)
*Solar battery charger that also charges cell phones, etc.
*Paraffin liquid emergency candles (comes in a glass jar and are safer than wax candles)
*Or... sturdy American made nonscented candles (our laws are supposed to prevent toxic elements in candles).  Allergy sensitive people may need soy or beeswax candles.  Why nonscented candles?  I still recall as a young married having a power outage with only a heavily scented candle to burn for light. 
*Or... a pretty flameless candle, especially good for apartment dwellers and families with small kids or kittens.
*Old fashioned board games should the electricity go out.
*Camping equipment. 
*A warm and cozy throw for the sofa.
*Gloves... whether inexpensive gardening gloves or heavy duty work gloves, one never seems to have enough.
*An emergency car kit.  Hubby won such a kit at a workplace party long ago and it proved to be invaluable a number of times.

Really, all you have to do is think of what you would like to have on hand if one were in the midst of a winter storm and home bound.  These are all options a prepper person would enjoy and those who laugh at prepping probably would not return.

You know... a stealth way of making certain someone you care for has at least an emergency light on hand.

If a loved one is a true prepper and one has the finances available, a Berkey is a wonderful gift... here.  We actually had one of these at one time and used it constantly.  We still have it but we need to eventually buy new filters as our old ones broke during the move.


Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda! Thank you so much for this list :-) I am getting the flashlights for my grown kids and I am sure my grandsons would love it too.
I have a solar/ crank radio but where is it...... Time to get organized before the snowstorms begin.
Blessings, dee

Terra said...

These are excellent gift ideas; I like the idea of a helmet with a flashlight on it for kids, and we have a battery operated radio. As you said, useful in emergencies.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

What really great ideas!


Anonymous said...

We watch out for the Harbor Freight ads. They are all over in magazines and newspaper or mail supplements. They often have a coupon for 20 -25% off a product and also a freebee. Often the freebee with any purchase is a little flashlight with batteries included. They are good flashlights. They too have good deals on flashlights on sale and on top of that you can use the coupon! Thanks for all the good ideas. Even if they do not prep they may camp or need such in emergencies. What a good idea! A gift that keeps on giving and will not be just given away or not used! Thanks again. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such Great ideas! Now you got me thinking about a "prepper" or emergency type gift basket I could put together for my daughter who lives in a tiny apt. She already has lots of candles. We just recently gave her a butane lighter and her Dad gave her one of our flashlights. We also have battery-powered camping lanterns. They have come in handy during power outages. Last year (or maybe it was the year before?) we gave both our daughter and daughter-in-law a box of "Little Hotties" foot and hand warmers for Christmas. They Loved them! Have you seen the Youtube video of how to heat a small room with two clay flower pots and tea light candles? I thought that was clever and something that could come in really handy in an extended power outage.
One Christmas Eve the power went out at our big family gathering at our niece's. She lit all the candles and had enough flashlights to give to all the children! They had a ball with them! Made for fun memories for sure!
Thanks again for sharing your wonderful ideas!
Laura C.

Karen Andreola said...

I cut out some fabric squares for a piecing kit with a long-distance friend in mind.

Gloves - work gloves, driving gloves, etc. are nice and practical.

All our extended family live away. My daughter bakes biscotti for them. I like to give food gifts too because they are consumable, but mailing them takes extra care.

My knitted wool mittens for the little ones in the family, are appreciated by their moms. I've two pair to make in time for this Christmas. Nothing fancy - but betting the size just right can be tricky.

Good day,
Karen A.

Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
I loved your post today! So many good suggestions for gift giving. Years ago 245affec my son got me a really good flashlight and I still use it, I would never have bought it for myself! Have a great week end Love and Hugs, Nana

Camp Mac said...

Hello dear Brenda! So lovely to be catching up on your love love the new banner and your motto! This is a wonderful post...such good ideas all! Mike is obsessed with flashlights so that really caught my eye ;).

Also, you don't need to be a prepper to appreciate the Big Berkey water filter! We've had one for about three years now because our city water is terrible tasting! We all drink a lot of water at our house and large bottled water goes VERY fast, gets very expensive (and the small bottles are even more expensive, fill the trash bins/landfills to ridiculous proportions not to mention the BPA factor). We finally got to the point where it was getting tedious, and a bit exhausting refilling our 5 gallon bottles. The Berkey has saved us so much money and the convenience has been phenomenal! I keep it on the counter next to the sink and just use our pull-out faucet/sprayer to refill! The filter cartridges last forever...the average is about a year depending on the amount of water you filter, obviously ;). Ours lasted significantly longer than a year...using it a lot. We could tell it needed changing when the chloride smell was still in the filtered water! The best part is that the stainless steel version looks so nice in our kitchen and will last and last! I did invest in the clear glass indicator spigot as it lets me know at a glance if we need to refill!

Thanks so much for all you do to share your observations, good ideas and gentle thoughts. Sending good thoughts your way, as always.
P.S. I will be using your emergency basket idea for my Dad's Christmas gift this year!