Just a bit ago, I posted about slightly big holiday gifts that you could get, that would encourage your kids to brave the winter and get outside. But they were all a bit expensive. Without commenting on the various levels of gift giving and grousing on philosophically, here are some smaller, “stocking stuffer” (what would the Hanukkah version of this be? Anyone?) gift ideas.
- The thermometer/compass zipper pull. Does the compass really work? Probably not. Is the thermometer accurate when it’s that close to your body? Not really. But they’re infinitely more useful than a small piece of pseudo-climbing-rope, aren’t they?
- Their close cousin, the L.E.D. light zipper pull (from Nite Ize). Not exactly a flood light, but when it gets truly dark, these things are AMAZING compared to… well, nothing. Or the aforementioned piece of “rope.”
- Titanium Spork. The beauty of something like this is that it takes something the recipient takes for granted (the silverware for a given meal) and makes them more aware of their life. “Hey, it’s my spork! Cool!” My favorite is Snow Peak, but also be aware of the Light My Fire polycarbonate spoon/fork (there’s a difference—look at the link).
- Magazine Subscription. In a way, it’s the ultimate downer of a gift (get the lastest issue to give them!) since they can’t see it, but in the immortal words of Cousin Eddie, “that there’s the gift that keeps on giving, Clark.” If I may add, it teaches the recipient about delayed gratification, as well. If you’re wily, a year’s worth of reading can cost less than $10 this time of year.
- And while we’re on the subject of gifts that aren’t particularly fun… That aside, you should consider things like Charitable Donations and Memberships. These can be fantastically teachable moments… (but I wouldn’t make it someone’s only gift—especially a child).
- Weird gifts that aren’t commonly available always make wonderful stocking stuff. Like the hand cleaner from bicycle parts maker Phil Wood. Ask your local bike mechanic about it. Then order it here (because I can almost guarantee the shop doesn’t sell it).
- The Survival Bracelet. I include it as a representative sample of those quirky, odd but possibly life saving gifts. Still not sure how a bunch of very strong string can save your life, but it couldn’t hurt. Also consider fire-starting paraphernalia in this category.
This should be more than enough to get you started. I must say, though—despite my anti-philosophizing promises—that those ducks make all these other suggestions sound shallow. Way to go, ducks!