Thank GOODNESS the holidays are nearly here!! I’m happy for the chance to LEAN IN to this joyous season after an unimaginably DIFFICULT year. So here we are, fam. We made it!
I’ve been meaning to share a gift guide for the past several years, and just never got my act together in time to do it! In thinking about my values as 2020 has forced us all to do, things and possessions just aren’t one of them, as I have known about myself for some time. I’m a minimalist at heart and have a if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it attitude (typing this on my iPhone 6s from 2014 ty very much).
A common thread throughout my blog is that experiences > things. So all this to say, these gifts are relatively modest and practical – they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea! I’m putting these into two categories…
Little drummer boy drumroll, please
Gifts for your TRAVEL-Lovin’ Friends, and gifts for the Outdoor Adventurer!! Yee yeee! While 2020 has NOT provided opportunity for travel as I typically think of it, it has provided an abundance of opportunity to social distance in the great outdoors. For me, 2020 has been the year for micro-adventures in my own backyard. Sometimes, we need a pandemic to really intimately get to know the world most immediately surrounding us.
Please remember to buy local when possible!! Check with your local outdoor retailer to see if they carry these items or similar equivalents. I’ll include store names that carry these at the bottom of each item when applicable.
Gifts for the Outdoor Adventurer
Buffs first became an incredibly useful tool in my life while hiking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal in 2015 with my girlfriends. On the drier and dusty terrain, we were advised to use them to prevent ourselves from inhaling debris and developing a cough – something that is prevalent for hikers.
Following 2015, it has become a preferred staple in my gear as it can serve as anything and everything – a face cover, a head band, a neck warmer, and more. My hard-core friends Nate and Kristi recently reminded me that once your neck is warm, the rest of you is pretty warm too.
I only own the standard buffs, but the merino wool ones would make a nice addition to any collection, especially those hoping to hit the slopes this winter!
Buff is offering a 25% off holiday sale through TODAY (Dec 1)! Get on it for your adventure-loving friend.
In Charlottesville, you can find Buffs at Great Outdoor Provisions at Barrack’s Road.
Receptra Natural’s Arnica Cream
So your friend likes to get after it. And they usually come home with some bumps and bruises or aches and pains. This is me when I eat it on the mountain bike trail or wear myself out at the climbing gym (or heck, even nowadays sleep on my neck wrong). This cream is a pain-vanisher. I first used it on my lower back when something that I had tweaked almost a year ago became inflamed again. Perhaps the most amazing part was that shortly after I applied the cream, I just… forgot about my lower back issue. To the point where the next day I reminded myself of my ailment and how just like that the pain and discomfort evaporated.
Receptra Natural’s hemp product is the top of the line, as less than 1% of industrial hemp in the marketplace would qualify for inclusion in their products, and I’m a big fan!
Auto Dog Mug Water Bottle
I don’t typically love single-function items. As a minimalist at heart, I love gifts that are practical and multi-functional. As a new dog mom as of this past September, my parents have been gifting Bentley things here and there – most notably my mom’s handsewn doggie bandanas! (Sadly, not for sale!) Upon receiving this doggie water bottle/drinking bowl 2-in-1, I was rather skeptical. But after our first hike with Bentley – one where I attempted to pour water from my hiking bladder into his collapsable dog bowl, only to have wasted leftover water that Bentley did not drink, or for someone to accidentally step on the bowl – spilling the water, I instantly became a HUGE fan. We now use this on hikes, road trips, and sometimes for short trips to the dog park. Bentley is an easy-going dude and doesn’t think twice about drinking out of this miniature bowl. If you ask me, AutoDogMug NAILS it with the Highwave, Leak-Tight 22oz Portable Water Bottle. I’m not sure who loves it more – Nick, Bentley, or me!
Frameless Backpack (Zomake or Eddie Bauer)
This item is one of the most underrated gifts I have ever received. As someone who frequents the outdoors, I’ve had my share of backpacks – but not one that was compressible and so travel-savvy! My Aunt Kelly gifted me a Zomake Ultra-Light 20L Packable backpack a couple of Christmases ago when she drew my name for Secret Santa. I love this bag because it packs into a weekend bag – a backpacking pack, a duffle, or even a slightly larger backpack, and you’re ready for whatever may be thrown at you!
*Right now, Eddie Bauer’s Stowaway pack is currently 50% off for a whopping $15.
Ok, this Unifury Mug was my first impulse-purchase of the holiday season. And probably my only one, to be honest, because that’s just not my style. But I saw these customizeable animal-inclusive family portrait mugs on Instagram and my heart just melted! I have already passed the gift idea along to three friends who are also proud/new dog momma’s and it’s an instant fav. As you will see on their Instagram account, be sure to order yours by December 5th to ensure delivery prior to Christmas!
Gifts for your Travel-Loving Friend
Eye Mask for your Flight
I’m convinced and very hopeful that travel will begin to resume in 2021. One of my favorite Christmas gifts, gifted to me by my parents prior to my semester abroad, was a Bucky 40 Blinks No-Pressure Eye Mask. This mask is incredibly soft and adjustable. It’s great for sleeping in a shared hostel room, or trying to get some zzz’s on a mid-day flight to your next destination. This could make a great stocking stuffer, or be a wonderful gift for your friend who is beside herself missing travel this year!
Receptra Naturals Tincture
If I had a penny for every time I nearly had an anxious, travel-induced meltdown, I would be a (moderately) wealthy woman. I’ve come to learn this about myself in recent years – that I’m just not the relaxed, easy-going gal that sometimes I think I am – I can slip into that fight-or-flight mode rather quickly.
With 2020 being the year that it was, I’ve begun using Receptra Naturals’ CBD tincture to steady my rampant mind and body, and it has been fantastic. Although I haven’t had the opportunity yet to travel with it, I have no doubt that this would prevent me from being lock-jaw on a bumpy flight – imagining how it’s going to end, or spiraling into ideas about how to report a missing friend who is 30 minutes late to our meeting spot at the appointed bus station.
Conveniently, hemp-derived CBD is the only type of CBD that is legal in most countries. Alternatively, Receptra Naturals makes a broad-spectrum product rather than a full-spectrum product where the trace amounts of THC found in the normal product is pulled out. This version of the product is what my partner, Nick, has been using throughout his training in the fire academy. At the least, you could say it’s been a stressful and anxiety-filled time crawling into tight spaces and getting comfortable in smoking, burning buildings!
My favorite product is Receptra Natural’s Seriously Relax + Lavender Tincture. Don’t miss their offers – 40% off site wide through Dec 2, or 15% off your first order when it’s not Cyber Monday!
Personal Alarm System
This is the perfect gift for the solo-female traveler. My parents gave this to me prior to my semester working abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece, and although I never needed to use it, it gave me incredible peace of mind.
My particular alarm system was purchased from The Container Store, but the most similar alarm that I can find is SABRE’S Personal Alarm with Clip-On & LED Light. This alarm will startle you – even when you’re expecting it (it’s that LOUD). Better safe than sorry is one of my mantras, and if you need to buy some time or cause a scene, this will certainly do that!
This is a fabulous gift for a college student traveling across campus after a late class, the friend that loves to solo-hike or go on early morning or late night runs, and just a general security system.
That’s it friends! Hope this gives you some shopping ideas, and do remember that it’s never about the gifts!