In a world that is becoming increasingly more dangerous, why don’t you start some new holiday traditions this year to take care of the ones you love? The gift of preparedness will be valuable well after the Christmas lights are taken down. In fact, some gentle nudges now might just save someone’s life later.
Even if your friends and family aren’t on board with preparedness,
The Gift of Self-Defense
A good friend of mine recently told me that in light of all of the recent attacks on the 2nd Amendment, her goal this year was to give the gift of self-defense to those on her list. I loved the idea so much I wanted to pass it on to you! Here are some gifts to help friends and family protect themselves.
#1. Self-defense classes: Kickboxing, Muy Thai, or basic self-defense classes have many benefits. Not only are they a fun activity and great exercise, but you can learn how to protect yourself. Give someone a gift certificate to a class in their area.
#2. Tasers and Stun Guns: This little stun gun packs a lot of power into a pretty pink case that will easily fit into a purse. This one is heavy duty and combines a flashlight with a taser – it would be good for a car glovebox or beside the bed. Look for a voltage of above a million or the only effect it will have is irritation. You want this to drop an attacker in his tracks. Again, with life-saving items like these, don’t go bargain-basement shopping. Look for quality. Both of the ones suggested here can be recharged.
#3. Keychain defense item: Here’s another great stocking stuffer. These items can be slipped over your fingers when you feel uncomfortable and provide sharp points for striking an attacker. You can find then in a cute kitty design or a ferociously adorable bulldog design.
#4. Shooting lessons: Do you have a family member who is interested in guns? Nurture the interest with some lessons from a good firearms instructor at the local range.
#5. Pepper Spray: This makes a nice stocking stuffer for the women in your life. You can always frame it as “Take this with you when you go out to walk the dog.” This one is a small, hand-held dispenser designed for joggers. This one is pink and goes on the keychain of your favorite girlie-girl. This larger dispenser fits inside most purses and has enough spray for 5 hits. This pepper gel sticks to the skin of the assailant, causing maximum disabling pain. Don’t go cheapo – stick with high-quality brands like Mace or Sabre.
#6. Ammunition: If my stocking was heavy with my favorite ammo, I wouldn’t miss the candy one little bit. If you know what someone shoots, a box of ammunition is a great gift.
The Gift of Supplies
#7. A bucket of food: Buy your favorite family a bucket of emergency food if you think they’ll be receptive. A bucket designed for long term storage will be there for them in the event of an emergency. Remember during Superstorm Sandy when people were “starving to death” after only 3 days? If a family has a one-month food supply bucket and a way to cook the contents of it (see the next entry), they’ll never be in that situation. We only purchase Numanna food buckets – they’re non-GMO and free of additives like MSG and Aspartame, so it’s much closer to the kinds of things we normally eat. (They also make a gluten-free bucket.)
#8. An emergency cooking method: Look for something easy to use (they probably won’t practice if they aren’t actually into preparedness). The Solo camping stove is small, lightweight, and burns pretty much anything. A more advanced option is the Volcano 3-way stove. It can be fueled by propane, charcoal, or random sticks and leaves. Finally, this little butane burner can be used indoors and probably is the closest method to cooking on-grid. (Be sure and include some butane canisters to go with it.)
#9. A real first-aid kit: Forget the silly little First Aid kits that contain little more than gauze, band-aids, and some single packs of polysporin. Get a real, high quality first aid kit for a family that you care about. This one has a field trauma kit that includes Quik Clot. This one is incredibly thorough as far as tools are concerned but you’ll want to add Quick Clot to it.
#10. A vehicle emergency kit: This has to be personalized for the area where the recipient lives, as well as the storage space available in their vehicles. If they’re in the desert, supplies to prevent dehydration and heat illness are vital. If they live in a cold climate, supplies to keep them from freezing to death take priority. Collect the appropriate items and put them in a tub for the trunk. (Here’s a link to my own vehicle emergency kit to give you some ideas of what to include.)
#11. A natural wellness kit: This kit from Spark Naturals is perfect for those just dipping their toe into the waters of essential oils. It contains 10 products to address the most common essential oil needs: Lemon, Frankincense, Oregano, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Rosemary, Lavender, Amend +(Soothing Blend), Respire (Respiratory Blend), Shield (Protective Blend), and Peppermint.
The Gift of Information
These are my favorite preparedness books for those who are just getting started.
#12. The Prepper’s Blueprint: This guide is the Bible of preparedness. It contains everything you need to know to take you from a brand new prepper to a family that could survive indefinitely without the system. It’s a must-have for anyone new to preparedness. The book uses news clips of actual scenarios to show the importance of each prep introduced. Order it here.
#13. The Pantry Primer: This is my book, and is the second edition. This book discusses the importance of a pantry full of healthful whole foods and explains how to purchase them on a budget. It’s not based as much on the expectation of an epic disaster (although it will prepare you for that) as it is on life’s ups and downs, like job loss, unexpected expenses, or power outages. Order it here.
#14. Prepper Survival Hacks: This fun book by survival expert and prolific author Jim Cobb is a great book for beginners because it teaches a mindset instead of providing a list of things you need to buy. Loaded with projects that use items you can find laying around the house, it teaches you to use what you have to make what you need. Order it here.
#15. Prepper’s Natural Medicine: This book provides remedies that you can use anytime, not just during a disaster. The author is a professional herbalist and she provides a common sense approach to health care when no doctor is available. Order it here.
#16. Prepare Your Family for Survival: This book by the founder of the popular website Food Storage Moms has the most comprehensive checklists I’ve ever seen in a preparedness book. It’s a must for people who enjoy an organized approach to new skills. Order it here.
#17. The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water! When catastrophe strikes, having enough water can spell the difference between life and death. The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide offers a step-by-step plan with straight-forward information you can easily follow. (Yes, it’s also mine – but it’s chock-full of great information for beginners!) Order it here.
#18. The Prepper’s Cookbook: Is your gift-recipient at a loss as to how to use all of those food storage supplies? This book makes it easy to prepare delicious meals from dehydrated, canned, and freeze dried foods. Food pantry items never looked so tasty. Order it here.
#19. The SAS Survival Guide: This tiny little book is jam-packed with information that can help you survive in any situation, in any climate. It’s a must-add to bug-out bags, purses, and car kits. It has a how-to for nearly any question a person might have in an emergency, including quick first aid information, shelter instructions, and water purification hacks. Order it here.
The Gift of Inspiration
Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of inspiration to get a family member on board. A fictional account that strikes just the right note or the voice of someone trusted can be the nudge that is necessary to awaken someone to the need to prepare. The books that follow could be life changing to a receptive person.
#20. One Second After: This was the work of fiction that got me on board the prepping and survival train, whole-heartedly. It discusses the difficult months after an EMP over America takes out the power grid and sends the country back to the pioneer days. The main characters are made up of just an average family who are intent on surviving without becoming uncivilized animals. Order it here.
#21. Going Home and the rest of the Survivalist Series: This series follows the adventures of Morgan Carter. He’s many miles from home when the America we know grinds to a halt after, you guessed it, another EMP. His books touch on many of the prevalent prepper theories and show that the skills you learn before a disaster are what truly keep you alive after a disaster. Not only are the books educational, they’re a heck of a good read. Order the series here.
#22. Lights Out: If your gift recipient is more likely to be persuaded by a familiar voice, consider this book by Ted Koppel. While the preparedness information isn’t quite as thorough as a book by a preparedness author, the importance of a voice that has been considered rational in the media for decades cannot be underestimated. In this New York Times bestselling investigation, Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared. Order it here.
#23. The Complete Tightwad Gazette: This book is nothing like the others, but was a major inspiration for me in the darkest financial times of my life. Amy Dacyczyn provides advice on how to convert your lifestyle to one of strict frugality. The book is peppered with quirky illustrations and warm humor, and I still refer to it to this very day, and it feels like a conversation with an old friend. This would be a great book for those who are dealing with money problems, and it’s a gentle introduction to pantries and stockpiles, without any of the disaster mindset. Order it here.
#24. Day of Wrath: Given the climate of current events, this book will scare the hell out of anyone paying attention. Also by William Forstchen (the author of One Second After), this short novel journals a coordinated jihadist terror attack on multiple schools across America. Imminently readable, this thought-provoking book seems much more realistic than it did a year ago when it was originally published. Terror on this scale just might be the most likely threat we face. Order it here.
#25. The Gift of Conversation
Maybe it’s time to start a new holiday tradition. This one might not be the type of thing people normally think about when surrounded by twinkling lights and food and presents, but it could be the most vital.
In these busy times, it isn’t every day that the entire family is together. Take advantage of this time to discuss some world events and make some plans. By broaching the topic using current events as a launch point, you may be able to garner more interest with those who aren’t typically involved in preparedness.
If the family seems receptive, now is the time to develop an emergency communications plan and figure out a meeting place to weather the storm in the event of a crisis on a grand scale. Surviving as a group in the aftermath of a major disaster will be far more likely than each family trying to outlast it on their own. Offer yourself up as a source of advice. It goes without saying, practice OPSEC. Unless there’s implicit trust, never let anyone outside of those in your household know exactly what you have and where you have it.
This holiday tradition could save the lives of those you love. If you compassionately present your case, being careful to be respectful and squelching any frustration with the roadblocks you encounter, you just might get through to them. Perhaps not on Christmas day, but later, when they have time to think it through. Your words and gifts could light the spark that finally gets them on board.
Do you have any gift ideas for family members you might hope to convert? Please share them in the comments section below.
Have a merry and prepared Christmas.