A Prepper’s Gift-Giving Guide

There are a lot of different ideas out there about how to celebrate Christmas. Every culture has its own traditions and each family seems to have them as well. Part of that is usually giving gifts to one another, whether they be large or small, store bought or homemade; even whether they are personal or just something that someone grabbed in the checkout line.

I’ve never been the type to just buy any old gift, especially those pre-packaged “generic” gifts that you find stacked up in all the department stores. I’ve received plenty of those through the years, but I’ve never seen anyone who was thrilled to get such a gift. Something so generic just can’t be all that personal.

Then again, “personal” for preppers might seem a bit strange to others, especially to those who are not preppers. They probably have little idea of the things that would seem exciting to us, and may very well be unexcited by the things that we find exciting. Nevertheless, there are many things that we can take from our lives as preppers, which would make very thoughtful gifts to those around us, showing our love for those we care about.

I’m sure that others are creating and posting lists of Christmas gift ideas for things to ask or hint for as gifts we would like to receive as preppers. So, I’m not going to go there. Rather, I’m going to give you some ideas of prepper-oriented gifts which you can give to others.

Pocket Knife

Everyone needs a pocket knife, whether they’re a prepper or not. Yet few people today carry one. They just weren’t raised with that habit and never formed it. You can change that for your friends and family, by giving them a pocket knife. But, don’t just give them a knife, explain to them how useful a knife can be and what they can do with their knife to help them through the day.

While this obviously won’t make them preppers, it will take them one step closer to it, helping to prepare them for the day-to-day, if not for disasters.

Good Fire Starter

Everyone needs the ability to start a fire, whether it is in the fireplace, in their barbecue grille or when they’re trying to enjoy a picnic. Yet, like the pocket knife, there are few who are actually prepared to start a fire when they need one. Giving someone on your gift list the ability to start a fire quickly and easily can help them enjoy life better, bringing fire into many different activities.

Now, let me say that this is not the time to give someone a Ferro Rod. Those can be challenging to use, even for those who use them regularly. You want something that will be quick and easy to use, every time they try. I’m thinking on the level of a compact blowtorch here, or at least a storm-proof lighter.

Camping Gear

Camping is a great activity for anyone, getting out of the city and away to the quiet of nature. It’s a wonderful way of recharging the old batteries (although not the electrical kind). While not everyone is a natural camper, many people enjoy it, even if they aren’t preppers. The biggest hindrance to enjoying camping is not having the right gear.

Since camping is also an integral part of survival, especially wilderness survival and bugging out, helping others get into camping is a way to help them increase their chances of surviving whatever might befall them in life.

Taking this idea a step further, you could offer to take them camping, teaching them camping skills, which are also, of course, survival skills. This would be especially good with new campers, who would probably appreciate the offer.

Hunting & Fishing Gear

Anyone who likes to hunt or fish always appreciates receiving hunting or fishing gear as gifts. They just don’t need to know that it’s also survival gear, and that your real purpose in giving it is to help ensure that they’re ready, should a disaster come. The hardest part here, is making sure that you’re buying something useful that they don’t already have.

If you have friends or family members who are not currently fishermen, but who have expressed an interest, this might be a great chance to get them stared. Many a child received their first fishing rod as a Christmas gift, to be used the next spring as Daddy taught them the fundamentals of fishing. Some women would be just as pleased to get that fishing rod, being invited into their husband’s hobby. Just make sure your wife actually likes to fish, before you make a huge gift-giving blunder.

Survival Kit

Ok, those were some more generic ideas; things that aren’t just for prepping and survival; but there’s a lot of information you and I have packed between our ears, which could be valuable to our friends and family members, in the right circumstances. We can use that information to come up with useful gifts, which increase their chances of survival.

The first and most obvious such gift is to make them a personal survival kit. The thing you’ve got to realize here, is that they’re not going to know what to do with the stuff in the kit. So, your selection of gear has to be things that they’re going to be able to work with. On top of that, you’ll want to print up some specific instructions on how to use the gear, perhaps written from the viewpoint of the problem, rather than the equipment. In other words, start with statements like, “You’re stuck overnight and it’s getting cold, what should you do?” That leads into how to start a fire and how to use a rescue blanket to hold in their body heat.

Like many couples, we are adopted aunt and uncle to the kids of some of our friends. One family in particular, likes to go camping. So, as part of being their uncle, I’ve been giving the kids various pieces of survival gear, gradually building their own survival kit.

Car Emergency Kit

Taking the idea of a survival kit one step further, you could build a vehicular version of a survival kit, especially if you live in a part of the country where people are likely to end up trapped in their car, in the midst of a blizzard. I did this for all my kids, when they got their first car. Those kits combined survival, surviving in winter conditions in the car, and car emergencies, like flat tires and dead batteries. They’re still carrying those kits around in their cars today.

Prepping Related Books

Maybe you’ve got someone in your circle who has expressed an interest in prepping, but hasn’t taken that first step. Probably the best thing you can do for them is to give them some solid information, helping them avoid the same mistakes that you and I made. If possible, try to introduce prepping through books that might connect with some other interest they have. For example, if you have a friend that is a gardener, then something about herbal medicines might be appropriate.

There are a lot of prepping and survival books out there, and unfortunately, they aren’t all good. As with anything else these days, there’s a lot of bad information floating around. That’s one of the reasons why this might actually be an excellent gift. You can vet the books yourself, or even buy them books which you’ve already read which have helped you in your own prepping journey.

Home-canned, Dried or Dehydrated Food

Many preppers preserve their own food, canning or dehydrating it. Those canned foods, dehydrated fruit and homemade jerky make great gifts; the kind that are appreciated by just about everyone. They’re also things which can be used by anyone, but that are expensive for them to buy themselves.

There was a time when giving home-canned food was rather commonplace and that custom seems to be coming back. People always seem to appreciate something that you’ve made yourself and the great thing about canned food is that anyone can use it. Unless you accidentally give someone something they’re allergic to, it’s hard to get the wrong size or color.

Homemade Handicrafts  

Many of us add making a variety of things to our prepping, not just canning food. For me, that’s woodworking. For a number of years now, a portion of my Christmas gifts have come out of my workshop, including things for White Elephant gift exchanges.

There’s just something special about a handmade gift; so why not take advantage of that? In a world full of cheap factory-made products, there’s no shortage of ideas for things you can make yourself. It’s just a matter of picking something that matches up with your skills.

Another nice thing about making gifts yourself is that you can turn the most mundane items into special gifts. Buying a dish drying rack at Wal-Mart isn’t much of a gift. But if you’re a woodworker, you could make a wood one as a gift and it would be seen as something really special. So, you’re meeting a need, while providing an attractive and very special gift.

Survival Food Kit

Finally, when all else fails, you can always give pretty much anyone a bucket of survival food. Granted, this may not be seen as a “fun gift;” but it’s definitely a useful one. There’s nobody who can’t use it and it’s unlikely that you know anyone who wouldn’t know what it is for. Maybe they won’t be as thrilled as they would with some collectible, a new computer game or something else just as trivial; but there’s no question that they won’t realize that you care about them and that they are alright.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • I really enjoyed reading your article. It reminded me of boy scouts and “outdoor learning-playtime”– that was the most enjoyable part of my younger years, now 60 years ago.. Plus, some of these precautionary equipment items I have decided to purchase, but haven’t done it yet. Reminders are good; as is training on how to use equipment that has never before been used. Well done!


  • My white elephant Christmas presents the last few years have been: Solar powered flashlights, butane powered soldering iron and an AM-FM shortwave radio. This year it’s a butane stove for emergency use. I believe my children and grandchildren are catching on.