The Christmas season is upon us, which means carols on the radio, two inches of fliers stuffed into each and every newspaper and having to come up with any number of Christmas gift ideas. Not that I mind listening to Christmas carols, it’s just that it’s not always easy to come up with good gift ideas.
A fine gift for anyone who spends time in the outdoors is a Leatherman, or any one of the other fine quality multi-tools that are available nowadays. Just about every knife company makes a version of this popular knife/tool. They can range in price from $30, to well over $150 for a real mulit-tasker. I still have my basic Leatherman that was a gift more than 30 years ago.
Another gift idea in the practical vein is polypropylene long underwear. A good set of tops and bottoms will run anywhere from $80 to $250 and up. I wear mine all winter and even wear the bottoms when I’m out in the boat on cold, damp spring and fall mornings. It’s on such mornings that I reach for my Stanley thermos. I don’t drink tea or coffee, but I do appreciate a warm cup of hot cocoa when autumn winds begin to blow. A good stainless-steel thermos will cost $30 to $50. Equally as practical is a good LED flashlight. I have a Browning twin-beam, 200 lumen, submersible flashlight that is either in the glove box of my vehicle, in my tackle box or with me when I’m up at the cabin.
Now if someone were to give me new book as a gift, I would certainly appreciate it very much. Having said that, if they were to give me two perfectly good used books, I would be doubly pleased. First, because I’d received two books instead of one and, secondly, because books should be read and enjoyed, and then passed along for someone else to enjoy – just like catch and release fishing.
I happen to be a big fan of murder-mystery books that take place in the great outdoors. Nevada Barr (Blood Lure, Endangered Species, Winter Study and High Country), Sue Henry (Murder on the Yukon Quest, Murder on the Iditarod Trail, Dead North and Degrees of Separation), Victoria Houston (Dead Angler, Dead Frenzy, Dead Hot Mama and Dead Deceiver), Dana Stabenow (Dead in the Water, The Mysterious North, A Fatal Thaw and A Fine and Bitter Snow) and C. J. Box (Force of Nature, Savage Run, Open Season, Trophy Hunt and Winterkill) are just some of the fine writers whose books take place, in large part, in the wilds. I’ve found all of them (and more) on the shelves of our local used book stores.
Something I know will always be greatly appreciated by any fly fisher on your Christmas list is two each of 12 different fly patterns in a nice fly box. I personally prefer the plastic fly boxes that fit into a shirt pocket. Don’t worry if they already have several other fly boxes, because no fly fisher can ever have enough.
Snowshoeing has become a popular outdoor activity. Lightweight, aluminum framed snowshoes run anywhere from $75 to $250. How much you spend pretty much depends on how much they will be used and the kinds of conditions.
I once received a Garrett plastic gold pan. I have had it for a good 25 years and even have a small vial of gold dust for all my labours. I may not know too much about gold-panning, but I do know that I had a lot of fun trying to pan for gold in the east Kootenays as well as near Scotch Creek. A gold pan costs about $30. A book or video on gold-panning – $20 to $25. The experience of finding gold dust – priceless.
Finding and giving the right gift is equally as much fun.