2018 Outdoorist Holiday Gift Guide

Ugh, yes, another gift guide. Are you really even a blogger if you don’t write one? Here’s the thing: the holiday season is my favorite time of year. Yes, even more than summer. The moment Halloween passes, I am dreaming of twinkle lights, Santa hats, wrapping presents for Spaghetti, and garnishing everything in sight with a candy cane.

But there’s always a mini mental backlash too when I see all the “SALE SALE SALE BUY IT NOW!” e-mails around Black Friday, the oh-so-tempting-but-wrong stacks of plastic holiday themed junk peddled to us in stores, the throes of consumerism and consumption. It’s easy to fall into the trap (yes, I bought Spaghetti a Santa hat at Target, and yes, I guiltily returned it the next day).

Far more rewarding, though, is committing to making the holidays meaningful again. Presents aren’t the problem, our mainstream mindset around the idea of gifting is. It’s about quality, not quantity. Gifts are an expression of how much we value a relationship, so let’s say “I care about you, and I care about the planet we both share, and this gift is something that adds value to all of it!” instead of “look, shiny! new! I spent money on you!”

And with that digression, I present to you my 2018 gift guide for people who want to make Christmas great again:

Things that aren’t things:

I love the concept of “gifting and giving” shared in She-Explores holiday guide. It’s a poignant reminder that we don’t need to rely on just material things to give our loved ones.

If you want to give to a higher purpose, or just can’t figure out a material gift idea for someone who really doesn’t need anything (coughDAD!cough), consider donating in their name. I have a list of causes and organizations here, but make your donation gift personal by finding an organization that’s unique to the person you’re donating on behalf of. Give to American Alpine Club for the climbers in your life, OUT There Adventures for your favorite outdoorsy queer, etc. Many organizations have great gift packs or holiday certificates you can wrap up and put under the tree, too.

Support your loved ones in their passions, mental healthcare, and creativity. Pay for a few months of a friend’s rock gym or yoga studio membership. Purchase an annual national parks or local state park pass. Gift acupuncture or wellness coaching sessions.

Things that are things, but are pretty damn cool:

Since December 1st, a pile of gifts has been growing underneath my Christmas tree. Buying things for the sake of things isn’t my thing, but buying thoughtful gifts that support good people making good things is what’s up. In a season of inevitable spending, use your dollars to support your values. Buy from artisan makers, support small businesses, source your gifts from local shops. 

Let’s talk about algae. And let’s talk about shoes. Put ’em both together, and we can talk about shoes made out of algae. Saola Shoes are my favorite footwear at the moment, because they combine fly style with a thorough commitment to sustainability. The shoe’s entire anatomy drips with sustainable materials: uppers made from recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton laces, uppers and insoles made from algae biomass, and every pair of shoes purchased gives back to environmental conservation efforts. And you look fresh as heck. Shop women’s here and men’s here. Get 15% off your order with the code Katie15!

While we’re talking about sustainable apparel made out of recycled plastic bottles, let’s talk about the ReNew fleece from Everlane. I practically live in mine (I went with the powder blue sweatshirt, Brody has the black one). It’s made nearly entirely from recycled plastic, except the zippers and trim which Everlane hasn’t been able to source recycled yet but says “We’re working on it!” In other news, basically everything made by Everlane is on my Christmas wishlist in case you were wondering. *winks*

Y’all know I am here for self-care and CBD. Let’s say you really want to help someone love on themselves. Here’s my recipe for the ultimate self-care holiday gift kit: 1. Start with Ursa Major skincare. For everyday care, I live and die by the face balm–but a nice treat is the 3-minute face mask. I love Ursa Major because the ingredients are things I can pronounce and the brand is constantly stepping up their sustainability game. 2. Get your CBD on with Alpen Organics This is by far the best CBD tincture I have ever used (and I tested a lot for my CBD guides). If you want 30% off, use KATIEBOUE at check out! 3. Combine self-care + CBD with a bathbomb from Life ElementsGo big and get the 200mg bomb, it’s like a full body massage in a bath–these little balls of bliss have changed the way I relax in the tub. You’re welcome.

Got a doggo in your life? Check out the Restcycle dog bed from Ruffwear. It’s made from recycled materials from the waterproof base to the synthetic down stuffing. Side note: I am way stoked to see Ruffwear starting to make sustainable products like this and hope to see more in 2019!

At the end of every year, I get a Sarah Uhl watercolor calendar to celebrate the coming new year. Here’s her 2019 Love Your Earth calendar. Sarah is one of my favorite artists, because she blends her talents with a passion for conservation advocacy. I just bought one of her mini kindness card packs too and am so excited to spread a little light with them.

Holiday sustainability hack: Every year, I hoard a small arsenal of recycled plain brown (cardboard-y) packing paper from all our packages and mail all year long. I fold up the paper, keep tissue and any gift-wrappy packaging I can scavenge, and by the time December rolls around I have all the materials we need to wrap all our gifts in reused paper. 

Other guides + gift ideas:

  • Cali Wolf wrote a great guide to supporting Native folx this holiday season. If anyone is wondering, why yes I would like literally anything made by B. Yellowtail thankyouverymuch.
  • I am obsessed with everything made by friends at WAAM Industries. I adore their waxed canvas lunch sacks and have one of their wooden milk crates bolted to my bike rack.
  • My dear friend Gretchen Powers makes the cutest handknit beanies on the planet and you should buy one for a lady in your life because it will make her joyous.
  • Another dear friend, Erin Outdoors, wrote this gift guide for travelers.
  • Here’s a gift guide for those #vanlife friends in your life.
  • Admittedly, the She-Explores book (!!!) doesn’t come out until April 2019, but you can pre-order it now here and I have a chapter in it along with 40 outdoor women who will inspire the heck outta anyone who picks this book up.
  • Speaking of book that aren’t out yet but you should buy anyways, you can also pre-order the Women Who Hike book by Heather Balogh Rochfort here – I wrote the foreword!
  • If you still need more ideas, you can check out my 2017 holiday gift guide on sustainability, self-care, and gifts-that-aren’t-things here

Full disclosure: Some of the products mentioned here are items I received for free over the last year, but as always, opinions are my own! There’s an affiliate link or two sprinkled in here too, but most are just straight to the products because I was too lazy to set up all the affiliates. Happy Holidays! 

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