Holiday Gift Ideas – Is it that time of year again? Our family truly enjoys this special month of December.
We celebrate Christmas in many ways, from a birthday cake for Jesus to special holiday menus, from stockings on the mantle to a fragrant Christmas tree.
But our favorite facet of the month has to be the warm and festive gatherings with family, friends, and neighbors.
And some of those get-togethers involve gift giving.
Though we try to be kind and generous all year round, there’s something about celebrating this season by giving something special to those we love.
In our family we exchange gifts including coupons for services and outings, personalized tree ornaments, practical packages under the tree, and fun gift bags passed around in those silly gift exchange games we just can’t give up.Here are some suggestions from our house to yours.
Rural Living Today Holiday Gift Ideas
Rural Living Today have compiled some lists of practical and fun items we use or would like to have…and that we highly recommend to other homesteaders.
So here we have lists For good measure, we’ve added a list for the youngest homesteaders in our lives.
We’ve included links to some online stores so you can see the products or order them if you wish.
But we also encourage you to support your local merchants by shopping in your own neighborhood.
Twisted Sassafras Turned Knob Walking Cane
That’s how I discovered the Brazos Walking Sticks Company.
It’s a US company that’s located in Texas, so I feel like they really understand my fiercely independent lifestyle.
The fact that each of their walking sticks is fashioned by hand, one at a time, was also incredibly appealing.
I mean, who’s heard of that kind of craftsmanship in this day and age?
Most products are turned out by the dozen on mechanized assembly lines located in some other country that isn’t the US.
However, I feel like this is one company that’s really doing it right.
They genuinely care about their products and what people think of them.
I spent quite a bit of time on their website before ultimately deciding on the Twisted Sassafras Turned Knob Walking Cane.
Its appearance is really eye catching.
The shaft is made from sassafras with some of the bark left on for added appeal.
In fact, the bark forms the “twist” around the shaft, and it looks amazing.
As good as the pictures online are, seeing my own walking cane from Brazos Walking Sticks Company was something entirely different.
The piece has a really beautiful sheen, and the orange and red colors are gorgeous.
I’m impressed by how lightweight this stick is, yet it appears to be amazingly durable.
No matter the terrain or the weather, I know that my Twisted Sassafras Turned Knob Walking Cane is up to the task.
The wood that is used to create this stick is incredibly well polished.
It feels so smooth and comfortable in my hand.
Available in two lengths, I was able to get the size that is perfect for my height.
Additionally, it’s possible to add all sorts of personalization and accessories to these walking sticks.
I added my monogram and the combi-spike tip so that my cane would be a true go-anywhere accessory.
If you like, you also can add a cane strap or other embellishments like an American flag medallion or a pewter star.
Brazos even offers a thermometer, so if you’re concerned about the temperature, that might be a sensible addition for you.
One of the things that I find so appealing about this cane is that it has so much personality.
I’ve seen plenty of people walking around with a plain, impersonal cane made from metal or another less-imaginative material, but it’s rare to see someone with such an outstanding and unique accessory in their hand.
I guess what I’m saying is that I appreciate that this cane was made from a material that once was a part of a living tree.
In some ways, I feel like it’s an extension of nature, and that fits in well with my lifestyle.
Plus, anyone can see how sturdy and dependable this cane is in addition to being well made.
This is probably going to end up a family heirloom for my country-loving relatives.
Initially, I had planned to only use my walking cane while going on my long rambles through the countryside.
Now I take it pretty much everywhere I go.
When I bring it into town, people are always impressed with it, and I can’t stop myself from telling the story.
I also tell them, only if I’m asked, how much I paid for my stick.
It never fails to astound people that this impressive and functional piece of art costs so little.
I think it just might be the smartest purchase I’ve ever made.
I have no intention of ever giving up my independent country lifestyle.
My walking stick is one more tool that makes that possible.
Oak Wood Derby Walking Cane With Oak Shaft And Brass Embossed Collar
If you are looking for a handsome, durable walking cane, look no further than the Oak Wood Derby Walking Cane With Oak Shaft And Brass Embossed Collar from Fashionable Canes.
This cane is as functional as it is beautiful.
The secret is in the derby style handle, which is both easy to grip and balances like a dream on the edge of any table.
No longer will you have to worry about your cane slipping to the ground and embarrassing you during a fancy dinner out.
You also won’t have to tuck it away and run the risk of forgetting about it!
Your cane will be right where you left it, securely clamped on to the table.
The handle also makes it easy to maneuver around with.
Many canes will slip right out of your hands at the first disturbance or slippery ground, but not the Oak Wood Derby Walking Cane With Oak Shaft And Brass Embossed Collar!
The derby handle keeps it right by your side, no matter what kind of terrain you are up against.
The design also allows you to keep up with others who might be walking briskly without the aid of a cane.
You will never worry about falling behind again!
This cane is also lovingly carved from oak, which gives it a beautiful appearance as well as makes it sturdy and largely immune to many different types of wear and tear.
The oak is honey-colored, but the grain is darker, giving the cane a sophisticated appearance that contrasts the darker grain against the naturally light color of the wood.
The result is striking and sophisticated; the perfect complement to any outfit.
This is a cane that could accompany you to the most prestigious occasion and fit right in perfectly.
Such a fabulous cane needs some incredible ornamentation, which is exactly what this cane gets with a solid brass collar that connects the derby handle to the staff of the cane.
This simple collar is subtly marked with the Royal Canes Company logo.
It is muted and understated sophistication, the last word in class.
This cane can be customized to your weight and height, although some maximum limits to apply.
The cane itself weighs in at just under a pound, which is great for users who need a lightweight cane that can still stand up to the rough and tumble nature of life.
This cane is also reasonably priced as well.
You can get your hands on it for under $40.
It’s a small investment in your overall happiness and mobility, and well worth it!
I would recommend this cane to anyone.
It’s handsome but simple enough to go with any different outfit, and it is able to stand up to different types of terrain and wear and tear.
Best of all, the derby handle will keep the cane right where you need it; by your side at all times.
Carhartt Long Sleeve T-Shirts
I could never have too many of these–I live in them all winter.
Marie and I both like to wear them alone or layered under other shirts, depending on the temperature.
These Carhartt T-shirts are heavier than most Ts, well made, and reasonably priced.
They come in several colors that still look good after lots of washing, and Carhartt’s short sleeve T-shirts are great for the spring to fall months.
Extra batteries for battery-driven tools
You can never have enough extra batteries.
There are few things more frustrating than running out of power in the middle of a project.
Keep a battery charger in the garage, one in the barn, another in the garden shed.
I like combo sets of interchangeable tools.
I have a drill, handsaw, and flashlight that use the same battery pack.
Speaking of flashlights, you can never have too many!
This year I bought a giant one that will even shine on coyotes hundreds of feet away.
And we have several of these little LED headlamps around; we keep a couple in the truck so we can see the gate lock when arriving home in the black of night.
Check your local stores for specials on these–we found a pack of three headlights with batteries.
Best Tools for the Farm and Homestead
Framing gun, finish gun, finish brad and staple gun.
The last is great for attaching wire cloth, screening, and chicken wire when building chicken tractors and coops.
There’s no substitute!
Nice air compressor with air driven tools
Get a combo set with air compressor and tools.
Good quality chainsaw
I recommend a farm-sized chainsaw–not a small startup saw. I’d get a Husqvarna Rancher chainsaw or the Stihl equivalent. Make sure you have extra chains and lots of 2 cycle oil additive on hand.
Either a Husqvarna or Stihl trimmer. Get a good heavy-duty one with a support strap to hold the weight of the tool while you work.
Remote wireless thermometer
Summer and winter, the first thing I want to know in the morning is the outdoor temperature. It tells me how the livestock and the garden might be faring and helps me plan my day.
BUT especially on frigid mornings I’d rather not go outside to check the temps.
With a remote weather station you can have several wireless weather station around your property reporting in to one central reader located in the comfort of your home.
I have my eye on this one that can read three remote sensors up to 330 feet from my house.
Good Laptop Computer
A good laptop computer for research, record-keeping, getting ideas of prices in your area should you wish to sell anything you are growing, raising, producing on your farm, etc. Brands and formats vary but it’s important to have something you’re comfortable with and that suits your preferences.
Depending on your needs, a tablet may be enough.
Apple peeler – Apple Corer – Apple Slicer
I may be an outdoor kind of guy but hey. I can find my way around the kitchen! This fall we spent hours peeling and coring apples the old-fashioned way.
Then I found out about this manually-operated Apple Peeler gadget that will speed things up like crazy next year.
Jolly Garden Clogs
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mine! If I could recommend only one thing (or one pair of things) to my friends, it would be Jolly Garden Clogs.
They are durable, very comfy, and easy to slip on and off. Their sturdy cork insoles support my flat arches and are removable for cleaning.
I wear my red Jollys all year round all over our farm as long as the snow is not deeper than they are tall.
They also disappear from our mud room all the time and can be found on the feet of my daughters and granddaughters.
Men can wear them too! Jollys come in two men’s styles and two women’s styles.
Adobe oven for our backyard patio area
An Adobe Pizza Oven is on our wish list every year, just waiting for it to rise to the top of the priority list on our developing family farm.
We’re thinking about building something like this. But for now we will stick to our BBQ Grill.
Can you imagine baking bread, roasting meat, or cooking a homemade pizza in one of these?
Ninja Kitchen System or Vitamix
One of the most important tools in the kitchen! We use our Ninja Pulse Blender multiple times daily for grinding coffee and herbs, grating cheese, making smoothies, mixing, kneading, and all sorts of other things.
So handy not only for everyday cooking but when there’s lots of garden produce to process.
Kitchenaid Mixer Fruit and vegetable strainer attachment
Our hand-cranked food mill does the job (and without electricity), but for large quantities of applesauce and tomato sauce, this Kitchenaid strainer attachment is a real hand- and time-saver.
Homestead Food Processing Projects and Canning Equipment
I have a large kitchen, but the counters always seem to be full of processing foods, trials, and testing projects…and the endless canning supplies.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a separate bowls of bread dough, jars of kefir, crocks of fermenting vinegar, bowls of soaking grains and nuts,dehydrator, canners, etc.?
I’m planning to get a separate set of canning utensils to keep aside for canning only.
Speaking of kitchen projects, I recommend every homesteader kitchen be equipped with both a water bath canner for high-acid foods and a pressure canner for meats, vegetables, and other low-acid foods.
I use some of them all year, but at canning time I spend too much time trying to find them around the kitchen.
Home Canning Guide: Tips to Keep Your Food Safe
Big food dehydrator
I have a small round Nesco dehydrator, but oh would I love to have an Excalibur dehydrator!
When I’ve used my daughter’s, I really notice that the Excalibur not only holds more food and has more height flexibility, but also dehydrates everything much faster!
FoodSaver rounds out the food preservation equipment list.
Vacuum sealing prevents freezer burn and just keeps things fresher, plus it consolidates packages so they stack nicely in the freezer or pantry.
We have a basic model, but the larger models have more capabilities.
Reading for Leisure Time
All this talk of equipment for working makes me want to sit down for a bit to read.
For me that includes reading about working (Getting Started on a Food Supply Plan: Sourcing, Preserving, and Storing Food for Tomorrow’s Uncertain Times), you can buy it.
Here are some great magazines to read about the homesteading life and more mad scientist experiments to try!
GRIT, Mother Earth News, Hobby Farms, Backwoods Home.
I’d love to sit down and reminisce through the new 40th anniversary edition of The Encyclopedia of Country Living, the book that inspired our homesteading hearts.
Kindle eBook reader
One thing that is extremely handy is Kindle e-reader.
It isn’t just for reading fiction, you can store thousands of great, informative, and educational books on one.
Making them a great tool to keep with you, whether you are working in the shop, the garden, or learning new skills.
I’ve been wanting one for about three years and this year I am finally getting one – very excited!
A nice thick pullover sweater for chilly mornings before the fire warms things up.
I like sweatshirts but one thing my dad Jim can attest to is that I am a big sweater fan.
I’ve been stealing his sweaters my whole life!
Travel mugs to keep my coffee hot
Contigo mugs are bar none the best, although I’ve got a few others sitting around.
I am a creature of habit, and as a creature of habit I love my routine of coffee in the morning and afternoon.
A good travel mug will keep it hot if I don’t finish it in time, which is handy with little ones underfoot!
This is probably one of my most favorite and useful tools.
Kitchenaid is an absolute workhorse.
There are some days I use mine multiple times in the day.
It not only is good to have as a mixer, but it has lots of attachments to do whatever you want, from an ice cream maker to a food strainer (which I use quite a bit!).
You can use it to grind your meat, mix in the seasonings, and then extrude the sausage into links.
A very useful tool!
Shelving Systems – A nice shelving system for canned goods is a good thing to have on hand for anyone who does their own food preservation.
One thing that is difficult is when you don’t really know what you have on hand.
Personally I’m no good at keeping an inventory.
Having a shelf that keeps everything right in sight is hugely useful for planning meals or knowing when it’s time to stock up.
Wheelbarrows are really nice but if you have a good sturdy garden wagon/cart, you can haul so much more and it is much easier to use than a wheelbarrow.
If you garden at all, this is a hugely useful item that makes life a whole lot easier.
Automatic feeders and nipple Chicken waterers
Available for chickens, hogs, and more
These are something that will also make life much easier when caring for livestock.
At our old house when we had our chickens I loved the fact that my chickens could have plenty of food and water at any given time.
It really came in handy during those busy days running errands, canning marathons, or anything else that might “help” me forget to feed or water my birds.
Large feeders can be found easily online and in feed stores.
We made our nipple waterers similar to this, but you can find ready-made ones at Avian Aqua Miser and The Garden Coop.
Insulated hooded zip-up sweatshirt
My favorite is one I got from North 1 (which is very difficult to find) – it is thermal insulated on the inside and so warm.
I love having the convenience of a hoodie with the warmth of a coat for quick trips outside to grab more firewood, compost pile or to wrangle the animals.
I know Carhartt has some really good ones, too, and they are easier to find than North 1!
Set of cast iron cookware
I would be so lost without my cast iron.
When seasoned it cleans easily, cooks evenly and food somehow tastes better when made in it.
I have several skillets in various sizes and a dutch oven and they pretty much have a permanent residence on my stove.
On my wish list this year is a set of cast iron bread pans.
I have one made from stoneware, and it bakes so much nicer than the thin nonstick one I have.
Since I don’t have a pair of Jolly Clogs like my mom (and yes, I DO steal them when I visit) I love my slippers that have soles.
They are just sturdy enough that I can run outside for that trip to the woodpile or compost pile and not have to worry about putting on regular shoes.
Fisher-Price Little People Farm
We have to start with this old favorite of our family.
Bethany still has the old 1970s version that our kids all played with.
Of course this one is all modernized, with animal sounds…and does the barn door still “moo”?
Melissa and Doug Farm Friends Floor Puzzle
We love the quality of Melissa and Doug products, and this floor puzzle looks like tons of fun!
Look at all those farm animals and the big red barn.
Pieces are large enough for young children to handle and put in place.
Farm Cube Puzzle by Melissa and Doug.
Remember the kind where each side of each block is part of a different puzzle?
Kids can spend hours rearranging these cubes to discover their favorite farm animals looking back at them.
Lace and Trace Farm lace up cards.
Generations of kids have enjoyed lacing perforated cards with yarn.
These farm animals are adorable (and yes, they’re from Melissa and Doug and we really don’t get paid for advertising their products!
But quality speaks for itself).
My First Farm set for LEGO fans
These duplo blocks are for the young ones, but I know some older kids who would love to build this and play with it too.
My Collage Farm
Four cute little animals and a bunch of goodies to decorate them with.
Little ones need help but older kids can let their creativity fly.
Holiday Gift Ideas Little House on the Prairie books and DVD sets
I’ll never be too old to read about the pioneer life of the Ingalls family.
We used to read the books every year, and now our grand kids are avidly reading them.
The DVD’s they’re among the best for entertaining young people while accurately describing life for the original homesteaders.
Do you have an avid craftier in your family?
My Little House Crafts Book includes instructions for 18 projects that Laura and Mary actually made in the Little House stories.
My Side of the Mountain trilogy
These books were some of our childhood favorites.
They inspired our dreams of self-sufficiency and aspirations to live the life we live today. Prepping gives you options on the road adventure
You can be sure our own children will be reading them in the years to come!
Holiday Gift Ideas Farm Science Set
Farm Science set for older children.
A fun way to learn about how farms work with all sorts of educational and fun activities from T.S. Shure.
Storey Publishing’s game and puzzle books for preschoolers and older kids
These look like so much fun I’m thinking of putting them on my own wish list!
Barnyard Games and Puzzles, Pony Play Games and Puzzles, Chicken Games and Puzzles and Horse Games and Puzzles each include more than 100 brainteasers, word games, puzzles, jokes and riddles.
Badland Winches and Trailer Tongues for Your Vehicle
With safety always being a priority, we have put together information on two products for your vehicles, depending on your situation.
It is not surprising to have off-road vehicles get stuck in the mud or some challenging terrain regardless of their tough mechanisms and dynamic designs meant for such situations.
This is when Badland winches would come in handy to extract the vehicle from uninspiring positions in the outback or dense forests.
The market offers 12000 lb Badland winches with an automatic load-holding brake to get stuck off-road vehicles out of their predicament easily and quickly.
The dynamic winch can offer plenty of power in any heavy vehicle recovery using a cable tensioner that pulls out the stuck vehicle quickly without damaging any component.
If you frequent adventurous trips using 4×4 wheel vehicles in remote terrains, it is wise to bring along one of these 12000 lb winches as an unfailing companion when needed to get out of a tight situation.
Badland Winches for off-road fun
Badland winches exhibit great power in not just recovering stuck vehicles; they can haul timber over a great distance or be loaded onto a container.
A boat can also be loaded with this powerful winch which uses a series-wound motor.
The winch enjoys a 3-stage planetary gear system that spurns a fast speed line to get the job done.
Its load-holding brake is an automatic feature that is designed for extreme safety in any off-road adventure.
Modern technology ensures that all Badland winches are designed with dynamic components that offer features to benefit the extreme adventurer with maximum safety.
The winch’s motor stays cool even when in long pulls while the free spooling feature ensures a fast line out.
Its cable tensioner is specially designed to prevent any tangling of the cable.
The winch has a 12-foot remote control that is ergonomic in shape for a smoother hold and grip.
Its roller fair lead comes with nylon bushing and tough wire rope of aircraft grade to give durability and strength at every pull out job.
It is easy to attach the winch onto the vehicle easily and securely to ensure that the vehicle would be pulled out of the challenging terrain.
Holiday Gift Ideas buy Badland Winches
Veteran off-road adventurers have no hesitation in investing in a quality Badland 12000 lb winch from an appointed supplier that provides fair pricing and friendly customer services.
Such products come with a lifetime warranty that assures consumers of material defects or substandard workmanship.
An extended guarantee can be secured to enjoy better services from its distributor.
Certain distributors may even allow a return of these winches for any reason.
Costing just a couple of hundred dollars with a lifetime warranty, Badland winches are a strong necessity for adventurers as well as heavy vehicle repair shops, manufacturers, tool enthusiasts and building contractors who have specific uses of the winch.
The wide number of suppliers and distributors for winches makes it easy for customers to get a unit for their vehicles.
The internet is a powerful platform that allows easy search and online purchases of these tools, such as wWw.OnlineCarParts.co.uk.
At first look, Trailer Tongue sounds like something a dentist might be interested in or maybe something a stand-up comic dreamed up of.
However, hold your laughter as a trailer tongue is a very real thing and for people who love to carry their mobile home along with them as they head down the road, a trailer tongue is a serious thing.
Technically it refers to the forward portion of a trailer where the coupler is mounted.
Now why would one worry about this contraption or even give it a second thought?
Well first of all, as they say in trailer circles, always know your tongue weight.
It is something that you will need to aware of if you intend to hitch a trailer to your car.
Most people who are familiar with all things towing say that the tongue weight should be around 9-11% of the gross trailer weight.
This is crucial with respect to safety while towing your trailer.
If the tongue weight is too light then not enough downward pressure is applied on the attachment point and can result in something that is called as trailer sway.
This is unsafe as it makes the trailer difficult to handle and can it can even come off under severe stress.
The other thing is if the tongue weight is too heavy.
This causes an undue strain on the car pulling the trailer affecting the gas efficiency as well as making the trailer very difficult to maneuver specially around turns.
There are some fixes that can be made if the trailer tongue weight does not fall within the correct weight limit then simple fixes can be made.
These include shifting the cargo weight inside the trailer to help compensate as necessary.
If the trailer weight is too light then all that needs to be done is to shift the weight forward and if the weight is more, then some weight needs to be shifted toward the back of the trailer.
This helps in balancing the trailer weight and helps in maneuverability.
This however is a distant second fix as compared to changing the actual trailer weight.
Calculating tongue weight
The next logical question is how to calculate the tongue weight?
Well the first step is to know the total weight of the trailer so that you can calculate what weight range you need to be within.
If you do not already know this then a trip to the public scales and a small dollar investment will provide you the answer.
To calculate the tongue weight you can either use a small bathroom scale (for lighter tongues) or you can purchase a specific tongue weight scale which will help you find out the exact scale of the heavier tongue weights.
For newcomers, both the information on Badland winches and trailer tongues for your vehicles may sound intimidating but with your research, you will need what you need to in order to buy accordingly.