Maybe you’re looking for the perfect thing to buy your adventurous loved one this Christmas, or maybe you’re an adventurer yourself wondering what to put on your list. While the great outdoors can be enjoyed with very little gear, a lot of us who like to spend time out in nature have accumulated an awful amount of stuff.
As the owner of three pairs of hiking boots, two waterproof jackets and a plethora of camping, climbing and running gear, I’m really trying to limit the amount of new items I bring into my life. You’ll often find the outdoorsy people you’re buying for tend to grab what they need as and when adventures come up, which means they’re not wanting for much when it comes to Christmas and birthdays.
Of course, you can always ask if there are specific bits of kit they need, but I wanted to put together a list of alternative gifts to surprise them with this festive season.
Adventurous souls are often very conscious of their environmental impact as they spend so much time enjoying forests, mountains and oceans, seeing the impact of mass consumption and the destruction and litter it causes. With this in mind, the alternative gift guide doesn’t include any tangible items.
Check out these gift ideas.
Adventurers love nature spaces. I know I go wild for an ancient woodland, or some magical gardens. Although the many nature spaces dotted around the UK are so easy to take for granted, I for one am hugely grateful for the amount of love, care and hard work that goes into maintaining green spaces. Without the institutions that look after our wildlife, we wouldn’t get to enjoy well maintained plant life and conservation for the animals living in the spaces. But it isn’t just the mammals, birds, insects and fish that benefit – the organisations that care for our nature spaces are the reasons why have good paths to hike on, a safe environment, useful signposting, and amenities like toilets and refreshments.
If you have someone to get a gift for who enjoys using these kind of spaces, bring them Christmas joy by treating them to membership to an organisation like the National Trust, which will give them access to over 500 beautiful spots around the country.
Other great memberships for nature lovers are the Wildlife Trusts for more wild animals than you can shake a stick at or RSPB for bird lovers. One of my absolute favourites is Woodland Trust who do so much for our beautiful trees.
It isn’t a membership per se, but another thought is making a donation on behalf of the recipient to National Parks. These 15 spaces around the country undeniably put the ‘great’ in Great Britain. From the Lake District to the Cairngorms, from Snowdonia to Dartmoor these are vast playgrounds on our doorstep. The National Parks are perfect for escaping the ordinary for a multiday hike, a wild swim, some bouldering, or the chance to charge downhill as fast as you can on a bike. While the parks are free, a Christmas donation for your loved one can make them feel that bit more connected to their landscape throughout the year and they can enjoy it in the knowledge that they are helping to keep it going.
Donating to a youth adventure charity
You can’t go wrong with charity giving in lieu of a Christmas gift, and most adventurous folk are strong advocates for getting more people outdoors, particularly children and teenagers. Lots of the big time adventurers make their living delivering talks and workshops in schools and youth groups, but you don’t have to have summited Everest to empower kids. There are lots of organisations that give young people a chance to try new activities, get outside and get out of their comfort zone, and making a Christmas donation on behalf of your loved one will give them all the feels.
I just discovered Youth Adventure Trust this year – a fantastic charity that run camps for disadvantaged children from Wiltshire that get them out kayaking, climbing trees, swimming, team building and overcoming their mental obstacles.
Other options are Outward Bound who use outdoor education to help with personal development, Duke of Edinburgh who give young people the chance to learn skills and take on an expedition, and the brilliant Girl Guides and Scouts where many of us began.
The gift of adventure
What’s the one thing an adventurer can never have too much of? Well, that would be adventure! They’re probably pretty used to planning and organising exciting things to do, but could you introduce them to something they’ve never tried before. Why not treat them to something that will get their adrenaline going?
Did you know you can go ice climbing in London? Ellis Brigham has an indoor wall where the adventurer in your life can master the ice axe and crampons. Who needs the Alps when you can find an ice wall behind the hiking boot display.
If you want to treat someone to a women only, judgement free adventure check out Love Her Wild events where you can sign them up for something truly life changing. Hiking, kayaking while litter picking, winter skills, or even an overseas expedition.
These are just a few suggestions, but hopefully they will get the creative juices flowing when it comes to getting thoughtful, ethical and fun Christmas presents.
Have you ever received an experience or a charitable gift instead of something tangible? Did you love it?