Gift Guide

Get Outside Holiday Gift Ideas – Experiences and Giving Back

Sometimes the best gifts are experiences, not things. A good way to sample a new activity is to enroll in a class or participate in an event.  Some local branches of national outdoor outfitters (including REI, LL Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports)  offer classes in a variety of outdoor activities with all necessary supplies included. Sometimes these classes are in partnership with local environmental non-profit organizations.  You can find classes in cross country skiing, snowshoeing, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing/kayaking and rock climbing. The American Canoe Association  lists classes in various paddling sports on their website for beginners and instructors alike. Small local outfitters may offer lessons as well.

Many local environmental centers, watersheds and similar organizations have educational programming throughout the year. Purchasing admission to an event or a annual membership to a nature center or organization is a great gift for the recipient and the organization as well. Membership fees provide benefits (such as free admission or discounts) to the card holder and allow the organization to better serve the environment and the community as a whole.  If you are buying for the person who has everything, a donation in his or her name to a local or a regional or national organization is a thoughtful gift. Many nature centers operate small gift shops selling branded items such as mugs, t-shirts, magnets and patches, as well as educational toys and games and nature-related gift items. Like a donation or membership, purchases made at these shops gift the organization as well.

Memberships to outdoor clubs can provide a year of encouragement to get outside and explore and offer the added benefit of possibly making like-minded friends.

Any of these gifts can be accompanied by a small gift item related to the organization or the recipient’s specific interests (and if you shop at the organization, your donation goes even further).