The best gift for an adventurer is a great plan in a brand new place and a way to get there (gas $$, plane tickets, whatever).
He goes on to do the kind of gift guide that I’m really interested in: the best adventure spots in a variety of states (for New York, he recommends tagging a bunch of peaks in the ADKs on a long hike from Keene Valley to Marcy). That’s the kind of thing I want to know about. Don’t tell me what to buy, tell me what to do. Tell me what to see. Show me a cool place that I’ve never visited. Introduce me to an activity that I’ve never done before. Better yet, come with me! If you’re passionate about Stand Up Paddleboarding, or Canyoneering, or Snowmobiling, or whatever you’re into, show me why you like it. Tell me why it’s awesome, and take me on your favorite trip.
I was recently reading an article about donations to food banks being the most economically inefficient way to deal with feeding the hungry. There are many problems with the “food drive” model: charitable organizations can get cans of food for much less money than you can, handling that many cans are a logistical nightmare, and a lot of food ends up getting wasted (because they’ve received too many cans of beans and not enough cans of tomatoes, for instance). So should we stop giving cans of food? What’s the solution?
In-kind donations still help, of course, and nobody’s turning away boxes of food. But a fundamental issue is that many organizations feel that asking for money—like requesting cash as a gift—seems somewhat gauche. So, let me be rude on their behalf: Find well-managed charities in your community and trust them to know how to do their job. They have access to food at a fraction of the price. They know their clients, and they have better things to do than to sort through your canned goods.
Exactly. When it comes to food banks, the best strategy is to let them handle it. And maybe this is the best strategy for gift giving, too. I can get pretty good discounts on Outdoor equipment. I know a couple of trips next year that I REALLY want to go on. And I don’t really need that 8th pair of ski socks.
I know that this is antithetical to the whole capitalist system (or “spirit of giving” if you please), but the money that people are going to spend on Christmas gifts would do a lot more good if it were in the hands of the people who are in line to receive the gifts. I’m in favor of stipulations (“you have to spend this on something fun and not on bills”), but I’m just not in favor of filling my house with more crap. I’m not about to go minimalist, I just feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I already have enough stuff (besides that avalanche gear I need . . . and that rock climbing equipment . . . Damn. This anti-capitalism thing is harder than I thought).
I really just need to get out and start using the stuff I have.
Come on, Snow.