I’m not much of a gear person. I pack light and leave room for the really important stuff like books and candy and the occasional bottle of wine. I’ve also been wearing the same shirt on every hike since 2011 (I know this because it says ‘Mt St Helens Climb 2011’ right on the front). So yeah, I’m probably not the best person to ask about the latest and greatest super high tech gear. There are plenty of other great and informative blogs for that. I get more excited about surrounding myself with lovely everyday things that inspire me to get out into the mountains. So here are my suggestions for holiday gifts for the trail-loving friend or family member that would appreciate a nicely handcrafted reminder of the beauty of the outdoors.
A quick disclaimer before we get to the good stuff: the images you see below are not my own. The product creators graciously allowed me to use photos from their websites. They are all super nice people. You should buy stuff from them.
I love the warm and cozy design of this mug. It’s a perfect gift for anyone who likes to snuggle up in blankets all winter with hot tea and a book and dream of summer hiking trips (ok, I’m really just describing myself here). Beth at Avenue Blue in Asheville, NC (an awesomely outdoorsy locale) started hand painting the mugs as Christmas gifts in addition to her regular day job assisting children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. I think that’s pretty rad.
This great design was inspired by one of Jody and Karl’s favorite National Park, Crater Lake, with it’s lovely trees mirrored in the crystal clear water. The Richmond, Virginia duo (with Seattle roots) screen print the tees themselves using eco-friendly and fair trade products. When they’re not creating awesome designs for clothing and tea towels, they enjoy taking road trips to find new inspiration.
Spoiler alert: if you are on my Christmas card recipient list you will soon be seeing these beautiful hand crafted designs in your mailbox in the form of a holiday greeting. The brains behind San Francisco’s Yellow Owl Workshop is Christine Schmidt who is described as being “fueled by black tea and radiolab” (I can totally relate since I am drinking tea and listening to a podcast as I write this). This stamp set is just one of the many great gift ideas on the website, including fun stamps for kids and DIY stamp carving kits.
A long skinny version of the lovely Smoky Mountains print resides above my bed. It makes me feel very happy, tranquil and at peace. The mega-talented Ryan Fowler takes inspiration from his native Vermont (also my husband’s native land) and puts it into his fun and original work. He does really great New England style prints with dogs that are worth checking out too.
I like my jewelry to represent things I love, especially nature. Nancy does this perfectly with the tiny pine cone necklace. She is all about appreciating nature and her work is inspired by the textures, shapes and beauty of the countryside where she lives.
Every year my family exchanges Christmas ornaments. Since we all live far away from each other it’s nice to have a small reminder of them, especially around the holidays. These little beauties are made by Alison of House of Moss in Portland who is inspired by the infinite natural awesomeness of the Pacific Northwest. They are made of pure wool with real acorn caps.
A pillow in the shape of a squirrel might be the best present ever. Lisa Price of Artgoodies combines her love of all things vintage and a fascination with the outdoors to create these retro block-printed pieces. She also prints her graphics on tea towels, aprons and more.
This is for the trendy hiker in your life. Nicola says it’s “wicked soft” and it’s perfect for looking adorable while hiking (something I could really work on, did I mention my hiking shirt?). Nicola has blue hair, works in a cube studio shop made by her pop in Connecticut and hangs out with her Newfoundlander named Otter. She is super cool and I want to hang out with her.