PHOTO: iStock/Thinkstock
November 23, 2015

The holidays can be a magical time, with family, friends, good food, laughter and cherished traditions. It’s also a time for sharing gifts. But for farmers and homesteaders who value a simpler way of life, finding and giving the right gift isn’t always easy. With that in mind, we’ve prepared a different kind of holiday wish list, one that speaks to living close to nature, doing things yourself and appreciating the little things in life.


Healthy and Delicious DIY Kits

Home Cheese Making Kit

Cheese making kit

Sure to bring a smile to the cheese lover on your list, Ricki’s Basic Cheese Making Kit will have anyone making their own Cheddar, Feta, Gouda, Parmesan, Ricotta, Monterey Jack, Colby and Cottage cheese right in their own kitchen. Easy and fun, it provides everything but the milk.

Price: $29.95

Make Your Own Sausage Starter Kit

Sausage maker

Other than the terrific way that it tastes, sausage is also a great way to use and store meat. With this kit you can customize the flavor just the way you like it or for the particular dish you have in mind.

For anyone with their own livestock or someone who wants to have more control over what goes in their food, this could be the perfect gift. It comes with spices, a recipe book, a DVD, casings and an electric meat grinder and sausage stuffer in one to make the process easy.

Note: This is a sausage stuffer, not a stocking stuffer, so unless you have a pretty big stocking …

Price: $165.93

Shiitake Mushroom – Ready to Grow Kit

Shiitake mushroom kit

Talk about a fungi gift! With this shiitake mushroom kit, you can watch your harvest grow right in your own kitchen. It’s a great way for anyone to begin growing mushrooms because it’s easy and you can watch the process from start to finish right on your kitchen counter. You can set it and almost forget it, then enjoy your own delicious, organic shiitake mushrooms.

Price: $19


Ultimate Gardening Gifts

Hand-held 4 Soil Blocker

Soil block maker

For the spring gardener, this might just become their favorite piece of equipment. Why? Because it makes compact blocks of soil for starting seeds, and you can’t do that with your 10 fingers alone—at least not in time for supper!

On top of each soil block, there’s a convenient divot for your seeds. Transplanting these blocks is a breeze and the plants never become rootbound. With a quick spray of the hose, cleanup is super easy. Plus, you don’t have to store tons of starter pots anymore. Any gardener would find this gift indispensable.

Price: $30.85

Garden Hod

Garden hod

Traditionally, a hod is a combined basket and pole used for carrying. But this basket has its own sturdy pole built in. This is the ultimate vegetable basket and would make a great gift for any gardener. With its vinyl-coated mesh body, vegetables can be hosed off right inside the basket and less dirt is tracked into the kitchen.

Built to last and beautiful to hang on any wall, this basket is sure to be a treasured gift.

Price: $44.95

Seeds From Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company

Heirloom seed catalog

When a seed company says, “All of our seeds are non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented,” you know it’s a safe company for your garden. Seed packets are always a fun gift and knowing that the seeds you’re giving are safe and natural will make your gift even better.

The beauty of this online catalog is in the elaborate descriptions of each seed, including ratings according to whether the seeds are easy to grow and early to mature. With thousands of varieties to choose from, you can easily customize your gift or choose to give a gift certificate and seed catalog.

Price: varies


Green Living Gifts

Worm Factory 360 Composter

Worm composter

Everyone benefits from composting, and this little gem makes it clean and easy. While this worm composter may not qualify as a romantic gift, you can accompany it with a bouquet of roses and then compost them!

With four separate trays, this system uses worms to compost a combination of paper and food scraps. Once the bottom tray is full, you simply place another tray on top. After about three months, the bottom tray should be fully composted and ready for your garden.

Price: $109.95

Set of 5 Reusable Produce Bags

Produce bags

If you have a friend who cringes every time they put a plastic vegetable bag into their well-worn, reusable grocery bag, these are the perfect gift. Many households have been helping our landfills by investing in reusable grocery bags, and with the addition of these mesh bags, there’s no need to throw away or recycle any bags after grocery shopping.

Anyone would love these surprisingly strong bags because they have an easy-to-use drawstring, are simple to clean with a quick rinse, and they dry in no time. So, for your loved one, this gift is “in the bag.”

Price: $14.95

Snapware®Total Solutions™ Pyrex® Glass Food Storage 10-pc Set

Storage containers

Have you ever helped a friend or family member clean up after dinner and found their cupboard overrun with plastic storage containers? Here’s the perfect gift. They’re glass, BPA-free and made in the USA.

They’re a snap to use because they have four locking tabs on top to ensure no leaks, and they’re even color coded by size. (That’s why they’re called “Total Solutions!”)

Price: $29.99

Fantastic Gifts for Farmers

Monster Cart

Monster carts

This versatile cart is indispensable around a farm or in anyone’s backyard. From hauling hay and equipment to unloading feed bags and moving lumber, it saves on time and labor. With three different sizes to choose from, this is a great cart for anyone who knows the meaning of hard work.

Speaking of hard work, this cart carries up to 2,000 pounds, and that’s some heavy lifting!

Price: starting at $189

YakTrax

YakTrax

Although these may look a little silly, they’re a must for winter farming. Anyone who plans to go outside and walk over sheets of ice while working with livestock deserves at least one pair. Heck, you could actually run over sheets of ice with these things on, instead of clinging to a lead rope for dear life.

Even if you’re not a farmer, YakTrax is a great gift for anyone who spends time outside in the winter. Whether shoveling off a driveway or walking a dog, these are a real lifesaver.

(Note: We especially recommend them for seniors because nobody should be cooped up in the winter for fear of falling on ice!)

Price: $24.99

BriteTap Chicken Waterer & Water Tank Combo Pack

BriteTap Chicken Waterer

As you may know, clean, fresh water is a top priority for chicken owners and making that same water dirty is a top priority for chickens! Once placed inside a coop, this becomes a wonderful no-spill waterer for poultry. With convenient push-style nipples, chickens can enjoy clean water without making a mess or drenching any bedding. The nipple attachment is also available without the cooler and can be attached to any tote, bucket or tub.

Price: $69.95

Gifts for Children

The Square Handmade Paper Making Kit by Wooden Deckle

Paper making kit

This beautiful kit includes equipment and instructions for making all different types of beautiful, handmade paper. Kids willl have fun ripping up old paper, getting their hands dirty, taking pride in their homemade paper, and using it for art projects or writing. Everything is included except the blender.

Price: $39.95

Before We Eat

Before We Eat

This wonderful book written by Pat Brisson and illustrated with woodcut prints by the talented Mary Azarian helps to teach young children where their food comes from. With beautiful rhymes, this book tracks food along its whole journey and introduces children to the many people who work hard to bring it from farm to table—including farmers and fishermen, packers and truck drivers, and even grocery-store clerks. It was written for “all the folks we’ll never meet/who helped provide this food we eat.”

Price: $16.95

Beeswax Candle Rolling Kit

Candle making kit

Here’s another fun crafting project for kids. Complete with 6 yards of wicking and 12 sheets of sweet-smelling beeswax in brightly assorted colors, there’s enough material to make at least 24 candles. Kids simply roll the sheets of beeswax, and then they can decorate their candles with colorful and unique designs. With longer nights and shorter days, this is a gift that will shine brightly through the holidays.

Price: $24.98

Unique Crafting Gifts

WEBS Ball Winder and Wooden Swift Combo

Spool winder

For your fiber-artist loved one who spends countless hours winding yarn, this ball-winding set makes a wonderful gift. It’s amazing how quickly a skein can be wound, and with no knots to undo, the whole process is stress-free. If you’ve ever dropped a ball of yarn mid-roll and watched it unwind across the floor, you know this gift will be appreciated and well-used.

Price: $99.99

Make Your Own Lip Balm Kit

Lip Balm Kit

With everything they need to make lip balm at home, this kit is perfect for home crafters. With a few simple steps it’s both fun and easy. It’s also a great activity for kids to enjoy with parents. The rich base of natural beeswax, almond oil and exotic shea butter in the homemade lip balm is sure to kick any regular store bought variety out of the park. Complete with supplies to make 24 individual containers, this gift is sure to keep on giving.

Price: $27

Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet Kit

Bracelet making kit

This fantastic kit combines both tapestry and beadwork, and the results are amazing. It’s a must-have for anyone who enjoys crafting with their hands and exploring new techniques. The detailed instructions will easily walk a beginner though the steps, and because this project is so unique, advanced weavers will love it, too. The varying twists and addition of beads makes each bracelet a work of art.

Combine this kit with an 8-inch loom to create the ultimate gift for anyone who would like to try their hand at weaving.

Price: $69

Rugged Gifts You Can Wear

SmartWool Socks

SmartWool Socks

A nice pair of socks can be a great gift for anyone and SmartWool socks are a delight. Comfortable, durable, and warm, they’re sure to be your favorite stocking stuffer. Choose from a variety of colors and styles for men, women and children. Buy them by the dozen and check off half your shopping list this holiday season!

Price: starting at $17.95

Men’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose Work Pants

Work pants

Experts at wearing through their work pants have finally met their match here. Every guy should own at least two pairs, so there’s always one available while the other’s in the wash. Judging by the 1,600-plus five-star reviews on Duluth’s website, it appears that men everywhere are in agreement—these are some rugged pants!

Price: $69.50

Under Armour Base™ 4.0

Under Armour base layers

These long johns aren’t cheap, but the warmth they provide is priceless. For anyone who spends their winters outside, a good base layer is vital. Under Armour makes these undergarments in three different styles, base 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0. Each one is rated for different temperatures, with base 4.0 being for the coldest conditions. The tops and bottoms are sold separately and come in both men’s and women’s sizes. With the ability of this patented synthetic material to wick away moisture, they’ll stay warm and dry in the coldest conditions.

Price: $84.99

Additional Gift Ideas

If you’re looking for some other great gift ideas based unique to the area of the country where you live, the farmer in your life will also find these to be a treat:

  1. Fresh meat and produce: Purchase a local CSA share for someone special.
  2. Offer an extra hand: Help a hardworking farmer with their barn chores—even if it’s pulling weeds, mucking out the barn or spending a day at the farmers market. An extra hand is always appreciated.
  3. House and animal sitting: Do you know of someone with a small farm or even just a house pet? It might be hard for them to get away for a vacation or long weekend. Offering to farm-sit and watch their animals would allow your friend or neighbor to enjoy some much needed R&R.
  4. Art classes: If there’s an art studio nearby offering classes, buying a gift certificate could help an inner artist bloom.
  5. Baked goods: A batch of cookies or loaf of bread is a great way to say “thank you” to someone special to you.

Simply Enjoy the Season!

Now that you’re off to a great start on your holiday shopping, remember: Simple gifts are often the best ones. Now go enjoy your holidays, share from the heart, and keep things simple. After all, that’s what the season is really all about.

Sharing your thoughts is a gift! We would love to hear from you.


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