Tis’ the season of giving, and if finding the perfect gift brings you the delight that it brings to our family, we are kin. Before you start shopping, we have a few thoughts on the art of gift giving and why you should keep it local. If you’re in a rush, skip to the gift category you need ideas for. We hope you find the perfect outdoors-related inspiration.
KEEP IT LOCAL
To get in the spirit, I picked up our 8-year-old from school and set off for some of our favorite local stores. We do our best to keep it local for the single reason that it keeps our community vibrant. At some of these stores, we know the owners by name, and they know us. They show us their favorite items in the store and usually have a story to go with it. They show our kiddo the loudest noise makers and delight in his delight. The purchases from these local stores pay local employees who are then more likely to spend their paychecks locally. More money stays in our community when we shop local. It’s a win-win.
The other thing about some of the specialty stores we’ve included in this guide is that they have finds our loved ones might never purchase for themselves. Sure, an Amazon gift card could cover the necessities and is appreciated. But, where else can you find a Great Blue Heron mobile that flies or a handmade mushroom mug? Shop local. It’s more interesting.
THE ART OF GIVING A GIFT
It’s not just the thrill of the find or wrapping it beautifully or watching someone open your gift with anticipation. A look of delight and gratitude on the receiver’s face can be so rewarding to the giver. Something small that says “I see you” deepens the bond between people. When you consider the intrinsic value of a thoughtful gift, it can add fire to your gift search. And there are many types of gift-giving to consider—from material goods to outdoors experiences or donations to community organizations, we hope you enjoy this guide as much as we enjoyed shopping around town to find treasures for your loved ones.
For the gearheads in your life, the options are endless. We’ve recently gifted the strider-riding kids we know nice helmets to protect their growing brains, in colors they love from North Division Bike Shop. Brenda, the owner, always helps us find the right gift, from the perfect bike to handlebar bells and baskets. Bike lights that help the cyclist in your life ride in the dark days of winter is always appreciated. You might not be able to gift the feeling of wind-in-your-hair, adrenaline-pumping fun, but you can gift the bike and accessories that make it easier (and safer) for them to get out there.
Shred Sports outlet on Division has your standard snow/water sports/ bike gear selection, but they also have some fun toys tucked away. The collection of Lucky Scooters can keep the whole family moving this spring. While we wait for the sun to warm us, gift the 686 Waterproof Hooded Puffer Blanket ($119). It can convert to a puffer poncho, and who couldn’t use a little more comfort and style this winter?
For the skier in your life, consider a pair of lift tickets. If they have a pass, consider gifting day passes to another resort to find some new favorite runs. Pair it with a fun, printed Black Strap Goggle Cover and they will think of you every time they cover and uncover their goggles ($15). Other ski gear: Smith Wireless Audio setup for helmets ($130) or a gear bag to keep it organized ($75-$130), all found at Alpine Haus.
For the paddler in your life, a backpack dry bag is useful for day trips and overnight trips. It’s useful for the boat, the beach, the paddleboard and keeping the rain away from your essentials. NRS, a local store in Moscow, Idaho, has a great selection. Go for the backpack version.
Some might think of Rambleraven Gear Trader as a consignment-only outdoor store, but it’s not. Sure, you will probably find a very gently used treasure in their racks of clothes and shoes, but you can also source new gear from them. It’s the local go-to for Spokane’s gear store. In Coeur d’Alene, check out Escape Outdoors in the Riverstone area.
If your person is a fitness fanatic, the Fitness Fanatics store has some great gift options. I’ve heard suggestions dropped around our house for a bike trainer. They have a nice selection. They also have a fabulous selection of snowshoes. We like the ultralight Atlas Helium ($230) with the largest pair weighing in at 3lbs, 12oz.
Wheel Sport has a store in every corner of Spokane, making it easy to stock up on items for your bike riders. And, if you are in the market to make a kid’s Christmas, check out their kids’ bike selection. For the tech-loving cyclist in your life, check out the Sigma Pure 1 ($45), a simple bike computer that can tell your rider how fast, how far and how long they’re going. Really, you are giving the gift of accurate bragging!
BOOKS AND MAPS
My reading habits have changed over time, from fiction and select learning to kids’ books. Auntie’s Bookstore has a healthy selection of every genre. We also wander through the journals, stickers, calendars, coloring books, tote bags, bookmarks and gifts before we hit the check-out stand. The other thing I love about Auntie’s is the trade in program. We can clean out our stacks of well-loved books and get credit for new books. It helps us detach from the books we’ve outgrown and find new books. We are currently reading “Spy Ski School,” though I have “The Cold Millions” by Jess Walter tucked into my nightstand. Give the gift of escape with a book!
Shopping locally for books is easy. Check out these other Spokane treasures: 42 Pages is full of used books for the budget conscious // Second Look Books on the South Hill also has an OTO rack! // Wishing Tree Books in the Perry neighborhood is a treasure of kids’ books and just feels good to wander around // Giant Nerd Books on Garland has a great selection of used and new books. // Book Traders, also on Garland, is a magic little store of used books. We came home with an armful of books.
Give the gift of navigation with the new summer and winter trail map of Mount Spokane State Park. Whether your giftee is a mountain biker, hiker, bird watcher, Nordic skier or trail runner, this map will help them plan their next adventure. Washington State Parks in partnership with the Friends of Mount Spokane produced this full-color, detailed map printed on waterproof, durable paper to last even the toughest treks. Maps can be purchased at our local REI, Fitness Fanatics, The Bike Hub, Mojo Cyclery and other local outdoor stores or online at inlandnwland.org.
CLASSES AND EXPERIENCES
Give the gift of feeling at home in your body. Yoga is not just for the flexible! A month of unlimited yoga classes from Harmony Yoga is an affordable and creative gift that says “love the body you are in.” The environment is welcoming to all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Tight muscles from running? Aging hips? Anxiety from life and work? Yoga can assist with soothing all the things. With free loaner mats and no mirrors, Harmony Yoga makes it easy to attend a class.
A good massage is one that not only helps your muscles and tissues feel better, but one that also calms the central nervous system. A gift card for a massage is a gift that will help someone find a massage therapist and get them on the table for some relaxing relief after their winter outdoor adventures.
Gifting experiences to kids enriches their lives. When my parents started to become overwhelmed by the number of people in our family, they shifted away from material gifts to a trip. This year, we are going to Silver Mountain in March to enjoy spring skiing and the water park. The combined condos make it easy to prepare and share meals and spend mornings watching cartoons with the little ones.
These other experiences make good gifts too: Ninja Classes for kids at Spokane Gymnastics / Wild Walls Kids’ Climbing Clubs // Science & Stuffies sewing camps at Let’s Get Sewing // Spokane Parks and Recreation has an abundance of classes from art workshops to snowshoe dinners.
Most resorts have ski lessons which can work with your schedule. Mt. Spokane has a full spring schedule of camps for skiers, for littles and older kids. The gift of skiing is giving the gift of loving winter!
Get creative with a food tour from Wander Spokane ($70), Cooking Class at Commellini Estates ($85), paddleboard or kayak season passes with Fun Unlimited ($160), or gift a Boat Club Membership for those who are having too much fun to maintain a boat, so they can walk onto one of the fleet ready to hit it at Carefree Boat Club of North Idaho (call for pricing).
OUTDOORS JEWELRY & CRYSTALS
If you love the outdoors, we are guessing you love nature. And if you love jewelry and nature, the combo makes a nice gift. My sister gifted me a necklace of a tiny silver Coeur d’Alene Lake from Solder & Stone. It’s a daily reminder of my love of water and our region. The Coeur d’Alene-based Bumblebee Jewelry (shop online) has handmade silver jewelry that donates a portion of each sale to Xerces Society to help protect the company’s namesake. Tracy Jewelry on Evergreen and Kizuri also had nice nature-inspired jewelry finds.
My Crystal Stop in north Spokane has a beautiful selection of crystals and jewelry. They can help pick out a special piece to match with the energy your loved one is creating in their life.
If you know someone who plays hard, but needs their coffee first, visit DOMA Coffee Roasting Company in Post Falls, Idaho, for craft coffee and accessories. Our van has an AeroPress and we highly recommend this for any coffee-loving camper. If you know someone who finds adventure in coffee, give them DOMA’s newest Gesha specialty coffee, complete with an original signed art label from local artist Jeff Weir. Or sign them up for a DOMA Coffee subscription, so they get awesome coffee delivered to their door. We love The Chronic dark roast (bonus groovy adventure van art on the label).
During the darker months, we tend to cook at home more. To spice up home-cooked creations, we love to use Inland Empire Spices on Monroe to give food special flavors. For burgers, we love the Smashburger Seasoning. For wild caught salmon, we use the Smokin’ Huckleberry Rub. For veggies, check out their Greek Seasoning. They also have gift sets where the tea and seasonings come in vials—these would be perfect tucked into stockings!
When shopping at the Main Market Co-op in downtown Spokane, we were delighted to find kitchen goods that reminded us of our love for nature. I found beautiful juice glasses with poppies, sea creatures, bees and trillium. Pair the set with homemade cranberry syrup and soda water for a nature-inspired mocktail set.
An adventurer who is also a chef/bbq master/veggie lover or just plain foodie might be delighted by a box of ingredients! LINC Foods has a subscription for all things local—even a beer box. The Herd, a ranch in eastern Washington, has beef boxes that ship farm-raised beef to your door. Gift the whole box or take out a steak for your own BBQ.
Though kids appreciate the holidays for religious reasons or the outdoor snow play, the most exciting gift that most any kid will cite are the toys. The Red Rider BB gun is not on the list in our house, but these creative, local and sustainable toys are.
Games from Uncle’s Games or Merlyn’s: Card games and board games bring connection throughout the year. Our favorites are Uno Flip, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, and any Harry Potter Game. For a more complex game, check out Forbidden Desert, recommended for ages 10+. This co-op board game has you excavating a solar-powered flying machine while trying to stay alive in the outdoor elements of a desert storm. We found this one at Whiz Kids. Hunt around and see if there’s a new game that will delight your family for hours in these dark months.
Whiz Kids also has a fun science section with telescopes, microscopes and experiments. They have one for understanding climate change, which can be hard to understand the how and why even for the science-minded kid. For the art-focused kids, they have kits to learn knitting by making butterflies and DIY kaleidoscope kits. There will be a Transforming Sphere under our tree this year. I’m not sure why these are so popular, but I’m sure the kids can tell you!
Boo Radley’s is a trove of treasures for every age. Kids love the interesting and unique finds, from tin lunch boxes to finger puppets, unique stuffies and toys.
For those kids who miss the toy section of The White Elephant, look no farther than just a few blocks north at The General Store. The selection of toys, games and Lego sets will keep any kiddo busy for hours. Don’t forget to shop for classics that will inspire outdoor time like a set of kid’s binoculars or a good old-fashioned sled.
A few more things on our list: Toddlers love the bike rider on a stick found at Kizuri. The “instruments” (aka noise makers) at Kizuri are also a kid favorite, though some of them might need to stay at grandma’s house. Art supplies from Spokane Art Supply on Monroe are sure to delight the little or big artists on your list.
If your loved one ventures off the trail and into the wild, a year subscription to Life Flight is most likely on the need list. Paired with a satellite communication device, we have been happy to have this combo on river-trips, backcountry ski adventures and high mountain bikepacking slogs. Not only does it save lives, it helps the ones left home to relax and know that you have a plan in case of an emergency. It might be the best care item on our list.
The Dragon Balm XTRA Strength ($32) from APEX Cannabis can help soothe tired muscles that play hard. We’ve been happy to have it after a long day of skiing or even just after sitting at the computer for a while. They have a variety, so you can pick up a lavender scented cream or one that will leave you smelling like a Chinese herb store. If you know someone who struggles to sleep, or sleep in a tent/unfamiliar place, consider gifting Lil Rays, 100mg shooters. They can take the edge off and help someone get to sleep. Is there a better gift than good sleep?
When I think of gifts that make my life better, but I won’t buy for myself, these two things come to mind. First, IV Therapy. Gifting someone hydration and nutrition through a needle in their arm might seem strange, until you see the benefits. We had Carlee at IV Offerings come to our house (yes, she does home visits) to administer a migraine solution of magnesium, b & c vitamins and other things that might not absorb as well in my celiac gut. It goes right into the blood stream and the results are fewer migraines. Second, personal training for a set period of time. As the New Year Wellness season kicks off, starting the season with someone who is invested in your fitness journey can keep you going past February. Donnie at Torq Personal Training has created a welcoming, kind environment with tools to help day to day between workout sessions. //
Shallan Knowles is the designer and co-publisher of Out There.