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40 Ideas for the Prepper Gift Giver

Black Friday Blues? 40 Ideas for the Prepper Gift Giver
Amanda Warren
Activist Post

The blinds are down. The doors are bolted. You slept in. You still bask in the euphoria of a pleasant evening with friends, family, and grateful feasting. Maybe you even helped others.

Congratulations – you had a great Thanksgiving! And you didn’t cave to the pressure to freeze in the cold night, suspend empathy and stampede your fellow man, pregnant woman*, child, old lady, disabled veteran, for overpriced made-in-China trinkets.

So you’re indoors, away from Black Friday’s most dangerous zombies – these ones can run! – and maybe wondering what you could give your loved ones that circumvents the mainstream fishies’ way of life. There’s still a pressure to get the coolest gadget and maybe you’ve gotten or made handcrafted gifts that seemed chintzy and cheap. Ever notice how thrilled people are when someone has donated to a charity in the recipient’s name? Not so much.

I could kick myself, because, again, I put stock in consumerism to show a token of friendship with gifts. I bought bulk organic makeup for my non-prepper friends – it wasn’t – it claimed it was from the Amazon with clay – it wasn’t – and I wasted money for foreign crap thinking it was a better way through the season. And I felt like a cheap snob. I quit!

I mean, I really want to walk away from it all, no matter how difficult. Isn’t it too late to be yearning for things that won’t matter in the upcoming months concerning the times we live in? Too late to condone the 5-sense way of life with fake money? If I give a gift it will be one they can actually use to prepare for the future, or a gift that includes making a memory.

My father inspired me with his new hobby of making birdhouses and what some call “junk art.” People have offered him money for it – now there’s a thought. Instead of watching TV he used his spare time to do something he enjoyed, that others will later enjoy.

Here are some gift ideas for your friends that will be there when the time is right and that your non-prepping friends and family won’t spit on (mostly):

Things that are storable, but do not take up too much space:
Seeds, kitchen herb garden sets
How about colloidal silver
Prepping type books
Classic books, or print out a free .pdf book and bind it
Recipe book, assemble, print, done – try outdoor cooking, camp burner, dutch oven ones
Food storage sampler
Ammo – NOW is the time, it’s running out
Gardening gift sets you assemble with separate items in a basket
DIY body care products
DIY anything
Simple alkalizing detox bath, could be a footbath. Simple recipe: 1/4 cup Epsom salts, 1/4 baking soda – could add herbs or just a couple drops of essential oils
Essential oil and homeopathic emergency or coldcare kits
Any kind of coldcare package
A month of organic food delivery or fresh farm co-op membership – or just buy the stuff and make sampler baskets
Upcycle some clothes – lots of blogs and Pinterest pics on that
Upcycle the giftwrap, boxes, and ties – better yet, use prep tools like paracord
Use jars to mix up the dry seasonings & other ingredients for a dinner or dessert and include the recipe
Could also make jars with sauces, dressings, and marinades – if you made it, it’s gourmet
A microbrewery kit
With some meal prep, you could deliver frozen meals, homemade ready meals, homemade pie
Make winterwear – sometimes as easy as just cutting some fleece
Upcycle junk into something else
Burn a CD with shared favorite songs or an online music mix
Photobook – easy to make online. Many women say that photos are the one thing they wish they could carry from a burning house
Different colored duct tapes are really in right now, especially among youth

Things that aren’t things:

Coffee and dessert at home
Create a video with a favorite song and pictures for the backdrop
Local music or event
Farmers market trip
Work on a project together – see all ideas above
Take a cooking or meal prep class
Try something new together
Refinish something
Write something
Host a movie night with a meaningful movie (Like They Live! Kidding)
Shooting range time, or Women in the Outdoors and Project Appleseed events
Grab a friend and both do something for someone else together – do you know how many elderly are completely alone? Go on a mission to find them.
Just visit

Use any type of skill, gift or talent to contribute to another person – it shouldn’t go unappreciated. Giving gifts isn’t the only Love Language.

Anything that involves not buying prepackaged garbage and does not support overseas money or economic gobblers here. Your family “who doesn’t get it” might roll their eyes, but wouldn’t they be grateful later? You think about their well being enough already, you can show it without actually showing what you’re doing. And if people have the gall to scoff at those thoughtful gifts, then maybe ask Santa for new friends.

Please add your own in the comment section below!

*True story: I know a young girl who was 7 months pregnant out on Black Friday who got slammed and toppled over by a ruffian and she had to go to the hospital for early contractions! The older man did not help her but instead shouted “Iss not my fault! I didn’t do that! Y’all saw it – you can’t sue me!” Then everyone blamed her for going out. Wait a second, shouldn’t a pregnant woman be able to shop without the fear of losing her baby? But, as for me: PASS.


Bath Salts: Because you weren’t Crazy enough on Meth

Cops: Ohio Man Breaks Into Home, Sets Up Christmas Decorations

VANDALIA, Ohio (CBS Cleveland) – A Vandalia man is suspected of breaking into a family’s home while high on bath salts and setting up Christmas decorations.

Terry Trent, 44, was arrested and charged with burglary last week around the Dayton area when an 11-year-old boy found the man sitting on the couch after he had done some Christmas decorating around the house. It is likely that Trent was high on bath salts, according to police reports.

Vandalia police said that Trent entered through one of the home’s back doors and made himself comfortable, lighting candles on the coffee and kitchen tables as well as having the television’s volume on very loudly. Trent had also hung a Christmas wreath on the back garage door.

When discovering that Trent was watching television and playing with the boy’s things, the 11-year-old boy called his mother, who was next door at their neighbor’s house.

The mother told police that Trent attempted to be polite to the boy. He was arrested without incident, but police did find that he was carrying a pocket knife.

“He had said to him, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I’ll get my things and go,’”
the boy’s mother told WHIO.

One man who was working with Trent last week described him as a very caring person involved with the Boy Scouts and a local church program to help convicted felons currently in prison. But he wasn’t acting well that day, the man said, describing Trent as “mentally unstable.”

Police indicated that Trent, who is now being held in Montgomery County Jail, has a history of drug charges.

“He wasn’t acting like his normal self,
” the man said in the report. “I [asked] him what was going on [and] he got mad and left the job. He is paranoid and thinks people are out to get him.”


The Gender Blur

The Gender Blur

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by Deborah Blum

I was raised in one of those university-based, liberal elite families that politicians like to ridicule. In my childhood, every human being—regardless of gender—was exactly alike under the skin, and I mean exactly, barring his or her different opportunities. My parents wasted no opportunity to bring this point home. One Christmas, I received a Barbie doll and a softball glove. Another brought a green enamel stove, which baked tiny cakes by the heat of a lightbulb, and also a set of steel-tipped darts and competition-quality dartboard. Did I mention the year of the chemistry set and the ballerina doll?

It wasn’t until I became a parent—I should say, a parent of two boys—that I realized I had been fed a line and swallowed it like a sucker (barring the part about opportunities, which I still believe). This dawned on me during my older son’s dinosaur phase, which began when he was about two and a half. Oh, he loved dinosaurs, all right, but only the blood-swilling carnivores. Plant-eaters were wimps and losers, and he refused to wear a T-shirt marred by a picture of a stegosaur. I looked down at him one day, as he was snarling around my feet and doing his toddler best to gnaw off my right leg, and I thought: This goes a lot deeper than culture.

Raising children tends to bring on this kind of politically incorrect reaction. Another friend came to the same conclusion watching a son determinedly bite his breakfast toast into the shape of a pistol he hoped would blow away—or at least terrify—his younger brother. Once you get past the guilt part—Did I do this? Should I have bought him that plastic allosaur with the oversized teeth?—such revelations can lead you to consider the far more interesting field of gender biology, where the questions take a different shape: Does love of carnage begin in a culture or genetics, and which drives which? Do the gender roles of our culture reflect an underlying biology, and, in turn, does the way we behave influence that biology?

The point I’m leading up to—through the example of my son’s innocent love of predatory dinosaurs—is actually one of the most straightforward in this debate. One of the reasons we’re so fascinated by childhood behaviors is that, as the old saying goes, the child becomes the man (or woman, of course.) Most girls don’t spend their preschool years snarling around the house and pretending to chew off their companion’s legs. And they—mostly—don’t grow up to be as aggressive as men. Do the ways that we amplify those early differences in childhood shape the adults we become? Absolutely. But it’s worth exploring the starting place—the faint signal that somehow gets amplified.

Who you pay is what you get….

“There’s plenty of room in society to influence sex differences,” says Marc Breedlove, a behavioral endocrinologist at the University of California at Berkeley and a pioneer in defining how hormones can help build sexually different nervous systems. “Yes, we’re born with predispositions, but it’s society that amplifies them, exaggerates them. I believe that—except for the sex differences in aggression. Those [differences] are too massive to be explained simply by society.”

Aggression does allow a straightforward look at the issue. Consider the following statistics: Crime reports in both the United States and Europe record between 10 and 15 robberies committed by men for every one by a woman. At one point, people argued that this was explained by size difference. Women weren’t big enough to intimidate, but that would change, they predicted, with the availability of compact weapons. But just as little girls don’t routinely make weapons out of toast, women—even criminal ones—don’t seem drawn to weaponry in the same way that men are. Almost twice as many male thieves and robbers use guns as their female counterparts do.

Or you can look at more personal crimes: domestic partner murders. Three-fourths of men use guns in those killings; 50 percent of women do. Here’s more from the domestic front: In conflicts in which a woman killed a man, he tended to be the one who had started the fight—in 51.8 percent of the cases, to be exact. When the man was the killer, he again was the likely first aggressor, and by an even more dramatic margin. In fights in which women died, they had started the argument only 12.5 percent of the time.

Enough. You can parade endless similar statistics but the point is this: Males are more aggressive, not just among humans but among almost all species on earth. Male chimpanzees, for instance, declare war on neighboring troops, and one of their strategies is a warning strike: They kill females and infants to terrorize and intimidate. In terms of simple, reproductive genetics, it’s an advantage of males to be aggressive: You can muscle your way into dominance, winning more sexual encounters, more offspring, more genetic future. For the female—especially in a species like ours,with time for just one successful pregnancy a year—what’s the genetic advantage in brawling?

Thus the issue becomes not whether there is a biologically influenced sex difference in aggression—the answer being a solid, technical “You betcha”—but rather how rigid that difference is. The best science, in my opinion, tends to align with basic common sense. We all know that there are extraordinarily gentle men and murderous women. Sex differences are always generalizations: They refer to a behavior, with some evolutionary rationale behind it. They never define, entirely, an individual. And that fact alone should tell us that there’s always—even in the most biologically dominated traits—some flexibility, an instinctive ability to respond, for better and worse, to the world around us.

This is true even with physical characteristics that we’ve often assumed are nailed down by genetics. Scientists now believe height, for instance, is only about 90 percent heritable. A person’s genes might code for a six-foot-tall body, but malnutrition could literally cut that short. And there’s also some evidence, in girls anyway, that children with stressful childhoods tend to become shorter adults. So while some factors are predetermined, there’s evidence that the prototypical male/female body design can be readily altered.

It’s a given that humans, like most other species—bananas, spiders, sharks, ducks, any rabbit you pull out of a hat—rely on two sexes for reproduction. So basic is that requirement that we have chromosomes whose primary purpose is to deliver the genes that order up a male or a female. All other chromosomes are numbered, but we label the sex chromosomes with the letters X and Y. We get one each from our mother and our father, and the basic combinations are these: XX makes female, XY makes male.

There are two important—and little known—points about these chromosomal matches. One is that even with this apparently precise system, there’s nothing precise—or guaranteed—about the physical construction of male and female. The other point makes that possible. It appears that sex doesn’t matter in the early stages of embryonic development. We are unisex at the point of conception.

If you examine an embryo at about six weeks, you see that it has the ability to develop in either direction. The fledgling embryo has two sets of ducts—Wolffian for male, Muellerian for female—an either/or structure, held in readiness for further development. If testosterone and other androgens are released by hormone producing cells, then the Wolffian ducts develop into the channel that connects penis to testes, and the female ducts wither away.

Without testosterone, the embryo takes on a female form; the male ducts vanish and the Muellerian ducts expand into oviducts, uterus, and vagina. In other words, in humans, anyway (the opposite is true in birds), the female is the default sex. Back in the 1950s, the famed biologist Alfred Jost showed that if you castrate a male rabbit fetus, choking off testosterone, you produce a completely feminized rabbit.

We don’t do these experiments in humans—for obvious reasons—but there are naturally occurring instances that prove the same point. For instance: In the fetal testes are a group of cells, called Leydig cells, that make testosterone. In rare cases, the fetus doesn’t make enough of these cells (a defect known as Leydig cell hypoplasia). In this circumstance we see the limited power of the XY chromosome. These boys have the right chromosomes and the right genes to be boys; they just don’t grow a penis. Obstetricians and parents often think they see a baby girl, and these children are routinely raised as daughters. Usually, the “mistake” is caught about the time of puberty, when menstruation doesn’t start. A doctor’s examination shows the child to be internally male; there are usually small testes, often tucked within the abdomen. As the researchers put it, if the condition had been known from the beginning, “the sisters would have been born as brothers.

Just to emphasize how tricky all this body-building can get, there’s a peculiar genetic defect that seems to be clustered by heredity in a small group of villages in the Dominican Republic. The result of the defect is a failure to produce an enzyme that concentrates testosterone, specifically for building the genitals. One obscure little enzyme only, but here’s what happens without it: You get a boy with undescended testes and a penis so short and stubby that it resembles an oversized clitoris.

In the mountain villages of this Caribbean nation, people are used to it. The children are usually raised as “conditional” girls. At puberty, the secondary tide of androgens rises and is apparently enough to finish the construction project. The scrotum suddenly descends, the phallus grows, and the child develops a distinctly male body–narrow hips, muscular build, and even slight beard growth. At that point, the family shifts the child over from daughter to son. The dresses are thrown out. He begins to wear male clothes and starts dating girls. People in the Dominican Republic are so familiar with this condition that there’s a colloquial name for it: guevedoces, meaning “eggs (or testes) at 12.”

It’s the comfort level with this slip-slide of sexual identity that’s so remarkable and, I imagine, so comforting to the children involved. I’m positive that the sexual transition of these children is less traumatic than the abrupt awareness of the “sisters who would have been brothers.” There’s a message of tolerance there, well worth repeating, and there are some other key lessons too.

These defects are rare and don’t alter the basic male-female division of our species. They do emphasize how fragile those divisions can be. There is no supermale security in possessing a Y chromosome, no femininity guarantee with the double X. Biology allows flexibility, room to change, to vary and grow. With that comes room for error as well. That it’s possible to live with these genetic defects, that they don’t merely kill us off, is a reminder that we, male and female alike, exist on a continuum of biological possibilities that can overlap and sustain either sex.

Marc Breedlove points out that the most difficult task may be separating how the brain responds to hormones from how the brain responds to the results of hormones. Which brings us back, briefly, below the belt: In this context, the penis is just a result, the product of androgens at work before birth. “And after birth,” says Breedlove, “virtually everyone who interacts with that individual will note that he has a penis, and will, in many instances, behave differently than if the individual was a female.”

Do the ways that we amplify physical and behavioral differences in childhood shape who we become as adults? Absolutely. But to understand that, you have to understand the differences themselves—their beginning and the very real biochemistry that may lie behind them.

Here is a good place to focus on testosterone—a hormone that is both well studied and generally underrated. First, however, I want to acknowledge that there are many other hormones and neurotransmitters that appear to influence behavior. Preliminary work shows that fetal boys are a little more active than fetal girls. It’s pretty difficult to argue socialization at that point. Who’s willing to make the point that an unborn fetus is floating around in the amniotic fluid mulling over its gender identity and making decisions about how often to kick. There’s a strong suspicion that testosterone may create the difference.

And there are a couple of relevant animal models to emphasize the point. Back in the 1960s, Robert Goy, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, first documented that young male monkeys play much more roughly than young females. Goy went on to show that if you manipulate testosterone level—raising it in females, damping it down in males—you can reverse those effects, creating sweet little male monkeys and rowdy young females.

Is testosterone the only factor at work here? I don’t think so. But clearly we can argue a strong influence, and, interestingly, studies have found that girls with congenital adrenal hypoplasia—who run high in testosterone—tend to be far more fascinated by trucks and toy weaponry than most little girls are. They lean toward rough-and-tumble play, too. As it turns out, the strongest influence on this “abnormal” behaviors is not parental disapproval, but the company of other little girls, who tone them down and direct them toward more routine girl games.

And that reinforces an early point: If there is indeed a biology to sex differences, we amplify it. At some point—when it is still up for debate—we gain a sense of our gender, and with it a sense of “gender-appropriate” behavior.

Some scientists argue for some evidence of gender awareness in infancy, perhaps by the age of 12 months. The consensus seems to be that full-blown “I’m a girl” or “I’m a boy” instincts arrive between the ages of 2 and 3. Research shows that if a family operates in a very traditional, Beaver Cleaver kind of environment, filled with awareness of and association with “proper” gender behaviors, the “boys do trucks, girls do dolls” attitude seems to come very early. If a child grows up in a less traditional family, with an emphasis on partnership and sharing—”We all do the dishes, Joshua”—children maintain a more flexible sense of gender roles until about age

And, returning to children for a moment, there’s an ongoing study by Pennsylvania researchers, tracking that question in adolescent girls, who are being encouraged by their parents to engage in competitive activities once for boys only. As they do so, the researchers are monitoring, regularly, two hormones: testosterone and cortisol, a stress hormone. Will these hormones rise in response to this new, more traditionally male environment? What if more girls choose the competitive path; more boys choose the other? Will female testosterone levels rise, male levels fall? Will that wonderful, unpredictable, flexible biology that we’ve been given allow a shift, so that one day, we will literally be far more alike?

We may not have answers to all those questions, but we can ask them, and we can expect that the answers will come someday, because science clearly shows us that such possibilities exist. In this most important sense, sex differences offer us a paradox. It is only through exploring and understanding what makes us different that we can begin to understand what binds us together.

Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer, a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women (Penguin 1997).

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