Christmas is on its way, and it is time to start thinking about what everyone on your list most wants and needs. Whether you are just starting your new homestead or know someone that is, this list is sure to please. I have offered great gifts for the homesteader for all budgets, and these are all items that I either own or have owned in the past except for the fermentation crock which was always on my list but never became a reality.
1) Books -
The first thing most people need when starting their new homestead is information. They need to know how to put up fences, grow gardens, build green houses, and take care of their animals. While a lot of that information can come from the internet and friends, there is nothing that replaces a few good reference books.
My Free and Cheap Book List – First I want to share a link to a post I did a few weeks back, for free and cheap kindle books, your recipient does not need to have a kindle to read these, but if you are planning to buy them a kindle for Christmas, you could load it up with all of these titles.
Paper Books – Nothing beats the tactile sensation of picking up a real book and I personally prefer my reference books in paper in any case, this makes it much easier to refer to what I need when I need it. Here is my list of books for Under the Christmas tree:
- Backyard Homesteading: A Back-to-Basics Guide to Self-Sufficiency (Gardening) I loved this book which is mostly for the small homesteader as it provides a good overview of the things that can be done as well as a good reference guide to get you started. There are lots of pictures and most of the basic details are all there, for gardening, chicken, goat, and bee keeping and havesting.
- Homesteading: A Back to Basics Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Back to Basics Guides) This book is intended to be a bit more comprehensive for those that are serious about self-sufficiency but are just getting started. From recipes to gardening ideas, basket weaving and making your own composting toilet this book covers a little bit of everything.
- The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!I highly recommended this book to anyone that has a small lot and wants to do big things. I had both 5 acres to work with at one time, and a smaller farm with just half of an acre of workable land. This book was invaluable in making the most of the area I had to work with.
- 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide (Gardening) I had this book but never really got to take full advantage of it. Still I loved everything about it. Whether you want to build a root cellar, green house or raised beds this book will show you how. There are tons of projects including a few you probably have not even thought of.
- Country Wisdom & Know-How I added this because it is a fun book to just leaf through in the evenings. I had not only this book but one about survival, gardening and crafting by the same publishing company. It is reminiscent of the whole earth catalog I had when I was younger, and is great for quick answers as well as for inspiration. It is loaded with different ideas for making cheese and butter, improving your soil, and tons of different projects for the homestead.
2) Canning and Cooking Supplies -
There were a lot of supplies I needed when I had my homestead, both to take care of the harvest I grew but also to reflect in the changes in my cooking style. Big stock pots were a must, canning supplies, baking supplies, a set of good knives, a good set of cutting boards and the list goes on. A lot of these ideas can be purchased on a budget and your gift recipient will appreciate your forward thinking help to get them started on their new path. Here are my picks for kitchen tools for the homesteader:
- New Professional Commercial Grade 20 QT (Quart) Heavy Gauge Stainless Steel Stock Pot, 3-Ply Clad Base, Induction Ready, With Lid Cover NSF Certified Item I strongly recommend this one investment for the new homesteader, a good quality stock pot. Not only is a stockpot invaluable in dozens of different ways, but a good heavy gauge stock pot really is a must when cooking things on the stove for long periods of time. Scorching is a real problem with cheaper pots, and when you have tomato sauce cooking for several hours that can become a real problem. It is also important to go with a stainless steel instead of aluminum pot, aluminum will react with certain foods such as tomatoes.
Your new homesteader will need at least a couple of these, one for water bath and one for pressure canning.
- Granite Ware 0707-1 21-1/2-Quart Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner with Rack
- Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
- All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner <<< My Personal Favorite
- Henkel Openstock Knives – I am a firm believer in buying a couple of good quality knives rather than an entire set. Henkel has always been my favorite, probably because I have one knife of theirs I have had since I have started homesteading 25 years ago and it still looks as good and as new as it did the day I bought it. There are a lot of other good knives and sets, but if you are on a budget and want to get one good quality knife this is the one.
3) Magazine Subscriptions -
One of the best sources of information I used was magazines. I typically had anywhere between 2 and 5 magazines coming in at any time. You can order magazines in paper form or you can order them electronically. Here are some of my favorites:
- Hobby Farms (1-year auto-renewal)
- Urban Farm (1-year auto-renewal)
- Countryside & Small Stock Journal
4) Mushroom Growing Kit -
If your gift recipient has someplace cool and dark to grow mushrooms this is one gift that can be a lot of fun especially for someone new to homesteading. These kits come with everything you need to grow your own mushrooms including complete instructions which will help your gift recipient become a professional mushroom grower in no time.
One of the strangest things about homesteaders is that they love to talk about and work in dirt and compost. While a worm farm might seem like a bit of an odd gift, most homesteaders will “Get It.” In fact don’t be surprised if their reaction is over the top from what you expected when they open the gift.
6) Fermentation Crock -
Out of all of the gifts on this list this is the one I never got and always wished I had. If your homesteader or their family loves pickles, sauerkraut, or kim Chee one of these crocks is an absolute must. They make the task of making authentic pickles much easier and allow you to create true fermented foods that are full of good for you probiotics.
7) Kitchen Aid Mixer -
Ok granted this is a bit more expensive than most of the gifts on this list, but I can guarantee you that anyone that gets this under the Christmas tree will be over the moon. In addition to being able to use it to mix just about anything from scratch from making candy, whipping cream, making bread and cooking dough, and mashing potatoes, a wide range of accessories can make this one of the best investments for the homesteading kitchen. I used mine to make tomato sauce, shred large quantities of vegetables, and grind sausage and even make the sausage into links.
If there was one single appliance I would recommend purchasing for the new homesteader this would be the one.
- KitchenAid KP26M1PSL Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer, Silver This is the model I have and the one I highly recommend for heavy use. There is a 4 and 5 quart model if this model is over budget, but if your gift recipient is using it for bread, grinding meat or grain I strongly recommended the 6 quart.
8) Meat grinder or Sausage Making Equipment
If your recipient is planning on raising and butchering a lot of animals, then a sausage maker may be a better option than a kitchen aide attachment. As good that the attachment for the mixer works, it is really only made for occasional use. A good sausage maker and or meat grinder and accessories is great for anyone raising pigs, turkeys, or beef.
- STX INTERNATIONAL STX-3000-TF Turboforce 3-Speed Electric Meat Grinder with 3 Cutting Blades, 3 Grinding Plates, Kubbe Attachment and Sausage Stuffing Tubes
9) Dehydrators -
If your new homesteader still does not have a dehydrator this can make the perfect gift. Great for drying fruit, herbs, and vegetables no homestead should be without one. Whether you just need a way to dry herbs you harvest or want to get fancy and make fruit leathers and jerky a small dehydrator can offer you one more way to extend your harvest. Invest in a better unit and it can be used prepare food for long term storage.
- Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun This model is affordable and perfect for drying a few herbs or making fruit leathers.
- Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black This is what I have and highly recommend. It has a thermostat with far more control than budget models and with 9 trays you can pack a lot more food in it. There is also a timer so that you do not have to worry about being home or awake when your food is done drying. Comes with the polyscreens.
10) Vitamix Blender
I was of the firm believe that as long as I had a kitchen aide mixer w/attachments and this blender I did not need any other appliances. Vitamix blenders are more than just another blender. They last forever and can do just about anything from chopping to making soup hot in the container. (No this is not a gimmick I have made both hot soup and ice cream with one). Again this is an expensive gift, but keep in mind these blenders are built to last for 10 years or more and to do just about anything. Purchase the dry container to go with it, and your new homesteader can use it to grind their own grain, make flax seed meal and a number of other things.
- Vitamix 5200s Black : Featuring Variable Speed Control and Large Capacity 64oz Container – Also includes Getting Started Plus Recipe Book, Instructional DVD, and 7 Year Warranty!
I hope you enjoyed this list and found at least one thing that you either want or want to gift to someone else. I loved getting these items as gifts and really enjoyed using them and I am sure you or your gift recipient will too.