“We get our kids lift tickets for Christmas. They already have so much, and skiing is something we love to do together.” I was chatting with Robin Adams, a ski mom of 10 and a grandmother of 12 from North Carolina.
Each year, her entire family drives to Snowshoe, West Virginia on the day after Christmas. They come from all over the southeast and meet for a week to celebrate, enjoy each other’s company and ski.
As my sons have gotten older, I’ve become more aware of how important shared experiences really are. Time together really is the greatest gift. Over the years, we’ve built memories and traditions that bind us together. Rather than complaining about having to go away for a weekend with their parents, our boys look forward to it. So do we.
The Gift of Experience and Adventure
Two years ago, my parents gave each of our sons the opportunity to build significant memories with them. Rather than buy them tangible gifts, each boy received a sheaf of papers on Christmas Day. These papers listed the details of several trips that they could take, individually, with my parents. The options ranged from river rafting to flight school, from camping and climbing mountains to sailing. They could each choose one trip. They began reading.
“No way, there is no way I’m going to flight school,” our oldest exclaimed. “Landing a plane…no way.” Flight school was out. But rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, he couldn’t have been happier with that option. Too young for flight school, our youngest fixed on learning to sail in Maine.
Long story short, both trips were amazing adventures. Each boy spent a week, by himself, with his grandparents. The grandparents got to share an amazing experience with each grandson. Time to bond, make memories and share love: is there any better gift?
A Skiing Family’s List for Santa
While family fun and adventure is high on our list, a few skiing-related items have also caught my eye.
For Advent: As a child, I hated waiting for Christmas. But I loved Advent Calendars. I still do. While I have paper and wooden calendars that we use year after year, we also enjoy the electronic version. This year, Jacquie Lawson has a beautiful calendar set in an Alpine village, complete with skier and a chairlift in the background. Each day offers a surprise, from decorating a virtual Christmas tree to listening to carols. It’s a well-spent $3.00.
Lego also has Advent Calendars, but what I like better are their holiday village kits. The new kit for this season is the Lego Winter Village Cottage, complete with skiers, a snowplow, an igloo and a sleigh! Start building on December 1 and create your own holiday scene.
For the Family Chef: Skiing makes you hungry. I reviewed the Ski House Cookbook last season and it is well worth another mention. With recipes rated green, blue and black, this cookbook is full of delicious recipes that will warm you up and fill you up.
One of the authors, Sarah Pinneo, recently published a novel: Julia’s Child. I recently read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Think overachieving, socially aware mother of two balancing a start up business with her conscience and guilt…and recipes, too!
And while you’re cooking all this great food, have the kids set the table with skiing themed placemats. The New England Ski Museum offers a nifty design inspired by retro-ski resort patches, while the Adirondack Store goes even further back with simple sketches of early 20th Century gear.
Take Care of Your Car (and Skis): Ever lean your skis against your car only to have them fall over? Bad for the car and bad for your skis.
Here’s a $15.00 solution: The Ski Bumper. A narrow, textured polyurethane strip that attaches to your car via magnets, the Ski Bumper will hold your skis in place until you’re ready to pick them up and carry them. Each bumper holds four pair of skis. I’ll be doing a review and giveaway of a Ski Bumper come the New Year.
After-Ski Fun: Playing games together is a big part of building family memories and traditions. Our oldest son has never liked board games, but he’ll gladly play Apples To Apples for hours. For a game that’s easy to throw in the ski bag, we also love the high stakes dice game, Spicy Farkel.
Ski movies are another tradition at our house. From vintage John Jay and Warren Miller, to the latest releases from Matchstick Productions and Poor Boyz, watching the best skiers in the world (old and new) is always inspiring.
Double Duty: Can you hear me now? While cellphones have their place, they don’t always work in the backcountry. Motorola’s MT350 R Talkabout 2-Way Radios are made for the backcountry with 22 channels and a range up to 35 miles. What really gets me going however are the built-in flashlight, the emergency signal and one-button access to local NOAA weather radio forecasts.
Yes, they are bigger than your cellphone and a bit bulky in a pocket. But for backcountry skiers, parents with kids who don’t have a phone (but sometimes ski alone), and communication in resorts without coverage, they’re the bomb. And as good as they are for skiing, I think they’re even better for camping and backpacking. Best of all, your kids will love them and want to use them year-round with friends and during at-home adventures.
My Gift to You
Call me sentimental, but I so love the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar that I am giving three (3) of them away as my holiday gift to my readers. I hope you will enjoy the calendar and the daily dose of cheer that it provides!
To enter, please leave a comment. Three winners will be chosen randomly on November 27th from all entries received and the calendars will arrive by email.
Looking for More Ideas? Check out these wonderful outdoor blogs.
- Bring the Kids: Christmas Gifts for a Full Year of Family Adventure
- Nature For Kids: Outdoorsy Gift Giving Guide
- Skedaddle: DIY Gifts for the Outdoor Family
- Tales of a Mountain Mama: Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Families
- Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies: Christmas Gift Ideas for Outdoor Children
- Active Kids Club: 10 Gifts for Active Kids
- Outside Mom: Gifts to Encourage Your Budding Scientist
- Go Explore Nature: Gift Ideas for Backyard Nature Fun
- Adventure Tykes: My Top 10 Gear Picks for Outdoor Tykes
To facilitate this review, I received one pair of Motorola Talkabout 2 Way radios. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Suzi, Shawna and Em!
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