Love don’t cost a thing—but Christmas gifts often do. Why not treat the outdoor adventurer in your life to something homemade, an activity together or an upcycled gear item?

When purchasing presents, we often overlook the true cost behind an item—the environmental costs of shipping and manufacturing, our wasteful throw-away society, and even the factory working conditions.

It might seem strange to gift something that doesn’t need to be unwrapped, but I encourage you to give it a try this holiday season. Here are a few ideas to get you started:


Go for a hike, toboggan or ski

Grab your hiking boots, sled or skis and hit the trails! Plan out a special route for your friend, set up a nature scavenger hunt for the young ones in your family or find a secluded spot for some time alone with your significant other. Fresh air truly is the best present. Thank you, Mother Nature!


Take a scenic drive or stroll through lights

Take advantage of the earlier setting sun and spend a calm evening basking in the glow of Christmas lights. If there is an official light display in your city, grab a few friends, a warm toque and gloves, and a camera to document the stunning sculptures and sparkling trees. Otherwise, you can stroll through your neighbourhood, admiring houses that are outfitted with decorations.


Upcycle gear you’ve grown out of or upgraded

Do you have some extra outdoor adventure gear in your garage or storage unit that you haven’t touched in far too long? Why not gift it to someone else who would love it? You can also create something new out of old adventure gear, like artwork from skis or a shelf from a snowboard!


Paint a picture of your favourite outdoor scene

If you can’t get outside, bring the outdoors to you! Choose a picture from an amazing past adventure and paint, draw or sketch it. You can also follow one of Bob Ross’s videos. Go on and paint some happy trees!


Create a photo collage from old albums

Take out your dusty photo albums and cycle through images of you and your family growing up and getting outside. Choose the best outdoor adventure images and stick them in an old frame or photocopy it for unique family Christmas cards. Don’t have physical albums? Go digital! Make a video or online photo album to share with your loved ones.


Pick berries together and make jam

Find what’s in season around you and go foraging! Maybe you’ll pick saskatoon berries for jam; perhaps you’ve got a pumpkin for a hearty winter soup. In December, you can grow things like potatoes and pears, or crack into pickled, dried and frozen produce.


Fish for your dinner

Have you ever been ice fishing? If you live in a cold climate, test out your skills on a pond that’s frozen solid—and maybe you’ll catch your own dinner! Bring a pair of skates or toboggan to spend the afternoon having fun with the whole family.


Have a holiday-themed picnic

Who said picnics are just for summer? While you might have to eat inside, you can still place a blanket on your living room or basement floor and enjoy a spread of delicious goodies while the snow falls softly outside. Turkey, cranberry sauce and eggnog will make this the ultimate winter picnic.


Fill a notebook with adventure challenges

Gift your love of adventure by challenging a friend or family member to get outside every day for the next week, month or year. Find an old notebook (who else has plenty of those around?) and repurpose it into a motivating adventure journal full of inspiring challenges for outdoor lovers.


More winter adventures: