We have witnessed mass destruction the past few weeks due to another weather related disaster. Many, including many talk show host and news anchors, are openly talking about the need to prepare. Others are mocking and making light of the heartache saying it can’t happen to them. I am reminded of a time when I was younger when I wrote about a hurricane in New Jersey, only to have a reader write to tell me hurricanes do not happen in New Jersey. I remember another article I wrote for Meridian Magazine and said there is really no place free from the threat of a disaster. This time a reader wrote to tell me weather disasters never happen in Arizona and I should move there. A short time later there was a horrible firestorm in Arizona and a short time later terrible dust storms.

The prophets have never told us to prepare for a hurricane, earthquake, flood, job loss, or recession. They have simply told us to prepare and to become self reliant. Self-reliance protects our family and contributes to our peace of mind.

Let’s not depart from our goal of becoming self reliant and helping our friends and family do the same. Do not forget the college students on your list. A few years ago I wrote an article about the steps all of the BYU campuses have taken to prepare to care for their students. They are great plans but all the campuses said the same thing, students have to be prepared to care for themselves as well. Students are encouraged to have 72 hour kits, which most agree now should be 96 hour kits. Those who drive to school should also have an auto kit just in case they encounter a problem on their way to or from campus.

I have a family member living in Rexburg and we just had a discussion about what still needs to be done to prepare for a power outage. The power grid in many areas is very, very, fragile. Does your student have the means to cook or provide light or keep warm during an outage?

Let’s give the gift of self reliance this Christmas.

  1. Flashlights: Various sizes to be kept in the car, home, 96 hour kits, at the office and next to the bed. Battery operated, not the shake variety.
  2. Batteries of various sizes
  3. Glow Sticks for the car, home, 96 hour kits, at the office and next to the bed.
  4. Flameless candles great for night lights and great for everyday use.
  5. Candles, those in glass containers are the best. Scented candles for emergency use are not a good idea. The scent will become overwhelming if you have several burning.
  6. Landscape lighting, great for the garden and outdoor safety and a light source during a power outage.
  7. Battery powdered lantern.
  8. Battery and/or crank radio for home and office.
  9. Battery operated clock for the mantel or next to the bed.
  10. Patio fire pit for emergency cooking.
  11. Dutch oven.
  12. Dutch oven lid lifter, charcoal and Dutch oven recipe book.
  13. Barbecue utensils.
  14. Pie irons, hot dog roaster, popcorn popper, or other items to enable you to cook over a fire.
  15. Heat resistant gloves for cooking over a fire.
  16. Long wooden matches and fire starters.
  17. Camp stove.
  18. Propane bottles for camp stove or grill.
  19. Solar oven.
  20. Portable oven.
  21. Firewood.
  22. Griddle and/or pots and pans for cooking over a fire.
  23. Body warmers.
  24. Wool socks.
  25. Wool hat and scarf.
  26. Wool blanket for the car. Remember wool will keep you warm even when wet.
  27. Generator.
  28. Fuel cans for storing fuel for the generator. These will disappear very quickly for the store when a storm threatens.
  29. Manual can opener.
  30. Liquid laundry detergent or the ingredient to make your own. You can find the recipe and directions at the Totally Ready blog .
  31. Bucket and plunger to make a “washing machine”. Do a search at the Totally Ready  blog for directions.
  32. Rope and clothes pins.
  33. Sleeping bags.
  34. 2 man tent.
  35. Family size tent.
  36. Mylar blankets, lots and lots. For dozens of uses see your copy of Totally Ready for the Road or former newsletters.
  37. Tarps, again lots of uses.
  38. Water purifier.
  39. Sports bottles with water purifying ability.
  40. Water storage containers.
  41. Water.
  42. Food storage: canned foods.
  43. Food storage: baking ingredients.
  44. Food storage: desserts such as puddings, and brownie and cake mixes.
  45. Food storage: hygiene kit with toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, shampoo and deodorant.
  46. Food storage: homemade jams and jellies add some peanut butter and crackers and you have a meal.
  47. Food storage: Food in a jar. Cookies to soups can be layered in a canning jar with directions for preparing.
  48. Food storage: Medical~bandages, anti bacterial cream, anti diarrheal, pain meds, throat lozenges.
  49. Food storage: Wheat and bread pans.
  50. Food storage: Paper products~paper plates and cups or Tp and tissues
  51. Food storage: Ingredients to make a favorite meal or two or three.
  52. Games and puzzles to help pass the time.
  53. Portable potty.
  54. 96 Hour Kits, we all know 72 hours isn’t enough.
  55. 96 Hour Kits: hygiene kit~toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, shampoo, razor, shaving cream, towelettes and deodorant.
  56. 96 Hour Kits: first aid kit and book.
  57. 96 Hour Kits: family uniform. For information check out the Totally Ready blog.
  58. 96 Hour Kits: Multi purpose tool and work gloves.
  59. 96 Hour Kits: Glow sticks and whistle.
  60. 96 Hour Kits: Backpacks.
  61. 96 Hour Kits: Emergency food bars.
  62. 96 Hour Kits: Emergency water packs.
  63. 96 Hour Kits: Cash~small bills and a roll of quarters.
  64. 96 Hour Kits: Rain poncho and sun glasses.
  65. 96 Hour Kits: Travel games..
  66. 96 Hour Kits: Mylar blanket, hand warmers, scarf and hat.
  67. 96 Hour Kits: Maps and a compass, yes the GPS can be worthless after a disaster.
  68. Solar charger for cell phone, lap top and radio.
  69. Gift certificate to pay for HAM radio license class and/or fees.
  70. Ham radio and/or antenna.
  71. Grainmaker Grain Mill: The only one I ever recommend! They are expensive but absolutely the best!
  72. N95 face masks, medical gloves and hand sanitizer for pandemic prep.
  73. Canner.
  74. Canning utensils.
  75. Pressure canner.
  76. Canning jars and pectin.
  77. Canning recipe book.
  78. Steamer/Juicer.
  79. Dehydrator.
  80. Sprouting trays.
  81. Heirloom seeds.
  82. Planter boxes or gift certificate to purchase supplies needed to make their own.

  83. Composter.
  84. Irrigation system for the garden.
  85. Folding shovel for the car.
  86. Fire escape ladder.
  87. Gas shut off wrench.
  88. Ax.
  89. Folding saw.
  90. Old fashion plug into the wall phone. The only kinds that work during a power outage.
  91. Emergency car kit.
  92. Emergency Office kit.
  93. Battery powdered fan.
  94. Sewing machine.
  95. Sewing kit.
  96. Quilting frame.
  97. Gift Certificate: Teach a skill, sewing, cooking in a Dutch oven, gardening, car maintenance, canning, bread baking, cheese making, soap making etc.
  98. Gift Certificate: Help do a Home Inventory.
  99. Gift Certificate: Meet with a family and design an Evacuation Plan.

100. Gift Certificate: Meet with a family and take family photos for their 96 hour kits.

101. Gift Certificate: Canned fruit next canning season.

102. Gift Certificate: Meet with a family and design a Food Storage Plan.

103. Totally Ready for the Road.No glove box should be without this guide for handling trouble on the road.

104. Subscription to the Totally Ready Newsletter.

105. Mother Hubbard, What She’s Doing Now: Food storage for the 21st century.


Ok, so I couldn’t resist the last three. Information is a great gift. All the tools in the world are of little worth if you don’t know how to use them. We are all on a budget this year, at least all my friends and family are, so make any purchase from Totally Ready and I will send a second copy of anything you purchase to use as a gift.

My family in New Jersey is still without power, three weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit. Something similar can, and likely will, happen to those you love. Now is the perfect time to encourage preparedness. Let’s do it!

Visit Carolyn’s blog and purchase her books and newsletters . Send her a message at facebook.com/totallyready or Ca*****@To**********.com