Giving Peace of Mind for Christmas

Autumn leaves fall. Frost nips the air. One evening last week as dusk dimmed the colors around me I drove toward my son’s house. As I turned onto his street I gasped. Halloween lights and decorations adorned a neighbor’s porch – but on the rooftop there was Santa in his sleigh lighting up the sky!  Okay, so I think people are a bit precocious to blend Santa with pumpkins, cornstalks, and scarecrows. Still, I can’t ignore the fact: Christmas shopping looms. This year as I’m making my list and checking it twice, I’m considering the many possible gifts that could raise the level of preparedness for those I love. (And I’m making a list of preparedness gift suggestions for those who ask for ideas for us.)

There are many lists to consult for ideas as I make my own shopping lists. First, I’m looking at the basics list that came with a letter from the First Presidency dated January 20, 2002 to bishops, etc. to be read to all members in a sacrament meeting. The letter said, in part, “Church members can begin their home storage by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat. When members have stored enough of these essentials to meet the needs of their family, for one year, they may decide to add other items that they are accustomed to using day to day.” 

So now we know for sure where to start! In an unprecedented move, Church leaders have now given a suggested basic survival list for food storage for each adult for one year. Here it is:

  • Grains – 400 lbs (may include wheat, flour, rice, corn, oats, pasta, millet, rye, buckwheat, etc.)
  • Legumes – 60 lbs  (may include dry beans, split peas, lentils, etc.)
  • Powdered Milk – 16 lbs
  • Cooking Oil – 10 quarts
  • Sugar or Honey – 60 lbs
  • Salt –8 lbs
  • Water (for 2-week emergency reserve) – 14 gallons

Remember the above amounts must be multiplied times each person in your family. Very little children would eat much less, of course, but some of my young grandsons eat more than the adults in the family!

Any of these staples, tied up with a big green bow, would make a significant contribution to any family’s preparedness (if they haven’t already completed their basic storage).  Food storage gifts might not elicit the same same number of oohs and aahs as toys or gadgets that might be given in their place, but in a time of need they would be appreciated in retrospect a thousand times more.

For more information on basic storage suggestions from the Church, go to the following website:   

Past the Basics

For loved ones who already have the basics and are interested in more extensive preparedness, Roger K. Young, author of As a Thief in the Night, offers some thought-provoking and helpful lists that just might keep us in good shape for ideas for the next five years!

He says, “Everyone has different abilities and interests in preparing for what is ahead. Here is a list of items broken up into levels for your consideration. It is not a complete or comprehensive list, but more of an outline of suggestions. The items suggested are not in any order of priority.”

LEVEL 1. Bare Bones Survival Basics

Concept: With just a little money how can I prepare so my family could survive for a one-year period of time with no outside help, and no electricity?

Basic Food: (he begins with the list above, which I will not repeat)

Yeast, baking powder
Clothing, (winter especially) … good hiking boots, gloves(winter and work), hats
Water for two weeks
Water purification (filter, iodine tablets)
Simple shelters/tent(s) for family in case we need to leave home for any reason (tube tents)
Sleeping bags (0 degree if possible)
22 rifle with 5000 rounds of ammunition
Basic First Aid kit
Simple survival tools (knives, hatchet, cooking pot, can opener, etc.)
2 rolls of plastic (3.5 mil, 6 mil preferred), nylon cord, 3 rolls duct tape
Matches/lighters, candles
Books on:
         How to cook with food storage
         General survival methods
         How to cook from scratch
         How to sprout
(2-4) 5-gallon buckets
Lots of tin foil, bread pans
Small hand wheat grinder
Small pocket radio, rechargeable if possible

LEVEL 2. Surviving With A Smile (Adding Variety To The Basics)

Concept: I have the bare basics, now what can I add that will make life a little more fun. (A step beyond the bare survival level.)

Variety of spices, flavorings
Lots of tomato paste & tomato sauce
Variety of legumes
Canned/dried vegetables
Canned/dried fruits
Sprouting mixtures
Herbs (BF&C, black ointment, prof cayenne)

Books on:

How to find & use herbs in wild
Intensive gardening methods

Shotgun 1000 rounds (hunting, home/family defense against bandits)
Prepare garden near house, use heirloom (non- hybrid) seeds
Sanitary napkins, diapers (cloth)
Flashlights & batteries
Cooking Pots, dutch oven
Cooking & heating fuel
Some homeschool teaching materials
Sewing kits
Better quality wheat grinder

LEVEL 3. Well Prepared, Even Away From Home

Concept: Become completely self-sufficient/prepared so that If your family could not occupy your home or were forced to leave, for a one-year period over a winter (because of earthquake, flood, plague, tornado or other) you could survive with no outside help of any kind.

Better tents (4 season outfitters tent)
Rechargeable devices
JP extreme cold weather suit (pants first) for family
Camp stoves (wood/coal) ovens
Good camp equipment, utensils, dutch ovens
(3-4) 4+ gallon pots
(8) 5-gallon buckets
2 porta-potty lids
Water purification equipment sufficient for gallons per day for a year
4-6 rolls of plastic (clear & black) mil 6, more duct tape
Survival how-to books
Tarps, nylon cord
Large bore large game hunting rifle, 3000 rounds of ammunition
More homeschool teaching materials
Cash reserve (including small bills and coins)
Hand tools, axes, saws, shovels, pickax
Plastic garbage bags, heavy duty
Large hand crank wheat grinder
Musical instruments & music
Lots of non-hybrid seeds for sprouting and gardening


Whew! There you have it – all the Christmas gifts ideas you could ever hope for – and more! Happy shopping!