It’s mid November, there’s snow on the ground and there’s already Christmas decor out. How did that happen!? Just a few days ago I was swimming in the ocean off the coast of Italy. Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed so far away.
As I recover from jet lag and start to get ready for the coming weeks of training, working, and holiday fun; I wanted to take a moment and put out a list of some of my families favorite things that might be great gifts this holiday season. But most of all, I hope you are planning in some time to go outside with your loved ones this holiday season. Our family is excited to have a relatively chill holiday season filled with lots of outdoor play and cozy indoor snuggles next to the fire.
For the kids in your circle: Note that many of the below are not toys. This is for a reason. We love to give our boys gifts with a little note that says what we are going to go do with it. This gives them a useable gift and gets them excited for our next adventure together.
This bag is super warm, cozy and has a pad sleeve so active little sleepers will not roll off their pad. So far we have tested it in temperatures as low as 10 degrees. Our boys love to wake up super warm and see frost on the tent and us parents love not worrying about their temperature all night long!
Our family is a big bike family. Our kids are so accustomed to commuting on our bikes that they whine when we take them anywhere in the car! Max, after pedaling on his own mountain bike started to ask for his “own commuter” bike so he could carry his own gear. We decided to test out the Woom Now, Woom’s new bike commuter bike and it has been amazing. He loves being able to carry his own back pack out on adventures. His favorite thing of all though is that it has its own built in lights. I especially love this feature, as we don’t have to worry about him being seen or seeing what is in front of him. We often find ourselves out and about after dark so this has been super nice for our family. The only thing is that the shifting has been hard for his little hands. It is a twist shifter, and he does not yet have the strength in his wrist, but by next bike season I am sure he will be more ready for it!
Whether they are wanting a home day or an outside explorer day, these wool base layers from Chasing Windmills are so silky soft, they will never want to take them off.. and honestly its ok because they are wool! Wool does not tend to old odors like synthetic clothes do, making wool a great option for outdoor play, traveling and multi -day wear. Recently we went to a Italy for two weeks and had to pack super light. I packed the Windmill hoody and long underwear bottoms for the cooler evenings and mornings. They wore them everyday with out washing for a week! It was awesome.
Nite Ize Night Gem
We love everything from NiteIze. As adventure racers the gear ties, run off bags, glowsticks and bike lights are super useful. And for kids, we love all of their fun lights, especially their night gem. It is waterproof, making it a great winter bath toy and little light to keep the kids entertained while we ski them to a hut for dinner!
The difficulty with going skiing with your kids is rarely on the ski hill. At least not with our boys. Once we are getting on the ski lift, we are home free and on our way to a few hours of glorious fun family skiing. The crux for us is the ski boots. Both of our boys fought and fought us on wearing them. However now, with these new boots from Fischer, we have yet to have anyone complain (about their boots at least). These boots can be put on by kids on their own and seem to be super comfortable once on. They also have great grip on the bottom, making them safe to put on in an icy parking lot. So far the whole family is thrilled and excited for a season of chair lift rides, ripping descents and hot cocoa breaks!
For those home days.. or close to home days
After a few big training days and or big adventure days with our kids, our boys always say, “Mama, it is time for a home day.” For them it means that they get to stay in their pjs and have uninterrupted play for as long as they want. For us it means that we keep close to home. We may go out to train for a short time, or run out for a quick errand or two. But there is no big missions or adventures that day. Just cuddles, play and a probably a family movie night. Below are a few of our favorite items for our family home days.
For the past couple months we have been diving deep into the wood fired pizza world. It all started with Solo Stove announcing their pizza oven. We had to try it. And so far, we are in love. After a few test runs, we now can have pizza hot and ready with in 15 minutes of saying “lets do pizza tonight”. We recently traveled to Italy, and I must say, our pizza rivals theirs – especially if you get their neapolitan pizza bundle along with it. The ingredients are all from Italy and are so good.
Their description of these boots says that “once you have them on you’ll never want winter to end.” And they are 100% correct. I absolutely love slipping these on for my daily walks with the boys or for running errands. It feels like I am wearing the softest slipper ever. I also love the fact that they are waterproof, apparently it is not easy to find a waterproof pair of mukluks. Not worrying about them in the snow or puddles has been great!
Our whole family has a pair of these. Growing up in Alaska, slippers were clutch and we learned early that wool ones lasted the longest and were the most comfy. Now as an adult, with a family of my own that is one of the first gifts everyone got. We each have our own color and they are always near our beds at night so we can put them on first thing in the morning. If you get them for kids, its totally ok to go a size up, they are ok a bit big and they will last longer. My 5 year old has been his same ones for two years now.
For my rest days and after big training days I LOVE hopping in the bath or taking a long luxiourous shower with my favorite scrubs, soaps and lotions for afterwards. And I love giving scrubs and lotions as gifts, especially Angelinas. Her stuff is made with the best ingredients right here in Bend at her beautiful shop, but you can get it online too! My favorite is the blood orange scrub and the forest bathing herbal mud- it is so, so amazing.
Instead of matching Christmas jammies, our family does matching wool long underwear! Iksplor has fun colors (we let our boys choose their colors themselves) and they are so soft and warm. We put them on right when we get out of bed, that way we are ready for our ski/winter play for the day. As many parents know, the smallest number of transitions to get out the door the better! And when we go to the cabin, we all live in them for the entire time we are there!
Who does not like a big mug of hot cocoa during these cozy winter months?? Or if you are not quite the hot cocoa type, how about some turmeric creamer in some warm nut milk and have yourself a yummy, earthy drink that has anti-inflammatory properties! Either way, Lairds Superfood is used everyday in our household.
In my family, the stockings were the best ever. They were always chocked full of goodies and little awesome gifts. And now with a family of my own, while I do still love getting things in my stocking, I have so much fun stuffing everyone else’s stocking with useful small gifts. Below are some things I think would make great little gifts.
I know it may not see the nicest to give some one deodorant, but when it is from Humble, I will have to disagree. I love Humble because it is made with only the simplest ingredients and the scents are very mild and smell really good!
For me, socks are just a total must and an obvious pick for stockings. My favorite to give and to receive are the nice thick wool ones that scream cozy and a technical pair that can be used for skiing or hiking. My favorite company that hits both of these categories is Farm to Feet. They are wool, they last a long time, they are super comfortable and they have fun designs.
A great pair of gloves is hard to find. I’m always on the look out for skate ski gloves, ski and snowboard gloves and everyday commuting gloves. So far I have found that Gordini makes the best all around winter gloves. They also make the best kids mittens and gloves. My kids are outside rain, snow or shine everyday for many hours and we have tested a ton of them. Our favorites are the Front Line glove for skinning up mountains and skate skiing and the three finger mitt for long days out in the snow and downhill skiing. For kids, we love the easy on mitt, both my boys reach for them every time. They are really nice and easy to put on and keep them warm at Forest School and on the ski slopes for many hours.
If you are going to pick one gift to give, look no further than skin doctor. Our family uses it every day. For dry hands and feet, for little cuts and so much more, the first thing anyone says is “Where’s the skin doctor?” I have little tins everywhere, in my purse, in car doors and in many drawers in our house! Our team is also crazy about it. We put it on our feet and hands every couple hours in an adventure race. It prevents us from getting blisters and skin infections during the race and helps heal our cuts after the race.
For the Traveler:
Before kids Jason and I traveled somewhere every month to either teach or race. We had traveling down and would often leave a bag packed with either acro teaching gear or a duffle with our basic racing kit. Then came kids, and while we didn’t travel every month any more, for a family we were told we traveled a lot. While I will do a separate blog on traveling with kids here soon, I wanted to share a few of our recent gear picks from this past year.
Having the correct travel gear plays a big factor in having an easeful trip. Enter the roller bag. This is compact, light and fits a ton of clothes and gear. On our recent trip to Italy, I fit everything I needed to adventure and teach acrobatics and I still had spare room to take our friends some gifts.
Honestly I used to look at little kids with their own bags and think “wow, that looks like more work.” I worried that I would be the one carrying their bags and them across multiple airports. However, when Max begged and pleaded to get one AND said that he would “LOVE to be in charge of his own suitcase”, I took a chance. Both boys got to pick out their favorite one. They each packed their own clothes and a few toys the night before our Italy trip and made sure to leave plenty of room to bring some toys home. For our entire 24 hour trip to Italy, through three different airports, up and down escalators and up and down ramps – they rolled their suitcases and were so excited to have their own luggage to take care of. I ate my words and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made.
Packing cells are super great. They make packing easy, fun and organized. I also found that it put a limit on how much I can bring! My kids love them too. While many companies make them, I love our Osprey ones because they are light and fit well in their bags.
I have searched far and wide for a bottle like this. It is light, feels amazing to drink out of (like I am drinking out of a glass) and is wide mouthed. It has helped me drink more water too because I can clearly see on it how many liters/cups I have drank. When traveling, drinking water is one of the number one things I try to do, as it helps with recovery, jet lag and staying healthy. Jason, Revel and Max all prefer this bottle to any other bottle as well which is both good (because they are staying hydrated) and frustrating (because its hard for me to share my water sometimes!) Oh and if you go, use Chelsey at check out for a discount.
For the athlete/adventurer /camper
For the techy and or serious athlete, this watch is all they will ever need when it comes to training and knowing where to go. It tracks your sleep, HRV, gives you advice on what workouts to do, has awesome map data and much much more. I have one, and it has been such a great guide for me in terms of knowing when I need to step on the gas more and when I need to chill out and have a rest day. It is also lasts forever. I have worn it on 7 day long adventure races where it tracks my heart rate, tells me the altitude and gives me my gps track at the end of the race (we can’t use GPS during the race). During normal day to day life where I use it for a couple hours a day, I only need to charge it every three weeks. While expensive, it is an amazing watch and I now don’t know what I would do with out it.
Can you tell I love wool?! These nylon/wool running shorts are just the right length for all sorts of adventures. From daily runs, to long adventurous scrambles up rocks, these shorts have yet to disappoint me. The soft and breathable wool liner coupled with the super light and quick drying nylon outer is a great combo.
This little pizza oven is so small, light, compact and easy. It can go anywhere and has been the life of many outdoor parties. It gets hot with in minutes of firing it up and is super easy to cook with. The simplicity of the pellets are great and make everything from starting it up to cleaning it a breeze and it is so much fun to have amazing wood fired pizza in a beautiful remote location.
I love being able to wear my favorite jewelry and race at the same time. It makes me smile and reminds me of all the many peaks and valleys journeyed through both emotionally and physically so far. My “With Spirit” necklace is always around my neck. I love touching the feather periodically through out the day and especially during hard moments. It calms me down and reminds me of Spirit B and how he is always around looking out for us. Use Chelsey20 for 20% off at check out!
For the person in your life who goes out and gets after it day after day, this CBD gel from Mission Farms will probably be very welcome. For all our minor aches and pains that comes with pushing our bodies, we have grown to love and rely on this stuff. I love putting it on in the morning and in the evening. It helps my sore muscles feel better almost immediately. Jason and I also love their CBD gummies for everyday use as well. They are fast acting and help to keep inflammation down. If you like, use BendRacing20 for 20% off. They often have deals of their own where you can stack Mission Farms code our code together for sometimes up to 60% off!
For athletes, recovery is a huge part of their regime. And if it’s not yet, well you can help make it apart of it! Our favorite tool that we use everyday is the Marc Pro. It helps use stay injury free and when we do get injured it helps us heal quickly by pumping blood into the injured/over use area. We use it almost every night to flush our legs and or arms. Use the code BendRacing to get a discount if you are interested!
I am sure more items will pop up as the month goes on, but I wanted to get this out incase anyone was starting to shop now! Happy Holidays and may this season bring you much more cheer than stress.