Because not even the end times can interfere with consumerism.
The holidays can be a stressful time.
What with the travel, the family drama, the global pandemic, and the militia groups threatening to upend our democracy, it might start to seem like the world is about to fall apart around you. Also, the world might really be about to fall apart around you. Suddenly the "preppers" who spend all their time getting ready for some imagined doomsday don't seem so crazy.
The good news is: Even if some petulant world leader decides he would rather kick off a civilization-ending nuclear war than give up his fancy job, you can make sure your loved ones have what they need to survive the post-apocalyptic hellscape. With these gifts in their bug out bag or survival shelter, they can make it through the end times in relative comfort — as long as the end times wait until after Christmas.
A Solar Power Kit
An emergency lantern and a power bank are nice to have on hand if the power goes out for the night, but what are you supposed to do if the power goes out for good?
Solar power is a great way for your loved one to keep their electronics alive even if the power grid collapses or they have to flee the new civil war to go live in the wilderness. An entry-level option like this 30 Watt folding solar panel from TP-Solar is a great option for a bug out bag and would provide plenty of power for a couple cell phones and a power bank on a sunny day, and could even be used to charge a small "solar generator" to power laptops or other devices. All for less than $70.
If you think your loved one might want to power something more intensive, like a camping fridge, they will need a more serious set-up. But once you start thinking about upgrades like that, it might be time to consider some other options, like...
A Dual-Fuel Generator
Gasoline degrades over time. So all your friends who are relying on a gas-powered generator to keep their electronics alive are going to be left scratching their heads a mere six months after civilization completely implodes.
A dual-fuel generator, on the other hand, can also be run off propane. And propane lasts as long as the container holding it. For around $640, you can provide your loved one with the peace of mind of knowing that — even after the world ends in a horrifying maelstrom of violence — this compact and lightweight dual-fuel generator from Champion will provide enough power to run all their basic household electronics for as long as they can track down some propane and engine oil (which will also go bad after a few years...).
Of course keeping your cell phone charged isn't much good if the cell towers are down and you have no way to communicate. Emergency radios and walkie talkies are always a good idea for a bug out bag, but they aren't always convenient. And even satellite-enabled devices depend on regular system maintenance to keep you connected.
But at around $180 a pair, you can connect the GoTenna Mesh to your phone, allowing you to exchange text messages and GPS information with other users through radio transmissions with a range of up to four miles. And by using other GoTenna's in range as secure relays, your connection can stretch even farther, effectively producing a decentralized network.
So if you want your whole community to be able to stay in touch after global telecommunication infrastructure is ravaged by a deranged cult blaming 5G for the fact that their cats no longer respect them (they never did, guys...), you should get GoTenna's for all the friends you expect to survive the initial culling.
Do your loved ones like clean drinking water? Well, too bad! Municipal water treatment became a thing of the past the same day city hall was occupied by family of tumorous possums.
The two events were unrelated — those particular possums are actually friendly and would probably love for your special someone to have a refreshing nice glass of potable water. They just aren't much good at plumbing and are also distracted by the sudden growth of tumors all over their weird possum bodies.
The good news is, for under $70 you can give your loved one the power to take matter into their own hands. If it's kept clean and stocked with replacement carbon filters, the tiny Survivor Filter Pro can effectively filter out chemicals, bacteria, and even viruses from tens of thousands of gallons of drinking water.
The internal 0.01 micron Ultra Filter ensures that the only time your loved dies of dysentery is when they're playing Oregon Trail on an ancient PC salvaged from the old middle school.
At around $100, this full-face gas mask/respirator from Parcil Distribution might seem a bit pricey, but just think of how much use your loved one could have gotten out of it in 2020! With protection against tear gas, wildfire smoke, air-borne pathogens, and even paint fumes, these masks should be a steal for anyone on your list who's planning to redecorate their underground bunker as societal collapse accelerates.
And if civilization somehow survives, your loved one can still wear it to their next cyber-punk rave.
Speaking of that underground bunker, it's important to make sure the pantry is stocked up with some shelf-stable rations for nuclear winter — or at least for the next time grocery store shelves are stripped bare and food supplies are decimated due to drought, infected livestock, or locusts.
For a bug out bag, something like survival tabs are a good option, but when it's better to stay put, this pail of freeze-dried meals from Augason Farms includes a 30 day supply of meals for one person for less than $135. The meals will keep for up to 25 years, and all your loved one needs to do is add some hot water and slightly expand their definition of "food."
Of course sooner or later even your friend Hans Moleman will probably want to return to the surface world to pick over the ashes of civilization. And when they do, it will be important for them to travel with some essential survival gear. This kit from Supology costs less than $40 and includes 129 items to help them navigate, fish, light fires, tend wounds, and survive the elements — all in a compact carrying case.
It contains the essentials to start a bug out bag. And with two patches on the case — one representing the American flag and the other representing historically-neutral Switzerland — your loved one should have an easy time navigating the politics of the mutated survivors roving the landscape.
A lot of preppers convert their money into gold for the apocalypse, but they're wasting their time. Gold serves no purpose in a survival scenario. At least cash can be used as toilet paper — once toilet paper runs out on day two of the end-times. But your hoard of gold will be nothing but a shiny, heavy reminder of all that you've lost — so feel free to gift that to your enemies.
For the people you really care about, the true currency in the post-apocalyptic hellscape will be the chemicals that make it all slightly more bearable. For those of us who can't stay awake without a constant supply of coffee, that means caffeine.
In addition to staving off withdrawal, caffeine can help your loved ones suppress their appetite between freeze-dried meals and allow them to stay up all night, guarding their barrels of filtered water from the radioactive remnants of humanity who would only contaminate the supply for the lucky few who remain untainted.
In pill-form, caffeine is shelf-stable and easy to store. Each of these capsules from bulksupplements.com contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, and you can buy your special someone a pouch of 300 for under $20.
Which brings us to the other most valuable chemical in the post-apocalypse. While you can get food-grade ethanol from a lab supply company for a little bit cheaper, at 95% alcohol, Everclear is nearly as good and comes with the added bonus of looking like something you're supposed to drink.
When civilization collapses, it will be valuable as fuel, antiseptic, and chemical escape. And if humanity somehow pulls out of its current nosedive, your 21+ loved ones can celebrate that miracle with a glass of incredibly alcoholic egg nog.
And if the people on your gift list don't seem to appreciate your efforts to keep them alive, just remind them that it's the thought that counts — then go back to thinking about doomsday scenarios.