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During the holiday season, you want to show your loved ones you care—and usually that means buying them whatever lovely gift you can find. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Well, sort of. Every year at Christmas I get gifts that I never requested and never planned for. They all come from a good place—and I always appreciate when friends and family think of me during the holidays—but this gift giving puts me in a tough position. Since I often move from place to place, I regularly purge my possessions to leave only the items that serve a real purpose for me. Thus, many items end up donated because I could never find a substantial use for them.
So consider this: buying just any gift for your car camping nomad could backfire. Since they want minimalism whenever possible, nomads have very specific ideas in mind for their wish lists. If you don’t get something that they truly need, they might just throw it out (and feel guilty about it).
Why? First, they don’t have enough room—unless your nomad owns a huge vehicle like an RV, many typical gifts simply won’t fit in their space or lead to unwanted clutter. Second, the possessions that nomads do own have already met carefully developed criteria; if you do not know or have not considered all these criteria, you could end up buying them something completely inappropriate for their lifestyle. The gift giver wastes time and money thinking of the perfect gift, and the receiver feels guilty for having to throw it out.
Gifts for your nomad should take up little to no space while also being highly functional. No matter your budget, you can find something that your car camper will use and appreciate this year. Here are seven of my favorite ideas for nomad holiday gifts:
Sleeping bag liner
Sleeping bag liners (http://amzn.to/2iJwNXX) add a few extra degrees of comfort and improve the temperature rating on your nomad’s bag. They’re also small and packable, so they take up very little room.
Virtual reality (VR) goggles
Hear me out on this one—if your nomad owns a smartphone, VR goggles can give them the illusion of owning a big screen TV and a huge living room. Keep in mind that they will need a video streaming account of some kind to get the full benefits of this gift. Here is an affordable pair (http://amzn.to/2hzW8aw) that works with iPhone and Android. I also use the app Mobile VR for iPhone.
A place to park
If you live close to your nomad and have available space, offer them a place to park their car for one or more nights per week. You’ll save them the stress of finding somewhere safe to turn in each night.
Charcoal air purifier
Living in your car can stink—literally. Wet socks and towels, combined with the confined space of a vehicle, can lead to musty odors. A charcoal air purifier (http://amzn.to/2hx0DBi) is a natural way to neutralize the stink and keep your nomad’s car fresh (which is a huge morale booster!).
Add them to your family plans
Got a digital streaming service like Spotify or Netflix? Adding your nomad to your account is a low-cost way to keep them entertained for hours without taking up any extra space in their car. Plus, they’ll have no problem finding music and movies they love.
Gift cards for basic needs
Your nomad will always need gas and groceries, so you can’t go wrong with gift cards for these items as long as they work in their geographic area. Cards for sporting goods stores, iTunes (for movie rentals), or Amazon are sure-fire winners too.
A home-cooked meal
Functional and requires no added space for your nomad! Invite your nomad over, and you’ll keep them from feeling lonely around the holidays while also giving them a warm place to hang out.
If you still feel unsure about what to get your nomad for Christmas, there’s one secret you can always use: just ask them what they want. It removes the surprise factor of gift giving, but your nomad will appreciate getting exactly what they need.
Don’t risk buying a useless trinket that gets tossed this year. Aim for portability and function, and your nomad will appreciate the gift so much more.