A holiday gift guide from a stressed student in finals week with a Vitamin D deficiency


around cam’s campfire christmas sig

Cameron Luker

The temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter, and the desire to snuggle up in a warm blanket and explore the depths of Disney+ is at an all time high. It’s the time of year to roast some chestnuts over the fire you’ve built from your old exams, worksheets, and notebooks, and maybe your transcripts if the end of the semester was particularly rocky. But all of that is behind you now.

Winter break means that the only stress you have to deal with is the terror of buying gifts and spending time with your family over the holidays. If you’ve read my previous articles, which I highly recommend, you probably have gotten the idea that I think nature is a gift in its own right. So, let’s think of some great presents to get your loved ones to help them enjoy this great gift.

If you are running a little low on funds at the end of the semester, that is just fine. A perfect gift that will get your loved ones in touch with nature isn’t out of reach. Simply lure them outside while jingling a pair of car keys, so your family expects that a new car with a big red bow is waiting in the driveway (it seems to work in all of the commercials). Once they are out the door, just lock it behind them. Just know that behind their angry screams from the other side of the door, they are really enjoying the brisk weather, the white snow, and the majestic leafless trees. This gift is completely free and pays you back by giving you some nice quiet time to figure out how to answer the eternal questions that comes up at the family dinner: “So, what are you planning to do after college?” and “So, are you seeing anyone special?”.

For those of you who have a little more spare change, I would recommend taking your family on a trip. Find your nearest National Park or National Forest, load up your family and hit the road. Make sure you don’t dress too warm, because you don’t want to miss out on the most memorable parts of being outdoors in the winter. Gloves, hats, jackets and scarves are for the weak, and just further separate us from nature. What makes winter the best season for outdoor recreation is the cold. I can’t think of a better time to go outside than when hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot are lurking around every corner. But of course, the best way to enjoy these holiday surprises are with your family.

I guess if these two options don’t sound like your cup of cocoa, just snuggle up and watch some Hallmark movies and wait for Spring. That’s honestly what I’ll probably end up doing, because I kind of hate the cold and the winter.

P.S. Finals week has been hard. Sorry if this came off as grumpy in any way.

P.P.S. Bah humbug.

Around Cam’s Campfire is a bi-weekly column by Natural Resources student and Urban Forest Initiative Intern, Cameron Luker. Read last week’s column here.