As we approach the holiday season, even I share in the giving feeling. Once a scrooge bothered by the commercialization of Christmas, as well as the inconveniences of finding gifts for people I saw just once a year, Iíve come somewhat full circle in my view. To me, the Christmas season now, more than ever, signifies a time to get together and share in each other's company, investing more in people than presents.
True, gifts fall further down the list as we get older, but still signify a thoughtful gesture to special folks. In the past, Iíve used space here to uncover a number of items that should make it on any basserís Christmas list. This year, however, I brainstormed a bit before penning a similar piece, and it dawned on me: Why am I suggesting bass fishing gifts to the bass fishing public? You all know what you want.
Gifts for others, however, occasionally become a hassle. Therefore, based on my life-long experience in the outdoors, as well as the obsessive feeling that Iíd rather be fishing than doing anything else at any certain time, Iíve come up with an easy Christmas list to fit your lifestyle and make your shopping easier.
> Gift for your wife or girlfriend: A Kindle. My wife has owned a Kindle for quite some time, and always made use out of it in the usual ways, like at the airport or on a long road trip. But it wasnít until we experienced a slow day of fishing together that I unlocked the Kindleís true potential. Instead of suggesting that we head for the dock or hit the sandbar, she snuggled into the passenger seat and began reading her Kindle. Hours passed. There was no conversation, suggestions to try a prettier lure, or annoyance with the bugs; just quiet. Imagine.
> Gift for a son or daughter: No brainer Ė a GoPro. Kids eat these things up Ė heck, Iím a 40-year old guy and even I love GoPros. Sure, the obsession of social media and documenting everything gets a little annoying with young people, but a GoPro also instills a passion for performance, and thatís a great thing for teens. As many parents insist, having a child who's passionate for something Ė anything Ė can be a huge benefit to keeping them on the right track, and a GoPro helps them develop that passion.
> Gift for a buddy who bass fishes: An assortment of tungsten weights. While we all use different rods, reels, line and lures, everyone uses tungsten sinkers. The cost of these items makes them a real pain to purchase, yet everyone must from time to time; thus earning even more brownie points from your buddy. Friends of mine are smiling and recognizing this gift as my personal calling card, yet one that continues to stand the test of time and never gets re-gifted.
> Gift for a buddy who owns a boat, but isnít into bass fishing: A new set of flares, or better yet, a non-expiring SOS distress light. We all have flares that are expired, or about to. The new models run on batteries, and last for life. Problem solved; great gift.
> Gift for a boss you like: A streaming TV device, like a ROKU stick. If youíre not familiar with streaming sticks, Fire cubes and all the other contraptions, suffice to say that each offers the ability to turn any modern TV into a ďsmartĒ TV and access programming streamed across the Web. Some of the content comes on a pay-principle, and other networks must still go through a cable TV provider, but in addition, thereís tons of free content. Programming on PBS is incredible and outdoor networks like MOTV (small subscription price) are light years ahead of common outdoor shows. Iím telling you, streaming TV is where itís at; even if your boss has it, they can take the stick with them to a weekend home or hotel.
> Gift for a boss you donít like: A modern, high-tech cooler. Itís important to suck up to your boss, even if you donít like the person. Everyone on earth knows that these coolers are major-league investments, thus signifying your commitment to the workplace. Yet, everyone who owns one knows what a giant pain in the rear they are to lug around. Thus, each time you lift your 80-pound cooler into the truck, wondering why there isnít something better, you can rest assured that your boss is struggling the same way, one false move away from throwing out his or her back, all the while praising you for your extravagant gift.
> Gift for yourself: Bass Pro Shops gift card. Itís so easy, itís too easy. Once the greatest gift you could give just about anyone, the BPS gift card has become so overplayed that it insinuates a cop-out, yet it continues to be the one thing that just about everyone really wants. Do yourself a favor, pick up a gift card for yourself, drop it in your stocking when no oneís looking, and thank Santa for the surprise on Christmas morning. Everyone in the family will wonder who was responsible for the gesture, yet no one will be the wiser, and you make out.
So there you have it, a little something for everyone in your life. A little naughty, a little nice. In any case, just remember the reason for the season: kindness, acceptance and time with loved ones.
Enjoy the holidays through the eyes of a child; see you in í19.
(Joe Balog is the often-outspoken owner of Millennium Promotions, Inc., an agency operating in the fishing and hunting industries. A former Bassmaster Open and EverStart Championship winner, he's best known for his big-water innovations and hardcore fishing style. He's a popular seminar speaker, product designer and author, and is considered one of the most influential smallmouth fishermen of modern times.)