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  • Mountain House Staff Picks: Gifts That Matter More

    Tis the season for stuff, stuff, and more stuff. And we don't know about you, but all this stuff is leaving us feeling a bit, well ... stuffed! We love the feeling of giving a gift that really lights up someone's face. Something that will actually be used and appreciated, and won't hit a landfill by this time next year (or sooner!). It really is the thought that counts. And there's no shortage of ways to imbue thoughtful gift giving into this holiday season. Here are a few of our favorites.

    #1 - America the Beautiful Pass

    Who doesn't love an all-access pass? The America the Beautiful Pass is a gift that unlocks entrance into 2,000 National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands. Just $80 for a full year of free park entry for a friend and their carload of passengers. The only question is, where to first? More info here.

    Recommended by Cory Rushing, Customer Service

    america the beautiful pass

    #2 - Personalized Calendar

    Sure, smartphones are smart. They manage our schedules, helps us stay on time, reminds us of that Tuesday morning dentist appointment, and is always right there in the back pocket. But ... is it any fun? This gift throws it back to when calendars required that personal touch. Birthdays were written in with care and turning the page each month was like unwrapping a surprise. Create a personalized calendar at Shutterfly and share it with family, and give the reminder that life still happens a day at a time. More info here.

    Recommended by Cara O'Brien, E-Commerce Account Coordinator

    shutterfly personalized calendar

    #3 - Durable Wedding Rings

    Ring a ding ding! If a big question feels about to pop, but traditional wedding rings don't suit your taste, lifestyle, or budget, consider these functional and durable rings from QALO (which stands for Quality, Athletics, Love, and Outdoors). Stackable, comfortable, and customizable, these silicone rings have stolen our hearts. More info here.

    Recommended by Drew Huebsch, R & D Director

    guys rubbing straw between hands while wearing QALO wedding ring

    #4 - Oregon Zoo Membership

    If you live in the Portland area and you have children, then you already know this: an Oregon Zoo Membership is a lifesaver! Single day entry fees can add up quickly, but a zoo membership means families can drop in for some monkeying around whenever schedules permit. Visit the savannah on a Wednesday afternoon and the aviary on a Sunday morning, no need to tackle the whole park in one visit. A membership gives folks more time to explore, plus additional discounts and special access. Members even get free entry to special zoo events, like our favorite, Zoo Lights! More info here.

    Recommend by Holly Hughes, Customer Service

    oregon zoo train decorated with zoo lights

    #5 - Northwest Forest Pass

    The quickest route to a hiker's heart is through the rearview mirror. An annual NW Forest Pass is valid throughout Oregon and Washington for National Forest recreation sites. Forest Passes fund ongoing park and trail maintenance, ensuring that our outdoor spaces are cared for and preserved so that we may continue to explore on the trails that wind through the impressive forests of the Pacific Northwest. Give a pass, and take a hike. More info here.

    Recommended by Kelli Martinelli, Communications Manager

    view from looking inside front window of car with nw forest pass hanging from car mirror with fishing Mountain Hood Country magazine on dashboard

    #6 - Learn to Rock Climb at Smith Rocks

    Give a friend the gift of rock climbing, and give yourself a new climbing partner! Win win! There really is no substitute for hands-on learning, and there's nothing more hands-on then a 2 Day Rock Climbing course at the world renowned natural playground, Smith Rocks National Park. More info here.

    Recommended by Zac Gilliland, Graphic Designer

    person climbing smith rocks

    #7 - Pacific Crest Trail Association Apparel

    The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles between Mexico and Canada across California, Oregon, and Washington. Whether thru-hiking or section-hiking, the PCT evokes a wild passion for connecting with the landscape, and by supporting the PCTA, that passion helps preserve and maintain this well-loved wonder of the Western United States. PCTA merchandise helps fund critical programs for the health and vitality of this popular trail. More info here.

    Recommended by James Coufalik, Sr. Brand Manager

    person wearing backpack and carrying trekking poles hikes through wildflower covered hillside on Pacific Crest Trail

    #8 - A Gift of Goats

    Share the gift of compassion by contributing toward critical means of livelihood for families across borders. When you make a financial gift in someone else's name through Compassion International, you can give a family a goat, which provides nutrition and a means for income. More info here.

    Recommended by Jeni Billups, Sr. VP of Marketing and Sales

    child standing in green grass holding leash that is attached to a goat

    #9 - Aqua Quest Waterproof Pack

    Designed in the Pacific Northwest for explorers of the Pacific Northwest, Aqua Quest packs are built to get wet. This pack is an affordable and practical gift for friends or family members who won't let weather stop their adventures. More info here.

    Recommended by Xulei Wu, Food Scientist

    back view of person wearing aqua quest backpack staring at snow covered mountain

    #10 - Smartwool Socks

    The best stocking stuffers are the smart ones, like Smartwool socks! Take care of your feet, your friend's feet, your kid's feet, your mom's feet, and your dad's feet. When we take care of our roots, we grow stronger and play longer! More info here.

    Recommended by Alex Williams, Sales Account Manager

    person pulling pants over purple striped smartwool socks

    #11 - Personalized LoveBook

    Make someone's heart flutter with a story they can read again and again. Choose your characters, create custom illustrations, select a cover photo, and share your love in a way that lasts far longer than a social media post. More info here.

    Recommended by Melanie Woodward, Account Manager

    front of personalized lovebook titled, "You're My Everything. Love, Olivia"

    Inspired for an Adventure? Check out Beef Stroganoff - Pouch and Beef Stew - Pouch