ASK A PARENT OR FRIEND... what they want for the holidays and you're bound to hear "your presence is my present" as a pert response (or something equally as catchy, overly used, and ultimately true). They do have a good point, about experience and togetherness enhancing the most hectic of all seasons, but being with a beloved relative or out-of-this-world pal isn't always possible, thanks to the aforementioned "hectic" part of the equation. You may want to take them on a weekend getaway, or daylong road trip, in lieu of a physical, to-be-opened gift, but obligations keep you, and pretty much everyone, hustling in December. So if your presence can't be their present, and a jaunt to the redwoods or a stunning cove or a desert landmark isn't in the cards at the moment, how to give them a slice of experience? Well, experience can't be held in the hands, only the heart, except when it can be, a little bit. Look to the foundations that support the California State Parks, those invested and passionate organizations that bring the issues of various parks to light, host events, and, yes, occasionally boast honest-to-commerce online stores.
THE BODIE FOUNDATION... supports the famous Mono County mining town in many ways, including the sale of items that recall the town's many handsome and historic features. There's an ornament for 2015, a wooden ornament features Bodie's famous Methodist church, and there's a calendar for 2016, too (no shocker that photographers + Bodie=some jaw-dropping snapshots).
THE CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS FOUNDATION... also has a large online store, and the goods run the gamut from wearables to things you might need on your next hike at your favorite park. Speaking of which, your favorite park very well might have its own supportive foundation, which is just the place to find for-sale items for gifts (or yourself). It's a fine way to spread the word about the park, to lend some support, and to let your mom or best bud know that, even if you can't do a getaway for the holidays, you're thinking of them and a place you both adore. Maybe a calendar or ornament can be the stand-in of sorts? A reminder that you will take that road trip together soon? It turns out presence is a great present, especially when enjoyed in a nature-amazing destination.