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I am "gifting" the Camino for Christmas. Need advice!

CaminoLady

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed: English Way
Upcoming: Portuguese Way
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
What a lovely idea. Everyone else in my family thinks we are nuts for wanting to go back and be pilgrims and volunteer year after year so kudos to your new family!

If you are thinking to bring children, you may be walking in the busy season unless they are home schooled with some timeline flexibility. For a larger group, you may want to consider apartment rentals (like an AirBNB) or casa rurals rather than albergues. If it is only four of you, you may find beds in albergues or be able to go in a less busy season.
 

CaminoLady

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed: English Way
Upcoming: Portuguese Way
What a lovely idea. Everyone else in my family thinks we are nuts for wanting to go back and be pilgrims and volunteer year after year so kudos to your new family!

If you are thinking to bring children, you may be walking in the busy season unless they are home schooled with some timeline flexibility. For a larger group, you may want to consider apartment rentals (like an AirBNB) or casa rurals rather than albergues. If it is only four of you, you may find beds in albergues or be able to go in a less busy season.
Ha! It's yet to be determined if everyone will think this is crazy, so I might be right there with ya. Excellent advice and exactly what I was hoping to get from this. Thanks so much!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I think it's a great idea. Some suggestions jump into my mind... Since it is likely to be a few years or more ahead, you don't need to get that detailed itinerary quite finished yet, but a rough proposal (made to look attractive like a personal brochure) would help make it seem like a real goal.

By giving the shoes, it is helping him get started on the training, which is excellent whether or not he ever walks the Camino. But as you know, if is next to impossible to pick shoes for someone else. Even a gift certificate can be tricky since it would be limited to a particular supplier. The last thing you want to do is make him feel that he needs to keep some shoes because you picked them out! Just keep that in mind when you decide how to proceed.

The books are perfect.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
What a fun gift!

That said - shoes? I think those must be fitted and selected by the user to make sure they find the best fit. Even if they are for local walking - having bad shoes can ruin any walking experience. How about poles instead? Or a backpack? Of course - best to be fitted for a backpack too - but that is easier to gage for someone else than shoes.

You mentioned books (which are good) - what about planning a family movie night too and watch "The Way" or another Camino movie/documentary?

Bananas? Well... that depends on the family. With my family - I see disaster ensuing due to multiple different personalities and no one but me (and now my daughter) would enjoy a hike like the Camino. Of course - if I had started out hiking with my kids on the Camino when they were much younger it very well could have been a wonderful experience. You know the family - if you think most/all of them would enjoy it - then go for it! It sounds like something your father in law might very well enjoy - so if nothing else - include him for sure!
 
Last edited:
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I think the books are a great Christmas gift idea🙂, along with a gift certificate to REI or other sporting goods store so he can choose items of his own liking, whether he would use it now or wait. Picking out shoes, clothing, and other gear to use at a possibly much later date sounds nice, but a bit impractical for now.
P.S. I do understand your enthusiasm!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Inglese 2021
CF started 22022
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
It's a wonderful thing you are doing. I have done this with each of my daughters so I did it with a smaller group for sure. Actually the second time doing it will be this June, but I've worked out proposed itinerary's and and am about to book flights and first night stays. Its really fun and exciting and it makes for some great memories!

I think the most important thing is to have ground rules set up before you go. They don't need to be set now, but definitely should be agreed on before you start. We have vacationed with another family many times before and the biggest ground rule we have always had is its ok to go off and do your own thing. The Camino equivalent would be something like: you know you will all be walking in the same direction but if someone wants to walk faster or slower or just be alone then they should. The same goes if there are any options on which route along the way to take or any places to see that might interest one or some of you and not the others.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2017
"No" to the shoes. A shell, bronze waymarker, or stylish map from Ivar's shop instead. Shoes require personal choice, fitting, test-walking.

Yes, trying to set up a group is not just "bananas", it is a complete produce section. Complexity increases as a power function of the number of participants.

I speak from experience having organized a Camino Frances for two over seven weeks and a week on the Dingle Loop for four. The latter took me a LOT longer than the former. Be aware that it will take a lot of attention and time is all I am saying.

There has been a recent thread dealing with walking with friends, and an earlier related thread is noted. Please read the entirety of both. Here is the most immediate link:


B
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2006 to date: Over 21 Caminos. See signature line
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
I organize group trips each year and I'm on the edge of retiring.
I'd be happy to help you organize your own trip in any way I can including sharing places where you can book a group.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
You mentioned books - what about planning a family movie night too and watch "The Way" or another Camino movie/documentary?
I love the idea about movie night with “The Way” particularly if your father-in-law and others aren’t familiar with it. Not a perfect film by any means, but it captures many of the “truths” people experience who walk. Like many others, the film was my first introduction to this journey called The Camino. It captured my interest enough to plan that first pilgrimage to Spain and walk the CF. Even if your group Camino is down the road always, watching the film together may set the Camino wheels in motion and get your plans closer to reality. Buen Camino!
 
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (Sep-Oct 2016). Camino Baztan to Trindad de Arre, joined the Frances (Sept-Oct 2019).
Hi! This is a wonderful idea and I've done the same myself for several friends and extended family members. The gifts themselves have been a little more indirect, however, as I wanted to avoid making specific decisions for them regarding shoe/boot choices, itineraries, equipment, etc... It was more my hope to spur their curiosity and motivations based on who they were/are. Really the most specific things I gave were a gift card to REI (my equipment store of choice, though there are plenty of others they might want to choose) and one of the Brierley guides. I also directed them to a number of links and videos and books suggestions. But the thing they all appreciated most were the two essential items we all carry with us on the Way: A scallop shell (a shell ceremony is a cute idea, but it's really not necessary - we got ours from an innkeeper in SJPdP) and a new credential from AmericanPilgrims.org. The credential, in particular, was the gift that was most appreciated, as it seemed to be an invitation from the Camino itself.
But whatever you choose to do, I don't think you can go wrong. After all, this is really a gift of yourself.
 

Siegfried

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021
Camino Portugues 2022
Nice idea ?

I think such a gift is too much of predetermination of something which evolves.
I would recommend that you share a photobook of your last camino. Maybe you find a book about religious places on the camino. Offer a "voucher" without prepay, of a stay at the parador in Santiago.
 

Anthony Rocco

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugues, Primitivo, Ignaziano, Salvador, 4 other
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
You mentioned your father's Catholic faith. I suggest you look for a priest in your area who leads caminos. Here in northern Virginia, Fr David Dufresne who chose to become a priest after walking two caminos in the winter, leads caminos every year. As a coordinator of the capital area chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino, I advise those seeking a more religious camino to choose one led by a priest. Priest-led caminos book everything in advance. Nothing to plan. Fr David leads hikes throughout the year to prepare his group. He also presides at our annual shell ceremony, usually held in late February or early March, a very moving event for those about to embark on their first camino.
 

Graeme Cook

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
23 April to 28 May 2022
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
Best post I have seen on this forum since joining last year!!!!!!! Love it.
 

Anthony Rocco

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugues, Primitivo, Ignaziano, Salvador, 4 other
I love the idea about movie night with “The Way” particularly if your father-in-law and others aren’t familiar with it. Not a perfect film by any means, but it captures many of the “truths” people experience who walk. Like many others, the film was my first introduction to this journey called The Camino. It captured my interest enough to plan that first pilgrimage to Spain and walk the CF. Even if your group Camino is down the road always, watching the film together may set the Camino wheels in motion and get your plans closer to reality. Buen Camino!
To be sure, The Way has been a major influence for many to walk the camino. When we reached Santiago at the end of our first camino, we made sure arrived two hours before the cathedral service so we would have a perfect seat for the botafumeiro. A lady was already sitting in this pew. I turned to her and asked if she spoke English, which she did. She was from California. Here was her story: She took her elderly mom to see the movie The Way. Her mother loved the movie and told her that when she dies, please take her ashes on the camino and spread them at Finisterre. Her daughter promised to do so. Three days later she died! The daughter, true to her promise, carried the urn all the way from SJPDP. Not being a seasoned walker, it took her nearly two months. She had the urn with her and wanted this moment with the botafumeiro to be very special.

There are so many reasons to walk the camino. I was deeply touched by this lady's fulfilled pledge.
 
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc

RRat

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning 2017
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
This is why our friends and family avoid us. We suffer from PCS, Post Camino Syndrome. If anyone just gives a hint of being interested we go full bore.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
we go full bore
Love the word play.

Edit: For non-native English speakers or those who don't see the pun click the spoiler icon.
Full bore (adverb): with maximum effort or speed.

Bore (verb): to cause to feel weariness and restlessness through lack of interest.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
Rather than the shoes, I might go with hiking poles. As an alternative to The Way for a movie night (or in addition) consider Six Ways to Santiago. I found it a little more realistic. Maybe book an annual long "training walk" locally as a family until you are ready to do the gift Camino.

Not bananas. Other families have done it. But remember that it won't be "my Camino", it will be "our Camino".
 

sharonmonty

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese 2022
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
I think it is a lovely idea. Your presents sound like a good start and the planning can be in outline until you are more sure who can go.
 
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K_Lynn

Buen Camino!
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021
I've invited my sister to join me for Camino Ingles next year. For Christmas I have sent her the guidebook, a pair of Darn Tough socks, stuff sacks/compression sacks and a trio of Sea to Summit small packs of laundry/shampoo/body wash strips and a hat with a wide brim. And a list of brands I like and a recommended packing list.
For your Father-in-law, perhaps a print out of notable chapels/churches/cathedrals and the artefacts therein, you could make a small booklet of them so it's not just a list. This of course could include locations on any of the Caminos.
For accommodations, I would spend some time looking at towns and cities on your proposed route and googling hotels/posadas/apartments for appropriately sized locations.
Buen Camino! I hope he is pleased with his gift!
 

ChrisGall

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2022
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining.

For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer. I had this (possibly far fetched) idea to "gift" him the Camino. My gift is partially an idea, paired with some things he can unwrap. My thinking is I'll invite him (and the rest of my partner's family) to join us on the Portugese Way, when the timing is right. My Father in Law is a doctor, still many years from retirement, so I'm gifting this knowing that it may be quite some time before we "cash in" on it! My dream is we could coordinate it in such a way that as much of the family can join as possible, but if it ends up being my partner's parents, my partner, and myself, that'd be beautiful too. So, what am I actually gifting?
  • Shoes
  • 3 books related to the Camino- a guide book, a story about someone's experience, and a Lonely Planet book on the hikes of the world
  • A detailed itinerary (planned by me with the help of the internet/this Forum) that considers places where a big group of us could stay, places that are child friendly in case kiddos can join us, and would be comfortable. I'm hoping that if the logistics are 95-100% figured out ahead of time, that makes planning for something like this with a big group feel less daunting and more "okay let's just pick the dates, book the flights, and go!"
All of that said, what I'm hoping to gather from this Forum are the following:
  • If you have coordinated a family trip like this before, what wisdom can you share? What would you have done differently?
  • Is there anything special I would need to do as a "group"? We're informal, self-organized, not associated with a touristic company. Will accommodations have the capacity to have us? Do I need to call that in well in advance? There could be anywhere from 4 to 13 of us!
  • Is this idea bananas?
  • Anything else I should consider?
Thank you all so so much! This Forum was a life saver when my partner and I planned our first Camino, and the prospect of doing it again with my (new!) family is so exciting to me.
You say you’re new to the family and still learning what everyone likes. I wouldn’t spring the “gift” of a group walking trip overseas on my new father in law — it could land like a lead balloon. What do you expect his reaction to be? It could be genuine delight, or it could be an uncomfortable “thank you.” Your gift is really an invitation to commit to a block of vacation time for an excursion that takes a lot of coordination and preparation for each individual. The expenses might not be an issue for this family (?), or you. If the group were larger than, say, six people, it becomes (I would think) a logistical nightmare.

Also, such an impressive gift to be opened in front of everyone at a Secret Santa exchange could have the effect of making the other gifts seem insignificant. I wouldn’t want to seem like I’m trying too hard on my first Christmas with the new family. I would save this gift idea for later, when you know them better. (You indicate it will be years before he retires - so there’s no rush on this. You may still be high on the Camino experience right now and eager to share it with everyone,) And I would also suggest making it a gift from your spouse and you, together. Surely you’ll get their buy-in before doing this.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
@ChrisGall, you make some excellent points in spite of all the positive opinions shared above.
I must admit, I did ponder some of the same things as you, in addition to my projected enthusiasm.
I think the OP should definitely weigh out the things you list before finalizing her plans.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2006 to date: Over 21 Caminos. See signature line
What an exciting prezzie! I agree with the shell idea. Perhaps ordering a credential too? That is, if it's not too late to have it mailed?
You can pick up Credentials in most villages along the Camino.
You also, if you are American, get Credentials mailed to you from American Pilgrims on the Camino.
But for a lot of pilgrims, part of the fun is getting that first Credential in SJPP, Roncesvalles, or Pamplona, recording your Camino and getting the first stamp.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 21 October 2014
Portugese Way October 2018
What a lovely idea. Everyone else in my family thinks we are nuts for wanting to go back and be pilgrims and volunteer year after year so kudos to your new family!

If you are thinking to bring children, you may be walking in the busy season unless they are home schooled with some timeline flexibility. For a larger group, you may want to consider apartment rentals (like an AirBNB) or casa rurals rather than albergues. If it is only four of you, you may find beds in albergues or be able to go in a less busy season.
What volunteering do you do if you don't mind me asking? I would love to help in some way!
 
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jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
Rather than the shoes, I might go with hiking poles. As an alternative to The Way for a movie night (or in addition) consider Six Ways to Santiago. I found it a little more realistic.
I have to see if I can get Six Ways to Santiago. Haven't watched it. I often recommend The Way and I'll Push You - but for very different reasons. They way is better to introduce someone to the Camino. But now that I have a different movie to check out..... ;)
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We Love "6 ways to Santiago" of course we own all the Camino movies (long and short) on our Amazon account so we can watch them whenever. You used to be able to buy or rent "6 ways..." through Amazon, but I am not sure now. Another good one is "Phil's Camino", but we could only get that through Vimeo. If you do get that one, get the long version so you can see him actually go to Spain and walk, but either way it is a great story.
 

Optimistic Traveler

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2018
I agree with others - don't buy the shoes.
But check out Ivar's store (top of the page on this forum) for some great gifts in addition to books and movies. You can buy him a credencial, a camino scallop shell, badges, coffee mug, hat and even a buff.
 

Yoyo

Ambulo, ergo sum. 🥾
Time of past OR future Camino
2023, hopefully.
For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone likes. What I do know: he loves his Catholic faith, he loves his family, and he has expressed interest in doing the Camino after my partner and I did the English Way this summer.
@CaminoLady You should maybe also consider the following:
Given your soon-to-be father-in-law is a devout Catholic, he may want to walk his camino as a religious practice rather than a fun hike. He may want to have time for prayer and introspection or just some time to himself rather than be (although lovingly) "forced" into a group setting that has to accommodate several different people / age groups.
I dearly love my family, but the fact that I set out all by myself to walk the camino made it especially rewarding and empowering to me. I may share the camino experience with my husband in the future, but wouldn't have chosen that for my first one.
Just a thought.

I also think @ChrisGall made some very important points.

But I think a guide book, shell, credencial etc. - as others have suggested - would be great gifts recognizing his interest in a pilgrimage and encouraging him to plan his own camino the way he wants to do it, when he's ready to do it.
 
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woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
Great idea and a chance to give a pretty wonderful and unique gift and no it's not bananas it's very thoughtful!!
I hope it's the spark that will make many great memories for you all!

I am jealous; all I ever get from my in-laws is dried apricots; i don't like apricots :-(
(but i do like their company; the in-laws not the apricots!!
Buen Camino
Woody
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Having read ChrisGall's post above, I'll add myself to the group suggesting easing back a bit. The theme is still good though.

How about having the shell on some jewelry like a lapel pin, tie tack or cuff links with a note saying that the real thing will be gifted in time?

Another way to be more subtle is a gift of a photograph of you and your fiancé together on camino, preferably in front of the cathedral. Add at the bottom in a somewhat fancy script something like "First in a series? We need more family here." That gives you an "out" because the family need not walk to Santiago, they just need to be there when you walk in. If the photo is on display family and visitors may comment with "Are you planning to walk it?" and thus help you get to your ultimate gift. Someone with photoshop abilities could give you help on cleanup, cutting to a nice height/width format, sizing the print to look good for the number of pixels in your original shot and adding your text.

Whatever you give you could wrap it in pictures of the camino taken from magazines or brochures or maybe a map where you have highlighted the camino.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Excellent points by @ChrisGall! The original idea is good, but perhaps ease off on that detailed itinerary and assumption that he will want to go on a family group Camino. All of the components - shell, credential, books, movies, poles, etc - would be great gifts, and are focused on your father-in-law's possible Camino, rather than on your own dream of a family group event.
 

HelenVanW

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017
I think it's a great idea. Some suggestions jump into my mind... Since it is likely to be a few years or more ahead, you don't need to get that detailed itinerary quite finished yet, but a rough proposal (made to look attractive like a personal brochure) would help make it seem like a real goal.

By giving the shoes, it is helping him get started on the training, which is excellent whether or not he ever walks the Camino. But as you know, if is next to impossible to pick shoes for someone else. Even a gift certificate can be tricky since it would be limited to a particular supplier. The last thing you want to do is make him feel that he needs to keep some shoes because you picked them out! Just keep that in mind when you decide how to proceed.

The books are perfect.
Excellent advice
 

Rick M

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 22)
Sept ('21, '23)
I wouldn’t spring the “gift” of a group walking trip overseas on my new father in law — it could land like a lead balloon.
Indeed. It would for me. I'm an avowed Camino addict, and I would be very uncomfortable with receiving such a gift. Unless this gift fulfills some known aspiration that has been blocked by finances, I think it presumes too much. It's not like booking a family spa weekend. As the police captain in That Movie says, "the Way is a very personal journey".
 
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Bill905

Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022
Via Podiensis 2022
First of all I too think it is a great idea for your future father-in-law. In keeping with the humor of the situation, I always referred to my wife's parent as outlaws. Why, you may wonder? Because the difference between in-laws and outlaws is that outlaws are wanted! 🤣 Sounds like you also have a good relationship.

In terms of gifting a Camino, I went the other way and gifted my oldest granddaughter with a Camino, just before Covid reared its ugly head. However, we waited, and in April of 2022 just as travel restrictions were being lifted, we completed the Camino Portuguese ... which brings me to some suggestions for you. After having read through many of the posts, I don't have an idea of how long of a Camino your "gift" will entail. Is it the entire CP from Lisbon? Is it from Porto? Is it last 100 km from Tui for example so that a credencial can be obtained? You may want to start with something like the latter simply due to the time commitment for someone who has not yet retired.

I found that the gift that was appreciated the most by my granddaughter was the time we spent together shopping for gear, and generally discussing the Camino. It is good to set realistic expectations and revisit them occasionally. In terms of lodging, since you will be a small group, what we found worked best was to work with the albergue owner and have them call ahead and make the next night's reservation. There are associations of albergue owners and they know each other and we found that we could discuss certain requirements for our stay, such as no top bunks for me due to my age, and whether meals were provided or not, etc. Although I could go on, this thread has garnered several really good comments. I will end with one last point. The Camino is a very personal journey. When traveling in a group, ensure that each person has the time they need to reflect on their feelings and experiences, and hopefully document these in some way so they can return to it in the future and rekindle their unique Camino experience.
 
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Trekker One

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
C. F.2014,15,16 &19 Portuguese '17, Primitivo '18
Indeed. It would for me. I'm an avowed Camino addict, and I would be very uncomfortable with receiving such a gift. Unless this gift fulfills some known aspiration that has been blocked by finances, I think it presumes too much. It's not like booking a family spa weekend. As the police captain in That Movie says, "the Way is a very personal journey".
I tend to agree with your sentiment here. While I don't want to play the contrarian to what is certainly an admirable and generous jesture, I agree that the Camino does in fact 'call us' as individuals. It is a completely different state of mind from planning a traditional holiday or vacation.
My mind literally wouldn't stop until I walked my first one, once the calling was firmly in my head. The pull was just that strong.
I talk up the Camino all the time to family and friends and while some have shown alot of interest in walking one. In nine years not a single one of them has ever walked one...no calling.
So it may be a lack of 'the calling'...or maybe I'm just a terrible 'salesman!'
 

Anthony Rocco

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugues, Primitivo, Ignaziano, Salvador, 4 other
I tend to agree with your sentiment here. While I don't want to play the contrarian to what is certainly an admirable and generous jesture, I agree that the Camino does in fact 'call us' as individuals. It is a completely different state of mind from planning a traditional holiday or vacation.
My mind literally wouldn't stop until I walked my first one, once the calling was firmly in my head. The pull was just that strong.
I talk up the Camino all the time to family and friends and while some have shown alot of interest in walking one. In nine years not a single one of them has ever walked one...no calling.
So it may be a lack of 'the calling'...or maybe I'm just a terrible 'salesman!'
The camino is indeed a calling, even for those who don't recognize it until after they walk their first. It is not easy to persuade others to do what appears to be a journey that seems to promise more misery than pleasure. I'm sure you know well either the blank stares or wide-eyed incredulity (is this dude crazy???) when waxing on about a camino.

I believe this is why so many who walk the camino these days are in groups led by a seasoned peregrino with everything arranged in advance and luggage transfer provided. No worry nor any of the zillion questions wannabe peregrinos have, many of which go unanswered since every camino is unique. The camino, of course, provides the answers. It always does.
 

CaminoLady

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed: English Way
Upcoming: Portuguese Way
I organize group trips each year and I'm on the edge of retiring.
I'd be happy to help you organize your own trip in any way I can including sharing places where you can book a group.
Thank you so much for such a kind offer! I'll definitely take you up on this. Let's see how the gift goes over with my father in law and then I'll be in touch after the holidays so we can have the line of communication. Thank you again!
 
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CaminoLady

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed: English Way
Upcoming: Portuguese Way
Hi! This is a wonderful idea and I've done the same myself for several friends and extended family members. The gifts themselves have been a little more indirect, however, as I wanted to avoid making specific decisions for them regarding shoe/boot choices, itineraries, equipment, etc... It was more my hope to spur their curiosity and motivations based on who they were/are. Really the most specific things I gave were a gift card to REI (my equipment store of choice, though there are plenty of others they might want to choose) and one of the Brierley guides. I also directed them to a number of links and videos and books suggestions. But the thing they all appreciated most were the two essential items we all carry with us on the Way: A scallop shell (a shell ceremony is a cute idea, but it's really not necessary - we got ours from an innkeeper in SJPdP) and a new credential from AmericanPilgrims.org. The credential, in particular, was the gift that was most appreciated, as it seemed to be an invitation from the Camino itself.
But whatever you choose to do, I don't think you can go wrong. After all, this is really a gift of yourself.
This was so affirming, thanks so much for sharing! It's a joy to hear that it was appreciated by those you gifted it too. I'm especially excited to gift the credential based on another's recommendation on this Forum!
 

CaminoLady

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed: English Way
Upcoming: Portuguese Way
You mentioned your father's Catholic faith. I suggest you look for a priest in your area who leads caminos. Here in northern Virginia, Fr David Dufresne who chose to become a priest after walking two caminos in the winter, leads caminos every year. As a coordinator of the capital area chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino, I advise those seeking a more religious camino to choose one led by a priest. Priest-led caminos book everything in advance. Nothing to plan. Fr David leads hikes throughout the year to prepare his group. He also presides at our annual shell ceremony, usually held in late February or early March, a very moving event for those about to embark on their first camino.
This is an excellent idea! My father-in-law lives in North Carolina. I'm sure there has to be a priest somewhere in the state that does the same. Thanks so much!
 

CaminoLady

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed: English Way
Upcoming: Portuguese Way
You say you’re new to the family and still learning what everyone likes. I wouldn’t spring the “gift” of a group walking trip overseas on my new father in law — it could land like a lead balloon. What do you expect his reaction to be? It could be genuine delight, or it could be an uncomfortable “thank you.” Your gift is really an invitation to commit to a block of vacation time for an excursion that takes a lot of coordination and preparation for each individual. The expenses might not be an issue for this family (?), or you. If the group were larger than, say, six people, it becomes (I would think) a logistical nightmare.

Also, such an impressive gift to be opened in front of everyone at a Secret Santa exchange could have the effect of making the other gifts seem insignificant. I wouldn’t want to seem like I’m trying too hard on my first Christmas with the new family. I would save this gift idea for later, when you know them better. (You indicate it will be years before he retires - so there’s no rush on this. You may still be high on the Camino experience right now and eager to share it with everyone,) And I would also suggest making it a gift from your spouse and you, together. Surely you’ll get their buy-in before doing this.
Thanks so much for these additional, realistic concerns. I've thought of all of this too. I am absolutely still getting to know his family, but we have been together for almost 5 years now, so I'm not a complete stranger to the family. I'm confident the gift will, at a minimum, be appreciated. I discussed it in detail with my fiance before committing to it, so in that sense it is from both of us.

Really, the gift is one of time together. After my father-in-law and I both experienced major losses of loved ones these last two years, as grievers, we are acutely aware of how precious time and experiences with loved ones are. I think, above all else, he will get that sentiment from this gift. The intention is for no one to feel left out, in fact, I want everyone to feel like this is an invitation for them as well.

And! If this wins me daughter in law of the year, so be it. :)
 

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