I know that at about this time, about a week from Christmas, there's probably someone left on your list to buy a gift for. This is probably your most hard-to-shop-for person. They probably buy things themselves, or just don't want many things, so anything they want they already have - so where does that leave you? In a department store looking at the gift card rack, I bet.
A $20 dinner at Outback Steakhouse? Bleh. I've had a good meal there, but as a rule any place that sells gift cards at a different location probably isn't worth eating at. So maybe then the store's own gift card? Well, that's at least something you might assume they would use, right? I wouldn't count on it though. And it's such a thoughtless item! It says, "I don't really know you that well... but I consider this amount of money appropriate for a gift for you." If you're going to say that, you might as well give cash - at least you can use cash wherever you want.
Seriously, cash is a great option. In general, cash is my preferred form of gift to receive. It's not as thoughtful, though. If you want to send a message, but you don't really know the person well enough to say something eloquent, I suggest (for the purposes of this venue) to at least say "I hope you manage to survive the coming apocalypse."
Here's some gift options, broken down into their usefulness in the usual RHF format, with additional gift-giving notations.
A really nice shovel
Run: Easy to carry, useful for carrying other things
Hide: Not too conspicuous
Fortify: Useful as a weapon, great for excavating temporary housing in the ground.
Gifting: A shovel is a highly practical gift; few things are more practical than a good shovel. It says, "I dig you," or more likely, "Hey, look, I'm the guy who brought the shovel as a gift!" It will tend to look like a gag gift, though, so disguise your real intent by hiding a DVD or expensive jewelery in the spoon.
Wrapping: This is a cinch to wrap, if you don't mind it being extremely obvious what it is. If you want it to be a surprise, you'll need a big long box and even more paper.
Swords, knives, and other edged weapons:
Run: Generally handy and fairly light
Hide: Small knives are concealable, but none of these will particularly expose you to undead attention.
Fortify: Cuts off things that might try to grab you. Very useful. Big, stout blades will be good for decapitation or general brain injury.
Gifting: They'll all think you're very creepy, if your friends and family are typical average people who don't go around with knives and swords a lot. Ordinary, practical weapons like this will seem fairly odd, so if you can, pick something out that's a little ornate or unique, like a small sword hidden in a cane or umbrella.
Wrapping: Most of these will be too big to fit into an average box, but they're still easier to wrap than a shovel.Might rattle a little when shaken, but the noise might not be so distinctive that the average person will figure it out. The weight might be a bit of a hint, though.
Handguns, shotguns, and rifles
Run: Great as long as they have a strap or holster
Hide: Perfect as long as you don't use them, hellish once you do
Fortify: It's always going to be better to kill them before they have the chance to kill you, but be wary of drawing any attention toward yourself.
Gifting: It's common enough among rural families that hunt or people in general who worry about home safety, so if you spin it correctly it might seem thoughtful. You can always say that it's actually for their safety in case zombies ever attack, but the reaction you get might be... mixed, at best.
Wrapping: They often come with a box, or if not there are boxes for them. The size and shape and weight of the box will be very telling, especially when you say "don't shake it or it might go off" (because, just in case, you loaded it before wrapping it - the zombies might come at any moment, right? That's actually a bad idea, it doesn't take that long to load.)
Awesome trail backpack
Run: Bought with long term independent survival in mind, a good backpack will probably be the best thing in the world.
Hide: Not so great if it includes those annoying and dangerous reflective strips, otherwise it's fine.
Fortify: You'll need it for carrying all your supplies, especially when leaving your base to scavenge for supplies.
Gifting: Like the shovel, you can disguise your real intent by hiding additional items inside. Maybe this type of backpack isn't the kind they most need right now, but it'll be the best kind for the future. Since it's a gift, they're likely to hang onto it for a while rather than selling it.
Wrapping: If it's collapsible, like most of these are to some extent, it can fit into a box easily enough. They'll never guess it by shaking.
Run: Obviously great, while you're able to charge it. A tiny electric car will be able to sneak through spaces others can't, and there's no worries about finding gas later on (although the gas will last a lot longer than the electricity)
Hide: Quiet, so it's the best means by far of traveling any really significant distance quickly.
Fortify: Inside a car is always safer than out in the open. The time may come when parts of the car, like the hood or tires, will be useful parts in other fortifications.
Gifting: Perfect for your 15/16-year-old's first Christmas as a driver. They'll love how eco-friendly it is. And it's a car, so you can't go too wrong.
Wrapping: Find a gigantic bow, then hide it at someone else's house until 12/24. Delivery for Christmas Morning will be tricky, but you'll figure it out I'm sure.
Professional Gas-Thief's Siphoning Kit
Run: If you're driving, it's a simple must
Hide: It's no more conspicuous than the car you're in.
Fortify: Having a really good reliable way to siphon gas (without swallowing any) might mean the difference between life and death in the long run.
Gifting: They'll be very confused, and this will be kind of hard to disguise. Maybe include some car tools like jumper cables or a first aid kit, make it part of a "I don't want you to get stranded" themed gift. As for finding one, forget about it. This is a do-it-yourself project. For potential legal reasons I won't go into details, but it involves hose, valves, and a holding tank. A hand-pump is best (mine is converted from a manual bilge pump, which you should be able to find anywhere boating supplies are sold). Just make sure it's a material that won't react or corrode when in contact with gasoline.
Bullet Proof Vest
Run: Kind of heavy and a little restrictive of movement
Hide: It doesn't help or hurt; if it's black, it'll at least blend in at night.
Fortify: Better than nothing, but the real danger is your arms and legs. It'll be great when dealing with armed cannibals, however.
Gifting: Perfect for that would-be soldier or cop, whether they failed to make it or they're on their way to try. For anyone else, it's probably too weird to give seriously.
Wrapping: It'll fit in one of the larger sweater-sized boxes, most likely, but the weight will mean the box might not be strong enough. Reinforce with cardboard if necessary.
Run: Items of this type are made to take up little weight and space, so they'll be great.
Hide: Sometimes tents and such things are a little conspicuous, but that's nothing some black spray paint can't fix.
Fortify: Tents aren't known for being especially impervious to attack, but having shelter from the elements is almost as important. Camp tools like flint strikers or folding shovels will also come in very handy
Gifting: At least it's not obviously a gag gift, but the reception of something like this will depend heavily on the recipient.This sort of thing is pretty much a must-have for living rough, and while most camp-type stuff will be available for looting at a department store, having it ahead of time might save someone a dangerous detour or help them survive the few nights until such a stop can be made.
Wrapping: Depends mostly on the item, but in general they'll be fairly easy to wrap. For a tent, you'll want extra-strong paper considering the weight of the item inside. Camp tools and cookware might be wrapped inside the nice trail backpack you'll also want to be gifting, making it a wonderfully themed present.
Outdoorsy Water Filter System
Run: Not helpful in itself, but having clean water to keep yourself hydrated will be a great boost.
Hide: A purification system that doesn't rely on boiling water will help you keep a low profile when a campfire isn't otherwise needed.
Fortify: Clean water is one of the luxuries we take for granted in America, but in areas where it's not available the difference it makes is shocking. Disease, filth, parasites, malnutrition, all thanks to bad water. With a decent filter, you and those with you will be able to cope once the taps run try and you have to rely on natural sources - you do know where they are in your area, right?
Gifting: Since the kind you'll want in the wild is very different from the kind you'd use in your house, this will seem a little odd (I'm noticing a trend here). There's no real way to explain this one unless the recipient has a tendency to visit wild places for weeks at a time with no contact with civilization or municipal water systems. That person will thank you, assuming they don't already have one of these.
Wrapping: Nothing too tricky, since it probably comes in a box. It might be wise to also give several replacement filters, since those will be hard to find once they're needed. A permanent type of filter would be better, but they're less effective. Still, any improvement will be welcome when the need truly arises.
The sum effect of a gifting spree like this will probably be confusion - if it was someone who was already anticipating the Zombie Apocalypse, or any other potential apocalypse, it's stuff that the person would probably already have - they might even have it left over from their Y2K preparations, if they're the kind of gullible whackjobs who fell for that whole mess. No, most likely, it'll seem just weird. Do your best in your first year of survivalist gifting, because you might not get invited to the exchange next time. It's not your fault. You can explain your reasoning, but if you sound too serious they might think you are serious... and when you say you are, in fact, quite serious (don't say "deadly serious" or "serious as a heart attack"; when "crazy" people mention death it puts people on edge), you'll get awkward stares and maybe some witless teases, at least until someone diverts the conversation away from you. Hey, Tammy! That's a nice new sweater you're wearing!
A lot of this will probably find its way into the basement, attic, or back closet, never to see the light of day. Once the Apocalypse hits and the recipient is frantically searching the house for useful items, they'll seem like found goods; the owner will feel resourceful and lucky, and your foresight will go unthanked. Take your gratitude in the form of your friend's survival - you've given the best gift of all, the gift of delayed death. Your gift might even spark an interest in survival techniques, which might help them learn a few basic skills that could save their lives, maybe even the lives of people they may meet later on. You don't get credit for those, but that would at least earn you a "special thanks" mention in their autobiography, if they live to write one and books are ever published again.
This time next week, we'll be getting pretty close to Christmas itself. You may look forward to a special treat, from me to you, in honor of the holiday. I don't know what it is yet, I'm very bad about last-minute gift planning myself, so... whatever it is, act like you like it.