Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Dad's Christmas List

The Christmas Season has officially started on my calendar. I know everyone was waiting with much anticipation for my signal to start the Christmas Season. Now I will acknowledge Christmas decorations, go Christmas shopping and listen to Christmas music. I guess one might say, “Tis the Season.”

This is also the time of the year when my family asks for a Christmas list. I must admit that making that Christmas list is not nearly as much fun as it was forty years ago, Then the formulation of such a list required many hours of study using advertisements and catalogs. Yes, forty years ago, was back in the dark ages back before the internet. Kids have it so easy these days.

In any case, it is much harder to come up with a wish list at my age because, let’s face it, if I need something I usually go out and buy it when I need it. Couple that with the fact that I am old and boring and really don’t require much to make me happy. I have settled into being “Dad” and making it both easy and hard to buy Christmas presents for me. So, I thought I would help with a handy guide to buying gifts for the ag dad.

Tools are always a great idea. Tool supplies seem to dwindle as the months go along with spikes in disappearances coming during planting and harvest. Often wrenches are missing from sets, usually the 9/16 and ½ inch wrenches but if you need an 11/32 I can almost promise it will be gone too. Buying the whole set often just leads to the surplus of 11/32 wrenches and sockets (of course, until one is needed). One novel idea is just to go to the various tractors and trucks and simply collect the misplaced tools, wrap them up and save some money.

Shirts are always the go-to present for any dad but especially the ag dad. It doesn’t mean we will wear the shirt. Often, they languish in our closet as we wear the same shirts day after day because they are our favorite. That is until we are either publicly shamed into wearing other shirts or our favorite, thread-bare shirts just disappear and we are forced to start wearing and breaking in new shirts.

Coffee mugs and travel mugs are nice gift ideas but I also suspect you could use the same tactic as I mentioned in the tool section and simply retrieve the mugs left in our trucks and tractors. This method will require much cleaning and often a strong stomach. Gloves are also another much needed and very appreciated gift and you can also recycle those found in the pickup, however, good luck finding a matching set, one without a hole and a right had glove of any kind.

Hats are tricky. While they may be appreciated by ag dad, they probably will be viewed with a great deal of disdain by ag mom and may suffer the same fate as the gift shirt and spend years of gathering dust while the favorite hat is worn into oblivion. Socks are a great gift because none of us have too many socks, this is in stark contrast from the wish list of the six-year-old me. I guess it is just lowered expectations and greater appreciation for the little things in life like not having holes in your socks.

On our farm, gifts often reflect the passing of various tools such as axes, hammers, fencing pliers, etc.… throughout the year. Sometimes the tool is broken and this is the best way to replace it. Most often, the tool has gone missing and in many cases, the person giving the gift is most responsible for the disappearance. On a side note, many times I get the idea that my Dad’s gift to me is often a message to quit borrowing that tool. I probably need to be much more strategic in what I “borrow” during the year.

If your ag dad tells you all he wants for Christmas is world peace, a million dollars or everyone to just be happy it is a stall tactic. It is not that he doesn’t really want those things because they would be great. However, it is more likely that he really cannot think of anything and it is the buying him time.  Before he gives up and gives you his old stand-by answer, a new shirt.

As I get older most, if not all, of my satisfaction from Christmas is derived from watching others receive their gifts. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate and like the gifts I get, but my perspective has changed. The bottom line, at least for myself, is that we ag dads are basically very simple guys and we really like what you give us, it is really the thought that counts and the clean pickup.

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