What do you buy a farmer for Christmas?
For our family, Christmas includes the ritual of giving presents. Many of my friends don't exchange presents with their spouses, but we continue to give each other a small present to celebrate the Christian holiday.
But every time I ask my dear hard-working farming husband what he would like this year, his mind wanders and he remains silent. I know he thinks of silos, the latest SP sprayer, a truck and tipping trailer, a tele-handler, and any other six-figure farm-related item. This leaves me stuck finding an affordable present for the kids and I to wrap and place under our tree.
While I was in New York last month I experienced the American pre-Christmas buzz. I walked around the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree. It was incredibly tall and mostly hidden in scaffolding. Workers were busy trimming and grooming its branches in preparation for the unveiling. The lighting decorations on the shop walls of Saks 5th Avenue, Macy's and Cartier added to a festive feel outside. It was also really cold, making the idea of a white Christmas something I could imagine.
And now I am back in the southern Wimmera, harvest-ready, but not Christmas-ready.
The challenge is, I don't have a good track record of buying meaningful presents for Tom.
The best thing that I ever bought was a minimum-till handbook. It was a manual written by a grower group from NSW. It was the early 2000s and I think this book solidified my worth as a girlfriend.
But I've disappointed him with a foot stool, a stainless steel frying pan, a guitar, and a garden design book. They were all bought with good intentions but they collect more dust than interest.
The best thing that I ever bought was a minimum-till handbook.
The problem is Tom's farming is his career, lifestyle and a hobby. This is why his wish-list is all farm related. He has learned the art of online shopping, so now he buys his own jocks. Books are great, but harvest is the wrong time of the year to relax and enjoy a good read.
This leaves me with my last idea - a subscription to a farm machinery magazine. Giving him pictures of trucks, tractors, headers, sprayers, and mother bins is the best thing I can think of to tick against his perfect present - fingers crossed.
To farmers and farming families, Merry Christmas.