When trying to decide what to buy the ranchman in your life, ask yourself three questions: Does it have a motor? Does it have at least one blade? Does it have a trigger? If none of those apply, do not purchase it. I repeat, do not purchase it or your Christmas gift will get stuffed into his closet with last year’s heap of unused gifts.
Obviously the requirements of having a motor, blade, or trigger leaves out the Christmas male gift-giving staples of socks and ties. Ranchmen only buy socks about every five years, so if it has been at least five years since he has purchased any, you might get away with it, but it’s pretty risky. I know when you are doing laundry it is tempting to throw away a sock with holes in it and put socks on your Christmas list for him, but for the love of all that is sacred, don’t ever throw away his socks! As long as it covers part of the heel and even if two toes poke through the boot-worn material, it’s still a good sock in his frugal mind and throwing it away will raise his blood pressure to uncomfortable levels! And if you do buy him new socks, they will sit in the unopened package anywhere from two to three years while he is waiting for the other three toes to poke through his old socks.
A ranchman only needs one tie in his lifetime and style is not an issue. The tie that his aunt Sue bought him in high school 40 years ago is still perfect for any occasion… even though it’s neon green, four inches wide and has little trout swimming on it. His tie, no matter the color, design, or style is good for the occasional wedding or funeral. No other activity warrants anything beyond jeans and chambray shirts. His idea of “dressing up” means removing his hat that we had assumed would take a surgical extraction. Which reminds me, if you haven’t seen your ranchman without a hat for a long time, you might not recognize him. In order to easily find him in a crowd, you might consider slapping a John Deere insignia somewhere on his person.
Which brings us to considering a hat as a Christmas gift, in particular a ranchman’s trademark baseball-style cap. A true ranchman has never purchased a baseball cap; he patiently waits until a kind clerk at a livestock or tractor supply store notices the poor condition of his multi-year old hat and gives him a free one. Although if he hasn’t come across a sales clerk who was inclined to offer him a hat in quite awhile, then you could go to one of the afore mentioned stores and ask for one, which they usually give out free for advertising purposes. If you wrap this free hat up and give it to the ranchman as a Christmas gift, he will appreciate your frugalness; however, you will need to discretely catch his old oil-stained hat on fire with a couple of well-placed Christmas candles (preferably not while it is still on his head) or train the dog to snatch it and bury it somewhere. This is necessary as, similar to socks, if it will still stay on his head, he will wear the hat until the bill falls off regardless of how torn up it is.
A lot of people think ranchmen don’t ever change their clothes and will be tempted to buy them clothes as Christmas presents. But most just buy five or six of the same exact shirt and always wear their favorite style of Wranglers or Levis of which they usually have at least one pair set aside without cow poop stains to wear with their trout tie. It actually makes a little sense because they never have to go through the daily what should I wear conundrum that we women do. But since ranchmen are typically not very flexible when it comes to their wardrobe, I don’t recommend buying clothing for them. It’s best not to mess with their carefully planned and executed apparel system.
So what can you buy a ranchman? Things with blades, which include all kinds of knives, lawnmowers, Samurai swords, windmills and chainsaws. Things with motors include power drills, air compressors, tractors, Ferraris, yachts, and Sherman tanks. Things with triggers include AR-15s, shotguns, pistols, Roy Roger’s horse, Zombie killer guns, and crossbows.
As you can see, there are still lots of things that you could buy him for Christmas, but I’m guessing the ranchman on your list would be just as happy with a bucket of fudge and one of my books.