My little sprouts are already getting ramped up for Christmas. Colby, the oldest, is four. He’s got a much better grasp of Christmas than his two-year-old brother does.
I have a pretty good idea of what’s to come, though. I was a little fella once, and I remember counting down the days until December 25th. There were no visions of sugarplums, but pocket knives, snowshoes, shotguns and topo maps were dancing in my head starting the day after Thanksgiving every year. Yeah, I said topo maps. I was a weird kid.
I also liked getting clothes. Not just any clothes, though. They had to be camo. If they weren’t camo, they had to at least be made of wool. If I could use it to go hunting, or if it would allow me to stay outside in 20-below weather a little longer, it was a hit with me.
Other kids my age complained about getting pants and shirts for Christmas, but I was overjoyed when I opened a box and found something with a woodland or tiger stripe pattern on it. One year, my folks gave me one gift that met two requirements to qualify as a great present. A camo wool, Thinsulate and Gore-Tex coat. They bought it big, so I’d be able to use it for plenty of hunting seasons. I stopped growing a few years later, and it’s still my best hunting coat.
There seem to be more kids these days who would rather get a PlayStation than a shotgun than there were when I was growing up. Right now, there are probably about a billion kids in the Western world dreaming of steering a giant squirrel around a TV screen with a multi-button controller. I would wager there are far fewer fantasizing about a pile of ice fishing gear or a brand-new box of clay pigeons.
I gained a lot more interest in video games when I found out there are hunting games on the market. But they still don’t beat the real thing. I hope there’s a camo coat under the tree for your kid this Christmas. And maybe a topo map or two for you.