Leslie C. McDaniel
For some, the fast approaching holidays dance just ahead, full of twinkling lights, brightly wrapped packages, sugarplum delights. For others, though, they loom like a dark cloud on the horizon. If the very thought of that seasonal hysteria weighs heavily on your shoulders, maybe you just need a different tack.
Holiday family gatherings, for instance. Instead of grumbling about "Kids Today" when they spend all afternoon glued to the TV or electronic games, take the offensive. Show up with an old engine that needs a bit of tinkering. Lure a kid or two out to the garage; assure them that mom won't mind a little oil on their holiday duds (make a mental note to deal with that later). Act as if you're letting them in on a big secret; suggest that their parents wouldn't approve; and let them have plenty of hands-on time "fixing" the engine. Go easy on the History of the Stationary Engine in American Industrial Development 1900-1930; those topics are probably better addressed after the kids are hooked.
Then, of course, there's shopping. Relax: You can teach old dogs new tricks, and it's simple! Make a list, check it twice, go shopping. The twist? We're talking your list here: Maybe a new engine ... tractor ... model ... parts you've needed but never splurged on ... Go ahead! Christmas comes but once a year! Tuck the goodies under the tree, tag them to yourself, and notify family members that you've taken the liberty of doing their shopping for them. This truly demonstrates the Christmas spirit: You've given loved ones the gift of time when they need it the most!
Outdoor lights? We're two steps ahead of you. Instead of spending some cold November morning hanging off the side of a two-story house in a gale out of the north woods, stringing lights per management's orders, why not keep both feet on the ground and decorate some old iron – especially if it's green or red – instead? This not only shows off pieces of your collection, it also has the added benefit of suggesting you're actually interested in holiday decor.
In the end, the holidays are what we make them. Whether it's Santa you resemble, or something closer to Scrooge, 'tis the season: To all of you, from all of us at Farm Collector, happy holidays! FC