Some of us are farm girls, others of us have women farmers in our circle of family and friends, and others still have nothing at all to do with farming beyond shopping at a farmer’s market now and then. For the first two groups, I’ve compiled a short list of popular Christmas gifts for the beloved farm girl in your life, or yourself! And for the last group, maybe you’d like to spread some cheer to a special farmer at your local market.
10. Carhartt Jacket
No one makes a jacket quite like Carhartt. For farmers, ranchers, horse people, and anyone who does much work outdoors, a Carhartt is a must. Mine is simply indispensable. I buy one every 3 years or so and wear it just about every day until it is worn out. They come in various fits and styles, so there is one to suit every person’s tastes. The features I find the most useful in the Carhartt, as opposed to other brands, are as follows:
- Extra-tough canvas material. I have snagged my coat countless times on barbed wire, and even the worst snags have left only a small rip line that stays put, never fraying out into a larger tear. I buy my daughter a Carhartt whenever she outgrows her old one for this very reason. She much prefers climbing over the pasture fence to using the gate, and I know that her Carhartt will protect her (and save her jacket!) from getting ripped the first time she comes in contact with a splinter or an end of wrapped wire on a post.
- Generous pockets that are are lined with canvas instead of impractical fleece, which is a magnet for hay and shavings!
- Small chest zippered pocket. Every girl needs a good pocket knife (see #7)! My knife fits perfectly in this little pocket, and it’s easy to get into even with gloves on.
- Interior cell phone pocket. Enough said!
OK, these are my entire family’s favorite work boots, hands down. My husband, dad, daughter, and I wear them. I looked and looked for a good pair of insulated, waterproof work boots forever until I finally found these! Ariat has been making them for men for years, but just this year I came across their boots for women with the same features as the guys’ boots. Thank you, Ariat!
If you’ve never tried on a pair of Ariat boots, the time has come, my friend. Ariat makes many styles of cowboy boots, of course, and they are all extremely comfortable the moment you put them on. They need no break-in period, and the inside feels more like tennis shoes than boots. Just as important as fit is durability. And these boots last. One of my first pairs of Ariats (not work boots, just cowboy boots) lasted for 5 years of daily wear in the saddle and everywhere else, only giving in when I jumped on the base of a T-post to drive it further in the ground, unfortunately driving the base through my boot instead. Not my smartest moment, I know. But the boot did save my foot!
These work boots are truly the best. The insulated inner layer feels like cushioned slippers on your feet. The outer layer is very thick, tough leather that has been treated to waterproof it. I also rubbed a good layer of leather balsam into mine before I wore them out into the mud and water; hopefully that will further protect them from cracking. I rinse all of the mud off when I come in every day, and dry them with an old towel before setting them in the boot tray. Mud is leather’s worst enemy, and leaving it on your boots for days at a time will eventually cause deterioration, even in the best quality leather.
I realize that I sound like a saleswoman for Ariat, but I promise that is not the case! I just love this brand because of their fit and durability, and the fact that they are not the most expensive boots on the market. For anyone who works outside all winter, as all farmers who care for animals do, these boots are a great investment!
The adage “They don’t make them like they used to” certainly applies here! Jeans used to be made with heavy duty denim that lasted for years. While most people aren’t in need of jeans that thick any more, those of us who work outside every day really appreciate the extra protection of thicker fabric. Enter Duluth jeans. They make them just like when you were a kid, only with a better fit. They come in skinny, straight, and relaxed fits as well as varying lengths. These are excellent jeans for outside work and horseback riding, and at half the price of designer jeans, they can fit into most everyone’s Christmas shopping list!
7. Pocket Knife
You can go as fancy or as basic as you want to here. I have a simple one blade pocket knife like this one made by Case. Nothing fancy, about 3.5 inches when closed. It’s the perfect size to fit into a small pocket. You could get a pocket knife with more bells and whistles, but what you really need is a sharp blade for opening bags of shavings and bedding pellets, cutting twine on hay bales, and whatever other small jobs pop up.
If you live anywhere that dips below freezing in the winter, insulated gloves are a must. Waterproof insulated gloves are even better, but I haven’t yet found a pair that don’t feel and function like ski gloves. The gloves I have linked to here are excellent for below freezing temps, and they aren’t so bulky that you can’t clean the barn or operate chains on a gate with them on.
This may be one of the most clever farm inventions ever. We bought our first fence fixer about 15 years ago in Texas, from the man who invented it. This tool is by far the easiest way to repair a barbed or smooth wire fence. As you can see in the photo, each bar of the fence fixer is attached to the broken wire, and the chain at the bottom is used to secure the fence fixer together while you rewire the two pieces. I have fixed fences myself with this tool in less than 5 minutes. Anyone who has a wire fence on their property will greatly appreciate one of these!
Yes, anyone who works on a farm already has a pair of these, but trust me, they will always appreciate another one (or two)! I really like Corona shears because they’re small but tough. I have cut through branches that were way too big for these shears, and they worked admirably. My current pair I’ve had for a couple of years, and every day during the growing season, I just stick these in my back pocket when I head outside because I know I’ll run across something that needs pruning while I’m out there.
If pruning shears are the babies of the garden, loppers are the grandaddies. And everyone who has a tree on their property needs one. Just a warning: if your family is anything like mine, the girl you give these to is going to have to hide them from the guys! These come in handy more often than you might think. I usually go running for them after I have tried and failed to trim something with my pruning shears. My choice for loppers, again, is Corona. They aren’t too expensive and they hold up to a lot of wear and tear.
No, this tractor doesn’t have an engine, but it is pretty handy as well as adorable! And how many farm implements can earn that compliment?
I was given one of these two Christmases ago by my wise husband, who knows that I love any gift that can be used in the garden, barn, or kitchen. Here is a photo of our daughter and me ready to head out to the garden to plant, with (almost) everything we need stuffed into and under our “tractor.” (It was the first spring at our new farm, hence the dirt in place of grass. Another post on the saga of seeding a new lawn will be forthcoming…) This little cart is really handy to carry all kinds of tools, kneeling pads (which are also a great inexpensive gift idea!), and of course, children. My daughter loves being rolled around in this cart, which means I get a workout going and coming! For any gardening gal in your life, this would be the perfect present.
You didn’t think I could end the list without the ultimate gift, did you? Yes, this would be the extreme present, probably not on the Christmas shopping list, but at least we can put it on the wish list. I won’t even start on the various makes, because everyone has their favorite. But I would like to put in my two cents on size. My all-time favorite tractor was our very first one, a 20 horsepower John Deere. Admittedly, 20 hp is pretty small as far as tractor engines go, but for me it was perfect. We had a 4-ft mower attached, and I kept the three acres all around our house mowed every week. I have no idea how many hours I spent on my little John Deere, but during the summer it felt like a part-time job! We now have a 70 hp Kubota that my husband and I use for every job that a tractor can do, including lots of mowing and moving hay around. Although I drive that tractor, it’s honestly a bit too big for me to feel comfortable in. My dream tractor would be 30-35 hp with a bucket. I never knew how handy a bucket was until we had one! Tractors are like cars – there are endless variations and a price point to suit everyone. Maybe one year a new tractor will actually show up in my field on Christmas morning – one can always hope!
There you are – my top ten Christmas ideas for the farm girl in your life. Have any others that I forgot? Please let me know in the Comments.
Thanks and Merry Christmas!