Alternative Christmas gifts for youth
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    Alternative Christmas gifts for youth

    Listening to the radio this morning in my shop, I heard a news blip about Amazon releasing the top 20 toys for Christmas 2018. It got me to thinking about my favorite toys of Christmas past, in comparison to today. This post isn't about comparing the two- it's about alternative gifts this year, prompted by my memories of what meant the most to me.
    I'm sure that you've heard, many times recently, about the drought of skilled craftsmen today. Carpentry, HVAC, welding, autobody, electrical, and on and on. There is less interest, and drive, to go into the service fields. It is possible that Christmas gifts, this year, could ignite an interest in your youth for one of these fields. They are more lucrative than ever (primarily because of the huge demand for skilled craftsmen), and a viable alternative to college and the attached expenses.
    So, consider these (not an exhaustive list, but a good start on ideas)- if your youth is interested in electronics, get them a quality soldering station and supplies; or depending on interests, a good starter socket set, a hammer and accompanying woodworking tools (along with an idea book or magazine, which are plentiful at hardware stores), even an inexpensive welder to get them started. For what a large LEGO set costs, which is often built and then put on a shelf or in a closet, you could get one of these ideas- which will go much further. Like the idea, but get intimidated by buying something that you don't know how to use yourself (especially when your youth want you to show them how to do it)? Youtube is a great resource to learn from- you don't need to be a master yourself, for them to get the most out of the gift.
    Erector sets, tools, a free riding mower to fix up and snort around on (my dad wasn't about to buy me a motorcycle or atv, so me and my friends made our own fun)- these things are a large part of what lead me to having abilities today. And even more than those abilties, is the confidence and creativity to use those abilities. I predict that alternative gifts, not on the Amazon list, could make a big difference in a youths future.
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    2LaneCruzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodge View Post
    Listening to the radio this morning in my shop, I heard a news blip about Amazon releasing the top 20 toys for Christmas 2018. It got me to thinking about my favorite toys of Christmas past, in comparison to today. This post isn't about comparing the two- it's about alternative gifts this year, prompted by my memories of what meant the most to me.
    I'm sure that you've heard, many times recently, about the drought of skilled craftsmen today. Carpentry, HVAC, welding, autobody, electrical, and on and on. There is less interest, and drive, to go into the service fields. It is possible that Christmas gifts, this year, could ignite an interest in your youth for one of these fields. They are more lucrative than ever (primarily because of the huge demand for skilled craftsmen), and a viable alternative to college and the attached expenses.
    So, consider these (not an exhaustive list, but a good start on ideas)- if your youth is interested in electronics, get them a quality soldering station and supplies; or depending on interests, a good starter socket set, a hammer and accompanying woodworking tools (along with an idea book or magazine, which are plentiful at hardware stores), even an inexpensive welder to get them started. For what a large LEGO set costs, which is often built and then put on a shelf or in a closet, you could get one of these ideas- which will go much further. Like the idea, but get intimidated by buying something that you don't know how to use yourself (especially when your youth want you to show them how to do it)? Youtube is a great resource to learn from- you don't need to be a master yourself, for them to get the most out of the gift.
    Erector sets, tools, a free riding mower to fix up and snort around on (my dad wasn't about to buy me a motorcycle or atv, so me and my friends made our own fun)- these things are a large part of what lead me to having abilities today. And even more than those abilties, is the confidence and creativity to use those abilities. I predict that alternative gifts, not on the Amazon list, could make a big difference in a youths future.
    Good idea. I might recommend a kit of some kind...there are lots of them out there. I like to do woodworking and play the guitar a little bit (I used to play a lot), so I ordered a couple of Ukelele kits from Grizzly...one for me and one for my oldest grandson. I don't think they have them any more, but they are available other places. There is little or no sawing, mostly gluing up, sanding, finishing and fitting the strings and tuning pegs. We had a lot of fun...and he got some experience with a hands-on project that resulted in a usable item. He went on to take woodworking in high school. He didn't learn to play it, but he still has it. Maybe when he finishes his CPA he'll get back to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodge View Post
    Erector sets, tools, a free riding mower to fix up and snort around on (my dad wasn't about to buy me a motorcycle or atv, so me and my friends made our own fun)- these things are a large part of what lead me to having abilities today.

    I predict that alternative gifts, not on the Amazon list, could make a big difference in a youths future.
    One problem with ANY of these type gifts,,, they are ALL dangerous, and hazardous to the child's health,,,

    I live nest door to a daughter with 4 children,, she has more than a half dozen friends with a similar number of children,,

    Do not even think about a child driving a small tractor, that can be considered child abuse,, in real legal terms.

    Soldering? lead poising from the fumes,, Erector Set? swallowing hazards,,,

    I gave up on these ideas,,, you can not fight the parents,,,
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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    One problem with ANY of these type gifts,,, they are ALL dangerous, and hazardous to the child's health,,,

    I live nest door to a daughter with 4 children,, she has more than a half dozen friends with a similar number of children,,

    Do not even think about a child driving a small tractor, that can be considered child abuse,, in real legal terms.

    Soldering? lead poising from the fumes,, Erector Set? swallowing hazards,,,

    I gave up on these ideas,,, you can not fight the parents,,,
    Not directing my comment at (or) too you personally.

    My perspective on the above conscientious.

    I can't help but laugh, because parents with the above mentality live immune.
    To that I say, EFF them all. No one tells me how or what, at any given age, I teach MY kids.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boonie View Post
    To that I say, EFF them all. No one tells me how or what, at any given age, I teach MY kids.
    You say that until the cops and news crews show up,, over letting your child walk the dog,,,
    (that was in the news last week)

    The parents just do not want the hassle,,,so, they do not push ANY wrong buttons,,,
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    Some of the tractors include JD 4105, JD 855, JD 650,,,, and,,, the IH 584 4WD
    My favorite attachment is the homemade landplane,,, EVERYONE needs one of those!!

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    Over protective parents is just a bunch of lazy BS, IMHO. My oldest boy bought a 140 when he was 12. I helped him pay for it. When he was 13 he built his first Killer Kohler in our basement. I helped, but he did the work, the planning, the sourcing the parts, etc. He financed it by buying and selling parts. He bought a good mig welder (Millermatic 252) when he was 19. He just finished restoring a 314, with a bigger Killer Kohler. In a year he'll graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering.

    My younger son owns 3 vintage tractors and a 1949 welder, made his own spot welder from a microwave transformer. He's known for his ability to get old iron running. The MC 10-20 he bought, he got running. It hadn't run in 50 years. He welds better than I ever could, his brother even steps aside to let him weld. He bought his own mobile welder after getting the 1949 running and working. He saw the need and the use. He found a blacksmith/welder to help mentor him. He went to Nationals 2 years in a row for public speaking. The kid is 19 years old. He wants to start a mobile welding business and be a firefighter.

    Don't think for a second that anyone thinks I'm the world's greatest dad, far from it. What my boys got was an opportunity to explore and do what they chose within reason. I still don't get the public speaking thing.

    My point isn't that it's a present 1 time of the year, it's about opportunity and exposure to different things. More people would be in the trades if they knew more about the trades.

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    It can even be simple and not expensive.

    I took me only the time to walk over to this, I know exactly where it was. Got it somewhere around 1st grade. Also still have the Savage 410 I bought myself at 12 from ace hardware. Oddly enough I think my name is on the receipt for that, I know my dad was with me but I think that was only to get me to town.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    One problem with ANY of these type gifts,,, they are ALL dangerous, and hazardous to the child's health,,,

    I live nest door to a daughter with 4 children,, she has more than a half dozen friends with a similar number of children,,

    Do not even think about a child driving a small tractor, that can be considered child abuse,, in real legal terms.

    Soldering? lead poising from the fumes,, Erector Set? swallowing hazards,,,

    I gave up on these ideas,,, you can not fight the parents,,,
    Really I survived. You just perfectly described my childhood.


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    This is so true...we bought our son erector sets, Connex sets and the tools to fabricate stuff. Today he is a very successful engineer who is able to provide for his family while doing something he enjoys.

    As a grandparent, this thread is a also great reminder that the best gifts might not come from a store.
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    J3 Driver's Avatar
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    Two years ago we bought my son a cub for Christmas. He also got a craftsman socket set.



    This has been one of the best things we could have done. It’s taught him mechanical skills. Has taught him responsibility in operating it. And keeps him of the video games.

    Between his pap and I he had learned an awful lot.

    Here he’s replacing points in a Cub Cadet Original



    An old tractor could be just the ticket for your youngster.


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