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Christmas is for Woodworkers
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Many years ago, I was in Pittsburgh going to school for model making. As the holidays approached I simply could not get into the spirit of the season. I was in a new city with few contacts, 600 miles from home. One of the instructors announced that the woodshop would be open for a couple of days so that any volunteers who wanted could help produce a bunch of wooden toys to be given to Toys for Tots. A number of us showed up, building toys for less fortunate kids, singing "We are Santa's Elves", from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and really enjoying the season.

And why not? Christmas and woodworking have always gone together.

Have you ever seen a movie, book or Christmas card where Santa's shop was not chock full of elves making every sort of wooden toy? Nothing seems to speak to old fashioned holiday cheer like wood toys. I have made rattles, hobby horses, ornaments, cars, bulldozers, trucks, trains and dollhouses. The smell of wood, paint and varnish are right up there with pine and cinnamon as the scents of the holidays. One of my earliest Christmas memories is my father in his basement shop, making gifts for friends. That year he made bread and cheese boards. They were shaped like a cat (bread) and a mouse (cheese). It is a cherished memory and always comes to mind during the holidays. One of these years, I will recreate them for my family members to the man who first sparked my interest in woodworking. So cherish your time in the shop, especially if you spend it with kids making gifts. In my opinion, nothing in this world brings the spirit of Christmas home like wooden toys. You can't buy that sort of memory at any store.

posted on December 21, 2009 by Ralph Bagnall
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4 thoughts on “Christmas is for Woodworkers”

  • Tom

    No wooden toys this year, but I just finished making a couple of Pig Tail flippers with Bubinga handles for my son-in-law and his dad, and a set of four cheese knives in birds-eye maple for my daughter. To quote Martha Stewart, "This is good".

  • Kim Adams

    Yup, and it's a good thing, too!

    *Afraid to ask* What's a Pig Tail Flipper, Tim?

  • Tom

    A Pig Tail meat flipper is a long tapered stainless-steel rod with a right-angle hook at the end. It will flip any piece of meat except a hamburger patty. Apparently it comes in left hand and right hand versions. A Rockler competitor sells the metal part. It looks nice with a Bubinga or Mesquite handle. I own one with a Mesquite handle inlaid with a band of turquoise Inlace.

  • Kim Adams

    Ooops, sorry - I meant TOM. So, a meat-flipper, huh? I've never seen one. I'll run that by our Merchandising team and let them know that people
    are making these and we should look at carrying them! Thanks!

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