Nov 212014
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Your hobby or vocation is woodworking.  You love it.  You think about it all the time.  Woodworking is almost your “grand obsession.”  You read the Highland Woodworking catalog on the subway, train, or in your car (only at stop lights, please!).  You watch YouTube videos about woodworking at lunch.  You are in your shop every spare minute.  You live, eat, and breathe woodworking.  And you know what gifts people are going to give you over the holidays?  Socks.  A tie.  A gift card to a coffee shop.  A pair of pajamas or a new sweater.  Bah.  Humbug.

Oh, you will, of course, be polite; you’ll ooh and ah, express your gratitude; and as soon as the gift wrap remnants are swept away, you will be back in your shop or deep into your favorite magazine reading… about woodworking.

It may be politically incorrect, but I suggest putting your altruism aside and consider making yourself a gift this year.  Who deserves it more?  Get what you really want!  Maybe a new workbench?  How about a new rack for all your clamps?  Have you been selflessly building projects for others when what you really need is a new router table?  Then damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead… make something for yourself… something for your shop!

Tidy Whities Square
Figure 1 – Tidy Whities? Bah, Humbug! Figure 2 – Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!

Or perhaps buy something for yourself.  Sound selfish?  Well, it shouldn’t.  Gift wrap it for the full effect.  Try to act surprised when you open it.  Try this… when the spouse and kiddies are away, grab the department store gift box (it is pretty obvious which one) and remove the giftwrap like a surgeon.  Be careful not to tear the paper.  Take the shirt, socks, underwear, or whatever out, toss it or return it, then place that new Woodpeckers Square in the box, re-wrap it, and put it back under the tree.  When you open the gift everyone will be amazed… there really is a magical Santa Claus or philosopher’s stone capable of transforming plaid socks into cool tools!

If you are tempted to feel guilty for what some might consider selfish acts, don’t despair.  The human mind can rationalize almost anything.  A “selfie” gift is actually generous, since you are saving others the torment of trying to figure out what you really want.  Plus, who wants a grumpy woodworker around with piles of useless tchotchkes?  Better you go off to the woodshop to play with your new toys, grinning like a guiltless child.

Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life).

Steven can be reached directly via email at

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>