Choosing the perfect Christmas present can be difficult. There are the “I just want socks or world peace,” people. Then, there are the people who always call you three days after Christmas asking for a gift receipt. There are the re-gifters. There are the people who already have everything. There are the OCD cousins who save wrapping paper.
For those of us who just want to simplify the holidays, this can be an absolute nightmare.
This year, in an effort to make both gift-giver and gift-recipient happy, I’ve set out to explain the different subcultures that exist within the umbrella of Country to help you identify what kind of personality and hobbies you’ll need to keep in mind while shopping. I’ll briefly introduce the person, and then give you a few ideas of what to wrap up to put under the tree.
First up, we have the working cowboy. For those of you who live in the city, you may be rolling your eyes and thinking I’m crazy and that there is no such thing as a cowboy anymore. Well darling, you’d be dead wrong. Although the number of real working cowboys (and cowgirls) did dramatically decrease in the late 1890s with the invention of barbed wire and pervasiveness of the railroad, cowboys still exist and still require special equipment to get the job done right. Their numbers may be small (as of the last census, an estimated 10,000), but their place in American culture is solidly embedded. The Gene Autry cowboy code, popularized in early Spaghetti westerns, upholds the “cowboy values” of honesty, integrity, and perseverance. Real cowboys (and girls), wake up at the crack of dawn and are either on their feet or in a saddle all day long. They feed cattle, repair fences, watch for predators, tend to livestock, and break in young animals. They also have very specific needs in footwear and clothing.
So, without further adieu, the cowboy gift giving guide…
1) Make sure that the gift recipient REALLY IS a working cowgirl or cowboy. I promise, you’ll know. If you don’t know, ask them what they’ve been doing for the past 12 hours. If they say “filing papers,” they’re probably not a working cowboy. If they say “playing the ukulele while handing out discount cards on the Vegas strip,” they’re probably not a real cowboy. If they seem exhausted and have been participating in cattle branding, cattle roping, cattle feeding, or cattle herding, they are, in fact, a real-life cowboy.
2) A real cowboy needs real cowboy boots. Traditionally, cowboy boots are made with a tapered toe, underslung heel, and leather outsole. This design actually has more to do with function than you’d think. The toe and heel have to do with the way the foot sits in the stirrup. The toe helps the foot slide in and out of the stirrup with ease, while the underslung heel prevents the foot from moving forward through the stirrup (which would result in broken bones or worse). The leather outsole means that the boot has traction, but can still glide in and out of the stirrup. Rubber soles tend to get stuck. If your gift-recipient really does ride ALL. DAY. LONG….they will want this particular kind of boot.
3) If the gift recipient does more work on the ground (ranch-hand style), please note that the boot requirements are totally different. We’ll be getting to ranch hands a little later, so in the mean time, please not that this post only applies to the worker who actually rides horses.
So what do you get them?
For cowboys, this rustic goat skin boot from Lucchese features a leather outsole and underslung heel,the perfect combination for a safe, comfortable ride. They fit all the necessary specifications, and are hand built to offer the most comfortable boot possible.
What’s a cowboy without a pair or Wranglers? A phony if you ask me! This classic cowboy cut jean helped define the West. These are tough work pants, made from heavy weight cotton twill. They are perfectly suited do the tough work that defines the cowboy lifestyle.
These Dan Post cowgirl boots are specifically designed for riding. The rustic, simple shaft and snipped toe couple with the leather outsole to make these boots perfect for use with stirrups. These are built for the girl who spends a lot of time riding.