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Santa’s Toy Shop. . .Utah Edition

January 4, 2021

I spent a lot of time in my garage between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, I was still working in it late into the night on Christmas Eve.

It was a crazy year last year. And I decided in the midst of the crazy that I wanted to make Christmas gifts this year. I started with my grandkids. I have ten grandchildren. Nine are living. Three were born this year.

I have a tradition that I started last year. Who knows how long I’ll long I’ll keep doing it. I create each child’s name in letters. They are big, easy to grab, impossible to choke on, letters. This year I made three names, a total of 16 letters.

My children who were around last Christmas weren’t too surprised. And I didn’t try too hard to keep it a secret. I have a new son-in-law. As he shook the box that contained his child’s name he heard the wooden pieces clanking against each other

Sounds fragile.

Nope. Not very fragile. If I build a toy for your child, it’s going to be pretty tough.

Next on the Christmas list was my one-year old granddaughter. She got her name from Pawpaw last Christmas. She also got a bunch of painted blocks. This year, I needed something a little more advanced.

A couple weeks before Christmas my daughter was talking to her sister and mentioned she was thinking of buying her toddler one of those toys that are round rings that you stack on a base with a curved bottom.

I don’t know. I think I might hold off on that.

Her sister had seen my workshop and the toy I was making.

The sizes were largely dependent on the sizes of hole-saw blades I had. I’m thinking I may need to buy some more saw blades before next year.

Finally, we were ready for the older kids. And by older, I mean 3-6 year olds. I have to admit I broke my rule, the rule my lovely wife calls the “helicopter rule.”

Things made in my workshop are built so that a helicoptor could land on them

My father-in-law was a logger in his younger days. A mishap with a tree put him into a wheelchair for the latter part of his life. He turned his interest with wood into the hobby of making wooden toys. I used a model a car that he had made for my two oldest kids when they were my two only kids.

I ended up making five cars. They look like tractors.

I can’t take credit for the design. That was Joe’s. But, when he made them for our kids, he cautioned us that the axles, made from 1/4″ pine dowels, were a weak point. And he was right. My children had broken the axles while playing with them over the years.

We gave them to three of the grandkids on Christmas morning. And sure enough about an hour later, my grandson fell on one of them and cracked the axle.

Fortunately they come with a lifetime bumper-to-bumper service contract.

While building the 2020 version, I also restored the 1990s versions. My daughters were coming to visit on different days. (Social distancing and all that.) I gave my second oldest daughter hers on Christmas day. My oldest brought her kids by the next day and watched them unwrap their presents.

I heard that you gave the original to Katrina yesterday.

Well, here. This present is for you.

What is it?

Sometimes the timing just works.

The new models were almost indistinguishable from the old.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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