By on December 19, 2012

Jackson Hole, Wyo.-Holiday gift shopping in Jackson Hole can be challenging. With no bona fide big box to turn to (KMART Jackson barely qualifies), shoppers need to do some careful navigation to find that special item. Buying for friends and family outside the area is easier, just shop like a tourist; but searching for that perfect present under the tree or white elephant gag gift for the office party is nigh impossible unless, of course, you’ve first read JH Weekly’s ‘Guide to Giving.’

—Mike Bressler—

Shopping for rednecks is simpler than shopping for more enlightened segments of society. For rednecks, function is paramount; fashion or fad will not impress. For Rednecks, elegance is practicality blended with quality.

Let’s begin our shopping excursion at Stone Drug. They offer excellent gift selections for the urbanely-challenged. (The expression “redneck” is becoming passé due the unacceptable value judgments associated with the word.) There are hunting accessories, knives, an expertly assembled selection of fishing tackle, wool pants and gloves, meat smokers, chips for smoking, barbeque accessories and an outstanding inventory of cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens. Ammo is sold clandestinely in a mysterious back room.

If the idea of buying cookery for rednecks seems incongruous, remember rednecks love flames and hot grease. The urbanely-challenged specialize in three items: meat, beans, and meat mixed with beans. Quality Dutch ovens or grills, or, if you really love him, a smoker, are sure to provide you with a smile and pounds of barbeque. Beware of falling for the “oh, it’s just the right size for the two of us” trap. Rednecks cook with massive portions.
Fine cutlery (a butcher knife) also makes a good gift, but remember, it is a gift; it is not for “us.” No knife, after being sharpened to a razor edge and used to hack into elk steak, pork shoulder, or thin-slice flank steak, deserves the indignity of chopping broccoli.

For many, the words redneck and gifts invoke visions of firearms, but beware; like the offering of a gold chain to a Sicilian virgin, the gift of a gun denotes the most serious of intentions. Sports Authority has a wide collection of modestly priced firearms; however, if the special someone on your list is serious about firearms, (And what redneck is not?) it can get expensive.

Connoisseurs appreciate expert craftsmanship; you are better off buying a bottom of the line Ferrari than a top of the line Chevy. (I am speaking metaphorically; if you want to buy him a vehicle, go with the Chevy unless you want to see what an Italian sports car looks like after a weekend of chiseler hunting up the Gros Ventre.) There are several regional custom gun makers and Jack Dennis Sports carries selections of upper-end sporting arms.

Whiskey goes with all redneck activities and is always appreciated; however, the urbanely-challenged rarely sip single malt scotch from cut crystal while reading “Finnegans Wake.” Booze is consumed from the bottle or hip flask while snowmachining, ice fishing, watching the cutter races, or changing the truck transmission while it’s parked in a snow bank. Buy premium Canadian Whiskeys: Crown Royal or Lord Canadian Calvert go well with frozen feet and fingers.

For attire, don’t waste money for something fashionably redneck, (redneck ironic as it’s known in the fashion industry). The urbanely-challenged could care less. While they might wear a camo tee shirt to a party if it’s the one they happen to have on, but to purposely choose it would suggest a concern for style that simply does not exist. If your redneck insists on wearing camo pants to a wedding or a politically incorrect tee shirt, then he is most likely a poser who can’t gut an elk or fix a truck. As most rednecks work outside, insulated Carhartt coveralls or a work jacket are wise choices.

If you want to get him something nice to wear for a night on the town, go with un-insulated Carhartt coveralls and a denim shirt; they’re all the rage this year. I am not suggesting rednecks don’t care about fashion; if you want to accessorize your redneck, go to the auto parts store for new mud flaps or a chrome knob for his gear shift.

Tools always make a good gift and no tools are cooler than battery-powered impact screw guns. Driving three-inch screws into wood, the whine of the motor, the squeal of the screw, the slamming impact hammer will make a redneck wax poetic. Pry bars and handyman jacks make cherished gifts. As anyone whose car has been pulled from a snow bank by a battered Chevy truck with a gun rack in the rear window and piles of bailing twine in the bed will tell you, the pull rope is worn thin, broken and retied in a couple places. Buy him a new one.

The urbanely-challenged possess a unique perspective in regards to art. While many workshops and garages have the requisite poster of Snap-on tools being displayed by a model wearing the latest in two piece swimwear, there is no reason the artistic palette cannot be elevated a notch. Posters are available showing models with petite-sized swimwear standing next to a restored classic car, a chainsaw, a four-wheeler, a snowmachine; opportunities for the creative imagination run wild.

Remember, when shopping for your special redneck, buy American and buy local. Merry Christmas!
—Jake Nichols—

Fur jock strap
The “pubic wig” should come with the Tom Selleck mustache. The kind of guy that gives a “fur loin” as a gift or is happy to receive it is the same “Dick Butkus” who hangs bull balls from his truck hitch to reaffirm his masculinity. And there exists no woman, outside of maybe Wilma Flintstone, who would be happy about getting the pelt version bra and panties.

Baby doll bitch
So sophisticated, so chic, so European. Nothing says “I care enough to give the best” like a baby doll and no one says “I’m better than you” like the French. It’s the perfect cultural storm. This doll by Corolle traces its roots to France’s Loire Valley where it has been teaching little French girls to grow up into big French biches for 30 years.

Imagine, when U.S. slobs were playing with their bimbo Barbies, Francophones were running a soft brush through the silken hair of their privileged Les Cheries baby dolls. These cherished keepsakes make Cabbage Patch Kids look like Raggedy Ann.

Bored games
Really? That’s what Junior will say when he tears into one of these babies under the Christmas tree. Face it, if it doesn’t need batteries, kids today don’t want it. And a Milton Bradley board game will go over like a pair of socks from grandma.

Dice as a random number generator are prehistoric. Literally. The oldest known die was discovered in an alley behind Nebuchadnezzar’s Place on the island of Crete. It was loaded. Anything worth playing from the era of mom-you-read-the-directions-and-dad-you-be-the-banker has already been translated to the smart phone. Scrabble is Words with Friends and Monopoly is eTrade.

Has Operation spawned a single surgeon? Does Clue inspire today’s LAPD detectives? Okay, Battleship did become a movie but it sunk. Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders – these games were designed in a fairytale unicorn past when “gay” meant carefree. We’ve grown up. Maybe Twister is still cool, but you’ve gotta be baked … and naked.

Souvenir gift t-shirts are like, well, t-shirts. You’ve got your “go-to” favs, your trusty and reliables, and your only in a pinch, one step from being used to mop up spilled bong water.

Top Tees: “Dude, I think this whole town is high. Elevation: xxxx.” / “Remote is not that thing on the coffee table.” / “I love big dumps.”
Terrible Tees: “I love big Tetons.”

High-end heaven
Nothing says “Jackson Hole” quite like a $22,000 Afghan rug woven by Pakistani refugees. Window shopping on the Town Square can be frustrating for mere mortals who cash their paychecks the same day they were cut.
Davies Reid inventory doesn’t exactly court the impulse buy like its soda-jerking predecessor. But if the drug store-turned-rug store on the corner can sell one $24,000 antique French armoire every few months, well, that goes further toward paying Ralph Gill his rent than trying to move 24,000 milkshakes.

Jackson has no shortage of big ticket items to choose from. From elk ivory earrings ($1,595 at JC Jewelers) to elk paintings ($21,000 Schwiering at Trailside Galleries) to 40 acres of prime elk habitat usurped by a 5,000 s.f. McMansion (take your pick), Jackson Hole offers the finest in wapiti for those with the wampum.

photo by jake nichols
If one of these babies show up under your Christmas tree you might be tempted to sic the cat on it. Don’t, it’s just a ‘merkin.’

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