From Me to You

Holiday season gifts for your trucker’s stocking.

Finding the perfect holiday gift for your special someone is often a difficult job, but when that someone is a trucker, the job can be a little more complicated. What can you get someone who spends much of his or her days in a small compartment, accessible only via cell phone or CB?

Truckers News has put together a list to aid gift-givers looking for trucker-related paraphernalia. From costly stocking stuffers to those of the less expensive but more heart-warming variety, here are some things you should know about holiday shopping for truckers.

A good place to start off the search is the Internet. Premier Motoring Accessories, Inc., located at www.premiermotoring.net/cgi-bin/webc.cgi/gift_ford.html , offers everything from patriotic- and military-themed hitch covers and plugs to designer license plate frames. For the driver who dreams of lighting up a cigarette but not having a cab thick with smoke, there is the Smoker’s Sidekick. This convenient ashtray fits into most cup holders, comes with a clip so it can be worn on a belt and is dishwasher safe.

GG Bailey offers more gift ideas. The company offers custom-fit, luxury floor and trunk mats. You can design your own mats with unique carpet coloring, edging and heel pads. Initials, names, logos or collegiate emblems can adorn the mats. Browse mat options at www.ggbailey.com.

Why not get your trucker a personalized mesh cap to match those custom mats? Trucker hats are all the rage now, and it is not difficult to find a venue to airbrush someone’s name or personal motto on the front or the bill. A wide variety of net and trucker hats can be found at www.meshhat.com.

To keep in touch with your trucker when he is out on the longer hauls, surprise him with a new CB system or cell phone. Roadtrucker.com offers a limited edition 40-channel CB radio for $113.55. The device comes with a nine-inch microphone cord and is decorated with a Dale Earnhardt logo.

A selection of Cobra 18-channel handheld GPS units is also available on Roadtrucker.com. And to keep your trucker warm while talking on the phone, pick him or her up a Roadpro Ceramic 12-volt heater. This 250-watt heater will plug into the cigarette lighter socket and mounts either adhesively or with screws. If the heater isn’t enough to fight off the chill of the winter months, then get your trucker a Roadpro 12-volt electric blanket. The blanket’s 8-foot power cord also plugs into the cigarette lighter socket.

Some trucker-themed gifts are just plain fun. Trucker balladeer Red Simpson re-released his 1973 collection of holiday songs – titled Truckers’ Christmas – on Oct. 19. With songs like “Christmas Wheels” and “Truckin’ Trees for Christmas” the disc is sure to put a festive spirit in the air as well as a smile on your face.

Is your trucker still a kid at heart? Then order “Truckopoly.” Ex-trucker Randy Brooks developed the game, which he calls “an all-new exciting game different than any board game ever targeted at the trucking industry.” Contact Brooks at drummerboy@n-connect.net to learn more about the game.

In the mood to give a more unusual gift? Order a truck “soup-er can-dle” from Sign of the Times. This gift looks like a can of soup, but it’s really a jasmine-scented wax candle designed to brighten and freshen a truck cab or home. Contact Sign of the Times at 352-357-4463 for more information.

If your trucker won’t be home in time for Christmas this year, at least let him be present in spirit by hanging a trucker ornament on the tree.

ChristmasSpiritshop.com now offers a male truck driver Christmas tree ornament. This 3.5-inch tall clay figure sells for $15.95 and depicts a smiling trucker holding a roadmap and talking on a CB. The trucker ornament can also be personalized with a name and a year to give it that special touch.

If none of these ideas strike your fancy, you can always just pass on that good old standard, a book. Paperback books are cheap, easy to find and are especially useful for truckers ready to chip away at the hours spent at truckstops or between hauls. But even more valuable than paperbacks are audiobooks, available in both cassette and compact disc format. Besides being accessible to the driver while he or she is driving, audiobooks hold a power their printed-format counterparts just cannot produce. Hearing the inflections the comedy writer laces his reading with, listening to the pain that pours out of a writer’s voice as he reads his autobiography – these are things that eat up time on the highway.

Whatever gifts you give your trucker, remember to think with your heart. Expensive is not always best. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts. Sometimes all it takes to warm up a cab during the wintertime is a telephone call or the gift of a small Christmas tree adorned with pictures of the driver’s loved ones.


Ornaments for the Trucker’s Tree
When veteran trucker Patrick Johnston and his wife Jana went looking for trucker-themed Christmas ornaments, they came up almost empty-handed. “The only one we could find was made by these monks in a monastery. It was an angel holding a truck,” Jana says.

So the couple started a business, Convoy Crafts, to make and sell ornaments themselves. Patrick shapes the wood ornaments, and Jana paints them. Convoy Crafts offers eight styles of ornaments, all shaped like trucks. Styles available are straight trucks, tankers, coal buckets, covered wagons, dry vans, flatbeds and double wides. Jana says her favorite ornament is the “DOT stop,” which depicts a truck pulled over by the DOT.

All of the trucks can be customized with traditional and Christian themes, and initials can be painted onto each of the trucks for 50 cents.

Since this is Convoy Crafts’ first year and Patrick still divides his time between making the ornaments and hauling loads – he has been driving for 12 years – supplies are limited and early orders are advisable.

Convoy Crafts will donate 10 percent of all proceeds from their business to the Special Olympics. For more information on Convoy Crafts and Christmas Ornaments for Truckers, call 1-865-397-4996, or email convoycrafts@charter.net.
–Lance Orr

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