Each year I pledge to not wait until the last minute to come up with gift ideas for my family and friends. And each year, for the most part, I fail. If you are one of those people frantically shopping a day or two before Christmas, I’m the guy standing behind you in line.
I try to keep my eyes open throughout the year for gift ideas for people on my list. It is certainly nice to check off that person on your gift to-do list when you find the perfect thing in July. Hopefully you will still be on good terms. And hopefully they won't have bought it for themselves in the months between then and the holidays.
We spend most of our time during the fourth quarter of the year taking care of gift-giving lists for our customers. For almost 40 years we have been publishing the Draft Horse Wall Calendar, featuring big beautiful photos of them working in the fields, performing at fairs and entertaining crowds at parades. Each year, we receive scores of letters from people telling us of their family tradition giving these calendars. We also produce wall calendars featuring mules — mules under saddle, in harness, and packing in the mountains. Another calendar we publish is the Driving Horse Calendar. It showcases mostly light horses in fine harness put to carriages and sleighs in a variety of settings. I added the Donkey Calendar about five years ago and it is quickly becoming a favorite of many customers.
For those people who enjoy old photos of life in America before the mass migration to the cities in the 1950s and 60s, we have the America's Rural Yesterday Appointment calendar that is filled with photos by J.C. Allen and others that show rural life in the early 1900s. It is used by some as a week-ata- glance appointment book or by others as a weekly diary.
We offer quantity discounts on all our calendars and you are welcome to mix and match. If you send us your list, we send them directly to your recipients, at no extra charge. You can order by calling us at 877-647-2452 or visiting www.mischka.com.
If you still need some ideas, check out our bookstore page near the back of this issue. We have several new books, both for grownups and children. And we have more on our website and in our free catalog.
One advantage in buying gifts this late, is you are less likely to set them aside and forget where you put them. Each year we make a couple "second" sales to customers who have done that very thing. They ordered in August, were promptly mailed their calendars, and then misplaced them in some secret hiding place even they can't find.
Here's hoping you have a happy and safe holiday season from all of us at Rural Heritage and Mischka Press. — jm
If you have an event or activity you'd like to talk to Joe about, shoot him an email at
or give him a ring. 319-362-3027