I’ve had Christmas on the brain for so many months that it is hard to believe that December has finally arrived and we are in the final stretch. I’m certainly not one of those people doing their Christmas shopping in July! This year I decided I would be making as many gifts as possible. In order to achieve this goal, there was definitely some planning involved! Hand-making gifts can be a rather slow process so I needed to allow myself plenty of time. Last year on December 12th I came up with the bright idea that I would knit both my mother and sister a poncho for Christmas. Ha! It’s a year later and those ponchos remain a mere image in my mind.
When devising my gift lift, I also vowed to steer clear of all malls and big box stores. I hate, hate, hate the malls and during this rushed, busy time of year, they are more unbearable than ever. I had no problem sourcing beautiful, unique and handmade items for the little ones. I declared my shopping done and my goal achieved until Chi-Chi informed me that Santa was going to bring him a child-size wheelbarrow as his special gift. Yikes! How on earth was I going to stick to my guns on this one? The only one I could find in town was the John Deere brand child’s wheelbarrow made by RC2 Corporation. RC2 Corporation rang a fire alarm bell in my head of course ….being the makers of those lead tainted Thomas trains! No, I’m not worried about Chi-Chi and Muffy chewing the paint off the wheelbarrow, but something inside me (utter disgust) prevents me from wanting to support this company. What a dilemma! Which should suffer – my child’s faith in Santa or my personal ethical standards?
Well, it was my lucky day! In my frantic search for a wheelbarrow I did a scan through the local Kijiji classifieds. I could not believe my eyes!! A handmade child’s wheelbarrow made by a local woodworker popped up on my screen. The ad stated it was the very last one he had available. Due to the high cost of quality wood and the amount of labour involved, he felt it was no longer worth his effort to produce them. He felt people simply weren’t interested in or willing to pay a fair price. This saddened my heart even more when I read the family history behind this dear little LaHave Child's Wheelbarrow. The production of the LaHave Child’s Wheelbarrow began 50 years ago in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia by the man’s carpenter father. This soft-hearted man had the two very last ones produced on hand – one for sale and one to keep for himself. I did a bit of begging and pleading and convinced him to sell me both – one for Chi-Chi and one for Muffy! Santa pulled through for me!!
I do hope this friendly man has a change of heart and continues to make a few of these special wheelbarrows. I have no doubt I’m not the only one who values a solid, quality handcrafted item made with care and attention to detail. The story and history behind the design and the makers of the wheelbarrow makes it even more special and endearing. I have no doubt my grandchildren will one day enjoy these sweet and solid LaHave child wheelbarrows!