Here are some unique last-minute wrestling Christmas ideas

Updated: December 22, 2023

By Sandy Stevens

As the calendar turned to December, I began composing a list of Christmas presents for my relatives. Suddenly I wondered, “What could I choose to give people in the wrestling family … especially if they had a more specific connection than cheering for a particular school?”

So, I turned to Facebook and posted the following: “Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s Sandy Claus, giving you a chance to be part of my next WIN column! Answer any or all of the following: What’s the best Christmas present for (1) a mom whose kid is wrestling for the first time (2) a first-year wrestling coach (3) a referee with perfect eyesight?”

The responses that did come in, from Alaska to Arkansas, however, offered a few different and often creative suggestions.

Donna Sigman proposes “a great stadium seat” for mom; “a water bottle that’s easy to pack around all day” for the coach and for the official, “a motivational book to counteract the negativity he might hear from some fans.”

This column appeared in the December issue of WIN Magazine. Click on the cover or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe.

Terri Kober Ettleson suggests that moms would benefit from “a hardbound journal (one for each wrestler) to write down every match and keep track of dates, miles and money spent”; a nice satchel/messenger bag so the coach has everything at hand; and for the ref, a hardbound journal to record travel and notes to learn from and to capture any special matches/wrestlers that will be noteworthy in the future.”

Ear-plugs for all three recipients is Jonathan Bowen’s idea … “for the mom so she won’t have to listen to any of the haters; for the coach so he doesn’t have to listen to all the coaches or the parents; and the referee so he doesn’t have to listen to the coaches or the parents.”

Ketta Dean recommends for mom, “a stress ball so she won’t put the stress touches on Hubby while the kid is wrestling,” for the first-time coach, a shirt that says, “Listen to me” and for the official, a referee’s shirt that says, “I have perfect eyesight.”

Mom could use “a fanny pack with money, gum, Tums and a phone charger,” said Sue Tellgren. She also suggested a pass to the hospitality room for the coach and “a gift card for a beer and burger joint to go wind down with his peers” for the ref.

Along the same line, Danielle Loutzenhiser suggested “a great bag” to pack gear, food and all the necessities moms might need. Her choice for the coach’s gift is a “Camelbak” backpack that can carry water, tape, a first-aid kit and other necessities. And for the official, “unlimited airline miles so they can travel to any of the tournaments they want to and not have to worry about funding to get there.”

Debra Cummings declared that both the mom and the first-year coach needed a pill to calm their nerves, but for the referee with perfect eyesight, “a book of rules!”

Pills also popped up in advice from Charlene Ann Baumbich, who simply declared, “Stress tabs!” 

Gail Meminger Rush wisely advised, “Lomotrin or Tinactin or both. It will happen sooner or later!”

“The gift of reading” is Johnnie Johnson’s unique and thoughtful choice, noting actual books: “What I Learned as a New Wrestling Mom” by kennedyfamfive; Dan Gable’s “Coaching Wrestling Successfully”;  Jim Miller’s “Do it Anyway!”; and “Seven Qualities of a Great Sports Official” by Libbey.

If none of the above suggestions slap the gift-giving mat for you, then Google is Santa’s friend.

Among the “Wrestling Moms” gifts you can find online will be drink-ware and tumblers, jewelry of every sort, candles, charms for clogs, expandable stands and, of course, myriads of T-shirts and sweatshirts. Surprisingly, many items specify either a boy or girl wrestler’s mom.

Some coaches’ gifts also indicate male or female. You’ll also discover personalized Christmas ornaments, clipboards, tote bags, ties, socks, name cards, mouse pads, clothing and much, much more.

Also, some referees’ presents advertised online can specify either male or female officials’ gifts. You can find, of course, T-shirts with a variety of messages, including one that reads, “Don’t make me use my referee’s voice.” Included among items also available are coffee mugs and glasses, special whistles, socks and even a candle.

So, if your Christmas list includes a beginning wrestler’s mom, a new coach or an eagle-eyed referee, pinning down the perfect gift should be a victory.

(Sandy Stevens is a long-time public address announcer of national and international events and was named to the National Hall of Fame in 1998.)