The responses I read looked like they were a few years old...so maybe Magento has this now.
I want to have customers Buy boots get a free hat.
Is this possible?
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Still the same as a few years ago. There is not "free gift" shopping cart price rule: http://docs.magento.com/m2/ce/user_guide/marketing/price-rules-cart.html so you will need a custom module.
For Magento 1, see one of the old answers like Offering a free gift with purchase of a particular product type like (Buy X products Get Y Free)
For Magento 2, there are already commercial extensions, but you should be able to build it in the same way.
This feature is provided in magento simply follow the steps:
Follow the procedure: