Friday, December 31, 2010

The ups and downs of gift giving

Today I read a post about handmade gift giving by Manda at Treefall and it got me thinking about what a minefield gift giving can be, and in particular giving presents you've made by hand.

Manda pointed out that some people don't see the value in handmade because it didn't 'cost' anything, and that some people feel cheated out of a store bought present. She's right that everyone has their own stories of disappointment or success. For me one that hurt was a friend giving me a flat, unexcited 'thanks' for a baby journal I'd given her for her newborn, and never mentioned the journal again. I'd spent weeks collecting nursery rhymes to put in it, hand illustrating the nursery rhymes and binding it by hand. Maybe she didn't like it, maybe she thought it was store bought or maybe it just wasn't very good ;-) This friend had always bought me expensive presents in the past, so much so that I felt I couldn't compete. But this hurt because I thought she missed the fact that I spent the time and effort on it because of what she, and her new baby, meant to me. I don't think people hand make presents expecting extra thanks, but we do hope people 'get it' - that we do it because they mean something to us.

On the other hand, a couple of years ago I gave a friend a little handmade decoration for her tree and she said she almost cried when she opened it because she was so touched by it. See, she got it. Over the years I'm sure I have accidently upset people with my reactions to gifts at times, and I've also given some gifts that I felt weren't quite right. Situations where I'd thought and thought about what to get but just couldn't seem to think of something they'd really like and settled for second best. It's a hard thing to get right, don't you think?

Happily this year I felt my gifts were good enough to give away this year (as Manda did), and people did seem to get it. Over the next week or so I want to show you some of the things that were exchanged over the holiday period.

Have a lovely new year's eve everyone, and best of luck for 2011. Thanks for coming here and reading my ramblings in my first year of blogging. Without you I'd just be talking to myself :-)


  1. I think it's very sad that some people just don't understand the value of handmade or "get it"! I love to give homemade.. it's so much more special!! I've had a few instances myself where they didn't "get it" so I'm a little more careful who I give my handmade gifts too these days :)

    Happy New Year Jo
    Hope it's a wonderful crafty year :)

  2. It can be dicey giving handmade. In 2009 I gave handmade to every single person I gave gifts to........what an epic effort that was! For 2010 I decided to only give handmade to those who I knew did 'get it' - but also who would appreciate it because let's face it, alot of time and effort goes into handmade.

    Can't wait to see some of your handmade goodies

    Happy New Year :)

  3. this is an older post of you, and i'm not sure you'll see it if like me your comments don't follow to your e-mail account...
    but i read Manda's post, and now reading yours... i feel touched again by this.
    i've had several similar experiences to yours -- good or bad -- and with the hurt i'm learning to make the difference. the difference between who i can work for because they would "get it" and who wouldn't care anyway. it is a long but necessary process.
    and of course, as a crafter, i love to receive handmade and i'm the one moved to tears when this happens !


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