This year, as with most years, I am making most of our Christmas presents. This year, only about 50% of the gifts are homemade – what with the baby and all, I just didn’t have time/energy to go all homemade.
And this year, as with most years, I’m anticipating some inward eyerolling, some polite commenting about the handiwork, and some behind-my-back complaining about the lame presents. Personally, I’d love to receive something like a bag full of handmade, fragrant bath products. Or a full set of seasonal pillowcases. Or some knitted washcloths and handmade soaps. Or a few Tshirts personalized with appliques or stencils.
My friends, for the most part, are quite appreciative. Most of them are either crafty themselves, or at least appreciate handcrafts. Family, on the other hand… not so much. When cleaning out my mom’s house, I found the last four years of Christmas presents from me stashed away in various closets, unopened. (She had even told me how much she loved the bath salts and lip balm. liar.) My husband’s family is just simply accustomed to a more materialistic holiday, and lack an appreciation for the handmade, locally produced, etc. (They laugh at our organic produce, too.)
And yet, every year, I put time, effort, and materials into creating things I think they will enjoy.
Many crafty folk face the same dilemma. Is it, ultimately, worth the effort, time, and expense to create handmade items for people who will not truly appreciate them? Is it better to instead just buy something for those who would rather receive (or who are accustomed to receiving) more material things?
Personally, I will continue to give handmade items, even to those who do not necessarily look kindly upon homemade presents. First, it is much more affordable. Something that costs me $10 in materials and several hours of work will look like “more” of a gift than something I’m able to buy for $10. Second, I feel like it’s my mission to convert family to a simpler version of Christmas. And we’re making progress there. Slow but sure progress. We give handmade not just because I can sew, but because it supports our family’s vision of what Christmas should be like.
Other crafters come to different decisions, and that’s fine. I understand the desire to not spend so much time and effort on making things that will spend their lives stuffed in a closet!!