It is lovely to receive a gift. Big or small, it’s the thought and the good intention behind it which warms the soul. I like to give people gifts that I have made. I like making things, and at least with a handmade gift I can know for sure that they won’t already have one like it. Still, I don’t always manage to give people gifts that I’ve made: time is short and I’m not that well-organised.
There is a perception, however, that by giving a handmade gift you are some kind of cheapskate because you probably haven’t spent a lot of money on it. This implies that the most appreciated gifts are the most expensive. But I don’t necessarily agree. By giving an expensive gift you are showing that you have a lot of money and are willing to spend it on the recipient. That’s all very well, and such extravagance is exciting, both for the giver and receiver, especially when the gift is something that they really, really want. Don’t get me wrong, if someone gave me an iPad or a diamond necklace I’d be over the moon. But I’d also be a little embarrassed about returning such generosity.
On the other hand, a handmade gift can actually be quite expensive when you consider the cost of the higher end yarns. But whatever the cost of your materials, a handmade gift should be especially appreciated: the time and skill involved really shows you care.
For Christmas I received these marvellous sparkly knitted slippers from a friend. The design and construction intrigued me. I loved the mad, multicoloured sparkly yarn they were trimmed with; I loved that they stayed securely on my feet; and that they were a perfect fit. I know my friend is on a tight budget, and I know these slippers would not have cost a lot to make, but that isn’t the point. The fact that they were made by her own fair hands is very special to me. She knows me, and she knew I would love them, wear them and find them interesting. For a gift you can’t ask for more than that.
Last week we caught up with some friends who we hadn’t seen over the holidays because they had been ill. With embarrassment they presented us with this beautiful cake, being modelled here by Herbie. Seconds later he was trying to lick it.
Our friends felt they had to excuse the absence of bought gifts. They felt they had to explain. They are both working, but with pay freezes, childcare costs and house maintenance they are feeling the pinch, and they hoped we would ‘make do’ with this offering. They further explained that it was a quarter of a large Christmas cake which they had baked but not managed to decorate because of illness. Of course we were delighted with our gift, and the fact it was handmade was all the more special. There was no need to explain. I love how the cake is boldly decorated and placed on a handmade silver foil cake board with extra sugar flowers. It’s just delightful. OH has not allowed me to cut it yet because it’s so special and beautiful and he wants to take a picture of it. We will eat it and enjoy it.
What special handmade item did you give (or receive) this year?
Til next time,