Thursday, October 25, 2007

two months from today...

I'm starting to stress a little about Christmas already. So far I only have two scarves made (one of which still needs to be blocked) and two small part-presents bought. I have a lot of people on my list. Part of me would like to be able to make all of my gifts this year. Not only could this save a lot of money (especially since I likely have almost enough supplies on hand), it can also result in a more personal, thoughtful gift. The biggest problem - after finding the time to actually do the making - is coming up with ideas of appropriate gifts for everyone on my list.

Over the years I have made many gifts for friends and family. I cannot remember a Christmas that hasn't included handmade gifts. Woodworking, knitting, quilting, rug hooking, sculpting, painting, drawing, embroidery, beading....I've gifted them all. Many of these gifts have been treasured and loved, others not so much. Sometimes the person hasn't even taken the time to say "thank you", let alone send a thank you note.

I've also heard my share of horror stories from friends. A friend's dad painted a picture and mounted it in a inexpensive frame, and the recipient thought the gift was the frame. Another friend knitted sweaters for a neighbour's children and saw other children wearing them in town a month later. I'm sure that you have your own tales to tell, too.

I've finally come to terms with the harsh reality that not everyone appreciates the time and care that goes into a handmade gift - they would be just as happy (if not more so) with something picked up at the mall. I try to save my energy for those who truly do appreciate my work...but still every once in a while, I get a rude surprise.

I've tried several strategies over the years to deal with this problem. I've sworn off ever giving them anything I've made again. I've tried limiting handmade gifts to people who actually make things themselves. But even this doesn't work - the fact is that I like to create...and sometimes my passive-aggressive side shows at Christmas time.

What will you be making and giving this Christmas?