Saturday, August 10, 2013

My answer to why I don't just buy you gifts.

So, I mentioned to someone the other day that I am going to do a crochet Christmas again. (Spoiler alert: if you are on my gift list you just might get something crocheted!!)

That someone asked me in a slightly sarcastic voice, "Why don't you just buy gifts? Don't you think people would rather have something that isn't handmade?"




I don't remember what I mumbled as a reply because inside I was reeling.

I love hand making my gifts. When an occasion for a gift arrives, I don't wonder what store I need to run to, I wonder what I can make that they will enjoy and use. If I decide to buy something, I always look for a handmade option on a place like etsy so I can support someone who uses sweat, tears, and possibly a little blood (crafting type activities aren't for sissies) rather than some mindless drone from who knows where.

I have made scarves, blankets, hats, toys, kitchen cloths, more toys, clothes, and even the occasional edible treat. I have always been proud of myself since I made the shift to handmade gifts. I am not putting cash in an envelope, I am taking the time to put love and caring in each of these gifts.

Is that wrong? Have I made a mistake? Do people pretend to enjoy my gifts all the while wishing I had thrown some cash into a card with a sentiment someone else wrote? Have I looked like some poor, clueless hippie chick who doesn't realize people want the store bought crap any other person can have?

That One Comment threw my confidence and pride in countless hours of work out the window. Gone. It hurt. If words were weapons, I would have been bleeding from somewhere vital.

After stewing and replaying that one comment over and over in my head, I came to one conclusion.

If you don't want handmade gifts from me then you're missing out on something special, you idiot.

Okay, that's probably a little harsh. Lily would tell me not to call other people names because it is mean.

If I make you a gift, know that its probably not perfect. It may have imperfections, it maybe isn't the gift card you wanted. It may not be the latest fad item that everyone wants and it may not be from that popular store. That handmade gift doesn't have a price tag to compare to other gifts. It doesn't have a designer label or a famous person attached to its marketing campaign.

But before you toss it into the  back of your closet for dust bunnies to live in, consider something for me.

It often costs more for materials to make one item than to buy several. No price tag doesn't make it worthless. Even a quick and easy project will often take several hours to crochet, sew, or glue. That's time that could be spent with my kids or cleaning my bathroom, or reading that book I have been waiting months to read. I can't set worth to my gifts because they are worth more than fabric or yarn. They have my heart and affection attached to every single stitch. These gifts are made to be loved and you can keep them for years and create memories with them. In fact, it is my greatest hope that you do.

If you choose gift cards over my handmade gifts, that's fine. I will even go buy you the gift card and take my handmade creations back. Better than the alternative of having my hard work unappreciated and discarded.

I won't stop hand making gifts. I won't stop being proud that handmade is a big part of who I am. I am still going to blog abut these things that I make and continually bother my husband with questions about color choices. I am still going to worry about taking pictures of every single thing I make so that I can remember each project. I am am always going to hope that my gifts are loved and appreciated. I am always going to look for new gift ideas. I am going to crochet as many Christmas gifts as I can and I am proud of it. I am going to put my personal projects aside to make something specially for you.

So, like I said, if you aren't happy with my gift to you, that's fine. I will take note and not waste my time on you in the future when another birthday comes. Just know that you're the one missing out. Not me.

To those who have enjoyed my gifts and appreciate them, THANK YOU!!!


  1. The person that made that comment can take a flying leap through a hole in a rolling doughnut. I have received some beautiful store bought gifts, but I don't necessarily remember who it came from or what occasion it was for every time I pick it up or look at it. It would be lovely if every time I picked up my dish cloth that I thought about my awesome friend that made it for me. Keep doing what you are doing and don't let any materialist, jealous comments get to you.

    1. Rolling donut? :) Love that visual! Thanks!

  2. Aww. How sad. Before I even read this post when you said if you are on the gift giving list you will get a homemade gift...I was can I get on the list because I WANT ONE OF YOUR GREAT CREATIONS!!!!!!!!!

    You are awesome!

    1. I would love to make you something..that salad scarf, right?

  3. *ecstatic applause*
    My sentiments exactly!!!! AND this reminds me - I've been meaning to send you photos, etc, because that crinkle toy is one of Daisy's absolute FAVORITES an provides HOURS of entertainment (for her...and anyone watching. Hahaha!) Also the raddest scarf ever hangs in my closet where I can see it every day (I keep my closet door open so I can see all the pretty scarves on my door - yours is front&center!) and it's making me itchy for autumn. I plan outfits around that thing when I daydream. So, you are definitely appreciated in this little home!!!
    Handmade gifts are my favorite, and I love making/giving them myself!! I'm trying to do a completely handmade Christmas this year, but I have trouble thinking of things to make for the men in my family. Haha. I'll get better as time goes on, right?? :P I love you Jessi, keep being awesome!

    And PS, I've even composing a mental pen-pal reply...but Daisy has been a bit high maintenance lately and I haven't physically put pen to paper yet. But it's coming. Soon. Be excited :)

  4. hi, thought you might enjoy to hear this (came to your blog from reading about it on "Living Simply Free"..

    I do not have much in the way of skills in making things, (for gifts)..Sadly, even I have to admit, after something is "finished", that even I may not "want it"..such is life. There have been a few items I have made.

    However, regardless of my lack of skill, and as far as I could recal never having made a big deal one way or the other about handmade gifts, my son at a very very young age held ANYTHING handmade in the very highest value/esteem/honor.

    I still recal an incident when he was about eight, we were over somewhere and they had received a handmade gift, and rather callously and haphazard set it aside with little comment...
    Once we got back out to the car he brought up their disregard, and could not stop talking about how he could not understand their attitude. All the way home he kept say..."and it they made it themselves"...He was deeply offended on behalf of the "maker"..

    1. What a sweet and smart boy! You have a keeper there. :) Thank you for sharing that story with me.

      Also, thank you for letting me know I was mentioned on Living Simply Free. I had no idea and it was a treat to find out that I was featured!

  5. I'm also swinging by from Living Simply Free. (Anonymous has the sweetest kid ever!) I remember a family I knew that did two gift exchanges, one bought, one handmade. I can tell you, much more thought went into the handmade gift. I am the queen of unfinished projects, which is probably why no one gets handmade gifts from me. (I've had yarn discontinued in the process of crocheting a baby blanket, if that tells you anything. Oh, and the kid is 10 now.)

  6. Bravo, Jessi!! I'm not a regular commenter, but I ALWAYS look at your stuff in awe and wonder. I am not at all crafty, but I wish I was. I'd LOVE to do what you can do. You're amazing, my friend.


I love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

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