Wednesday, December 1, 2010


And a little more about Christmas....gifting in particular.

In my family, a homemade gift is totally acceptable.  Last year, I made those cool refrigerator magnets out of engagement photos, the moms got homemade beaded bookmarks for Mother’s Day, and the dads got framed photo collages from the wedding for Father’s day.  The year before that, we gave everyone got homemade cookies and candies for Christmas.  The husband and I even gave out homemade gifts to our wedding party.  I made non-identical jewelry for all the gals.  He hand-painted gaming miniatures for all his guys.  

If you can’t tell, I like creating things to give to people.  I like investing more time than money.  I find it more rewarding.  Though, I do often wonder if people feel a bit shafted by a homemade gift instead of a bought gift of gift card.  I worry that they’ll feel it’s a cheap way out.  I don’t feel that way, obviously or I wouldn’t do it; but I wonder if I’m in the minority on this one.  

I definitely felt like I’d gone amiss two years ago.  I made my little homemade candies and cookies.  My family just got a little gift sack full of treats for each family.  It was some of their old favorites and a few new things I wanted to try.  I went a little farther with the hubby’s family.  It was my first Christmas with them, as he and I had only been together for 10 months.  So, I thought I’d erred on the side of caution in dressing their goodies up a bit more than I did for my family.  I got a lovely basket from the craft store, filled the bottom with basket shreds, nestled my little goodies and a nice bottle of Italian wine down inside, and wrapped the whole thing in holiday cello, tied with ribbons.  Surely gift baskets are always appropriate, right? It was quite a bit fancier than my family’s 99 cent store holiday bags, but they’re used to my home-spun ways.   I felt good about my gussied up version.

That is....until I gave it to them.  Home-spun really isn’t en vogue in all families.  Nor are gift en masse.  So, homemade treats in a basket for all members of the family to share was a definite faux pas.   I  realized my error when I found my boyfriend scribbling out a Christmas card specifically one member of his family on Christmas day in order for that person not to feel left out.  I immediately felt wretched.  I’d convinced my boyfriend that gift cards weren’t the way to go.  He reluctantly let me do as I pleased, especially since we’d just moved about a month earlier and funds were tight.  I wanted to hide under the table.  It never occurred to me that making a gift or having a shared gift was taboo until that moment.  

The moral?  Different strategies for different families.  I just wish I’d listened to him that first year and saved myself a heap of embarrassment.  I persisted in making gifts the next year for his family: the magnets.  I hoped that since it was photos of us, they’d be better received.  They were, but there was still a bit of puzzlement.  So, I give!  This year, only one of them is getting something “homemade” and really, it won’t look like it is since I feel my skill level has improved greatly.  My family on the other hand, yeah, 100% made by me.  

So.....which do you and yours dig: home-spun or store-bought? 

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