Giving handmade gifts is a way of saying, "Here I am. A piece of me for you." I think some people still think handmade is a cheap way out of buying a gift but I disagree. My mom has made quilts for my boys and gave them as gifts. They LOVE their quilts and are very put out when we have to take them away to clean them from time to time. This year I am going to blend some handmade items into my boys' gifts. Typically we just buy all of their gifts but I want to incorporate more handmade for them too. They watch me make things with love and have put in requests here and there for things they might want. One year they all wanted crocheted winter hats. I took them to the store to pick out thick yarn in the colors they wanted. They loved being part of the process and watching it come to completion.
I have learned over the years the people who really appreciate handmade and the people who don't appreciate it as much. I know there are some who will throw the handmade gifts in the back of the closet because it's not as exciting as something purchased in a store. That's ok too. We're conditioned to want those things. There is a growing movement towards more handmade, well made, artisan gifts though and I love being a part of it.
For me, handmade gifts means there is a tangible part of me that will be around for a long time. I love to think about my boys passing down things I made for them to their own children and grandchildren one day. The idea of them wrapping themselves up in a blanket I made or hanging one of my photographs on their wall to look at long after I'm gone gives me comfort.
I am very thankful for my abilities to create things that I love. During hard times, it helps me find my way back to my true self. It helps me wind down after a long day. When I feel like the corporate world stifles me, it helps me strike a balance so that I can be happy and successful at work and still know that I have an outlet for my creative side waiting after hours. It gives me more patience to be a better wife and mother. It makes me feel like me.
I think most artists and crafters feel this way. This year, if you are given a handmade gift, just know you hold a little piece of an artist's heart. Even if the person giving the gift didn't create it, they sought it out just for you. They wanted to give you something that was part artist and part you.
I hope you have the opportunity to slow down during this time of year and just enjoy. Just be. I know I am.