12.03.2008

just call me "dear abby"

we interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to publish a recent letter received from a devout reader, who we will call "martha" (to protect the innocent of course)
Dear Sara,
I totally need your help! Every year I love to give handmade gifts for christmas- almost as much as I love to receive handmade gifts. I give handmade because I feel like it's more meaningful and lasts longer. It's never anything super fancy, but I always try to put a lot of thought into it and give things I really think the recipients would like to receive. Well, I have some people on my gift-giving list who do not like to receive "a bunch of handmade crap" to clutter their house. I know it's hard to believe, but I have just decided I need to accept that not everyone shares my opinoins or styles or tastes. Anyway, what do I give the person who doesn't want handmade while still giving them a gift that is meaningful and thoughtful?? I don't want to skip over giving a gift to someone because they haven't liked what I've given in the past, but I am getting too nervous and the clock is ticking-if you know what I mean. I really feel like being able to give a gift to someone feels as wonderful as receiving a gift when you've put a lot of thought and effort into it and for me that means something I made. so what should I do? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Handcraftedly yours,
Martha

since i feel so badly for this poor girl, i am willing to give a stocking(handmade of course) with goodies inside to a randomly selected person who leaves advice/suggestions/etc. but hurry because she has to get working on her list, so you have until saturday december 6 to share with us!
p.s. pictures courtesy of the other martha. you know the one.

14 comments:

stacia said...

that is really sad. whoever can't appreciate something handmade must be really shallow. personally, i think giving a gift is just as wonderful as receiving one if not more so... to me, the gift doesn't really matter as much as the thought and you shouldn't worry about meeting the demands of those who are only worried about what they are receiving. that isn't what the season is about... so i say, go ahead and give your thoughtful handmade gifts... they are more meaningful and memorable than any token gift you can run out and buy anyway.

stacia said...

p.s. i want to win the stocking!!

Megan said...

I love homemade gifts, especially from Sara because hers are the best. I actually made all of my girls Christmas presents this year and I found it very rewarding. But I also think it is respectful to give something that they will use. You can still make useful things like gifts in a jar, homemade soaps or candles.

Meaningful gifts don't have to be handmade. For my husband one year, I matted and framed a picture of his deceased father. It almost brought him to tears. This year I went to ScapBlog.com and made a scrapbook of my children. For 10 dollars I had it made in to a book for my mother and grandmother.

There are a number of things you can do. It all depends on the type of person and how well you know them. I don't feel you should stress over these things. After all, it is Christmas and it is the thought that counts. Your a great person just for trying to put so much thought and meaning behind a gift.

Aubri said...

A big hit for me in recent years have been "photo" gifts. Last year both grandpa's got photo ties from Walgreens. They were really inexpensive and super amazing quality (they matched up the picture on the back side of the tie so you don't even notice the seam!) We also did a photo throw for Grandma Great who has everything. She loves to walk into her room and see my daughters big face smiling at her. Mini digital photo frames loaded with pics are also good. I've even done a picture mouse pad.

Sarah said...

For those who struggle with keeping their place clutter free, it can be difficult to figure out what to do with homemade gifts and then you feel bad ever getting rid of them.

I think anything usable or edible is a great idea rather than just a decoration or something. You could make or buy some treats (buying would be faster if you're crunched for time) and package it up beautifully, or maybe make a pretty box for it to go in to be reused if the person wants. My friends and I like to make candles when we can, which isn't fast and easy, but I love to give them as gifts because lots of people like to burn candles and don't have to keep them forever. I make sure it's a scent most people can tolerate like vanilla or cinnamon -nothing floral.

You know I love? Those bags with the picture holders on the outside. That would make a great gift. If I were talented in that way, I would probably make some. Or how about cute throw pillows for different holidays? Tablecloths? Homemade cloth napkins? Ornaments? My cousin made me the cutest burp rags and I love them!

Take it for what it's worth from someone who doesn't typically make stuff. :)

TheBastians said...

First of all, I agree with the first comment here! Actually, with ALL of the comments! Great job, everyone!

I have to say that the best Christmas gift that we ever gave was the Christmas when all of my husbands siblings and their spouses wrote a letter to my mother-in-law and father-in-law, telling them what they mean to us. We put them in a special box (you could hand make a really cute and fun box - and they'd want to save it because it's what their letter is in!). That year, the focus wasn't on the commerical things or the tangible gifts. It was on what really matters - feelings from the heart. That was three Christmases ago and they have both told us they still pull out their letters and read them often.

Laura said...

I'm one who hates clutter so i tend to get rid of things--handmade AND store-bought if it isn't useful. One year Stacia gave everyone handmade magnet boards with painted frames. She also included those tiny yet very strong magnets with it. I love those b/c they are barely noticeable but they hold a lot. I still love the board because it looks nice and i can hang it up anywhere and USE it.

Sarah said...

Ooh, Laura! I like that idea. Sounds cute and practical.

We did a gratitude box for my mother-in-law one year and he said nothing ever made her feel so good before.

Laura said...

Oh and this year my sisters and I are recording a CD of a bunch of songs that we used to sing growing up. It takes up hardly any room and I know they'll love it.

Susie said...

I don't think it matters if it is handmade or store bought. If you like giving handmade then give handmade. I try to find something that the person likes or does and give them something to go along with that. If all else fails I give a gift that I would like and use and hope for the best:)

Susie said...

PS...my idea for store bought is board games/card games, just games- because most people like playing games. Or socks.

Michele said...

Homemade gifts are the best BUT since you said you know the people on your list don't like them or appreciate them--why not give a gift card to their favorite store or website. That way you are being the most thoughtful because in the first place you took the time to find out her favorite store and you know she will actually use the gift. Also, to me WHAT the gift is, is usually less relevant as to HOW it is wrapped. If I can tell a person has taken a lot of thought in wrapping the gift in pretty ribbons, paper, maybe with a cute ornament tied on top--then I'll love anything inside all the more.

DrummerGirl said...

Journals are my favorite holiday gifts are journals. With a new year approaching, it's nice to have a fresh new journal to record the year! With this gift, you can go store bought or home-made. The last I checked, there were about a million journals for sale on etsy.com. =)

Barney and Shelby said...

What great ideas! I love books as gifts. Find one to fit the person's likes and personality. If they aren't a reader there are some great picture books. And you can find a book to fit any budget. Can you tell I come from a family of readers:)