crafty Christmas cadeaux

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Here is a question of Christmas and crafts from Elizabeth:

I am in college and very poor. So instead of giving presents I bought at a shop for Christmas, I give homemade presents. Answer me this: how do I know if my friends and family enjoy the gifts or if they are just being polite?

Even with presents you have bought at a shop, you cannot truly know. Of course, when you’ve invested your time, skill and artistry into the present, those doubts can be even harder to vanquish. A clue is whether the recipients are still keeping the items prominently displayed around the house by Easter.

Readers, what do you think? If someone gives you a home-made object, do you treasure it for the uniqueness and effort, or do you curse it and its creator for not buying you a ‘proper’ present? Please inform Elizabeth in the comments.

I am biased because I don’t particularly enjoy receiving gifts any more, while I do make a lot of stupid ones for my nearest and dearest. For instance, last Christmas I gave my brother a home-made red felt lobster that was three feet long. I’m not certain that he liked it, but at least I could be sure he didn’t already have one.

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7 Responses to “crafty Christmas cadeaux”

  1. Alex Says:

    Home made gifts are nicer than store bought, and edible gifts are nicer still. For me, though, the best is when someone donates to one of my favorite charities in my name. I’m at an age where I’ve accumulated enough ‘stuff’ that I really don’t need anything, and my house is very small, so I’ve no room for any more objects to display.

  2. Sam Says:

    I don’t think that home-made stuff is a bad plan per se, but just like shop-bought ones, quality is an important issue. No one wants the sort of dross that can be bought by the wheelbarrow load from poundland (other pound-based shops are available), it’s not hard to see that something small and nice from John Lewis is a much better bet. There is an obvious analogy with home-made stuff.
    However, there is also an added dimension with home-made stuff in that you have the opportunity to mould or tailor the gift to the recipient a bit. For example, last Christmas my mother knitted me a green and blue scarf in which the numbers of coloured rows conform to the Fibonacci sequence. She also did two halves as mirror-images of one another and within themselves. I liked this because I like the colours and I have found use for a scarf even though I didn’t think I would (I have ill-advised nearly-shoulder-length hair that keeps my ears warm these days) but mainly because I am a bit of a geek. However, a product like that probably isn’t marketable and anyway my mum can’t knit fast enough. But,she has been knitting for years and can actually do it. If she’d tried to make me some jewellery or other with would have been rubbish and annoying.
    I once wrote someone a piece of music for their birthday, for the instrument they played at the time. The music wasn’t going to be amazing, but the thought and the uniqueness of the gift were more meaningful.
    So I think the important aspects here are, home-made stuff is fine if it is either good quality, fun, useful or individual. Better still, if it is several or all of these 🙂

  3. bookgal Says:

    I do love making things for family and friends and have stopped as I found that rarely is it understood how damn long it takes to knit things! I love homemade gifts, but not of the display variety as I have so few level surfaces left. Edible gifts (particularly jams) are always welcomed!

    The best homemade present I’ve received to date is a small tobacco tin filled with sticker apostrophes that my partner designed and had printed. Now, when there is a sign that isn’t quite right, I can correct it without delay!

  4. James C. Says:

    Yeah, making someone display an object that might not be their particular taste isn’t the best. I was going to suggest foodstuffs as well. I’ve found over time that nice food and drink is the most universally appreciated gift, and it’s pretty cheap, too.

  5. birgitte Says:

    Maybe consider making homemade gifts which are meant to have a shorter lifespan? When I was a student, I gave homemade bread and cakes as presents. The advantage of this is that you show the recipient that he/she means enough for you to spend time creating something especially for them, and he/she is not expected to keep it on display all year round.

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