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2008.11.19

Comments

Polly

I like receiving them, but I am wary of giving them. Like you, I am not that skillful and am too much of a perfectionist to be comfortable giving sloppy-looking gifts.

But I have to say, when I have made stuff for people (even little things, like writing someone a very silly poem), people LOVE it, so I should probably worry less. I've also been surprised at my own reaction to home-made gifts, especially the disappointment when someone who usually makes something decides not to one year (even though on a rational level I totally understand not wanting to spend the time). I don't know--there's something really cool about knowing this was made for you.

I also love it when my friend's kids make their auntie something--I don't care what it is or how it looks!

Cori

I love knitting for other people, but I only give my handknits to people I know will appreciate them.

But I put a lot of effort into making things that fit the recipients tastes - I know how awkward it is to receive, like, a crocheted toilet paper cover. Though maybe it's worse for me - I know how much effort went into making it, but it's obvious no thought of me went into it, and I still hate it!

Alexandra

I love the idea of homemade gifts, honestly. And the ones that have been given to me by legitimately crafty friends are some of the best gifts I've ever received. I got a hand-knit pair of mittens last year that I adore; the year before that someone framed a super-cute drawing they'd made and gave it to me, and I love it. etc.

I guess that the gift needs to reflect something of the two people -- the giver and the receiver. I like having warm hands, and my friend is a great knitter, so the mittens are perfect. And so forth. When the gift ignores the giver -- like when it's something that isn't particularly dependent on the giver's skill or personality or whatever -- it can still be nice. Like if I were particularly enamored of hot chocolate, then it might seem cute and thoughtful for a friend to give me cocoa mix in a mug, or something. It's not like I am demanding a gift be a physical representation of time or money. But it is nice if it represents thought.

Too often, with homemade gifts, it seems to be about what you can get away with rather than what you have to give/what your friend would actually want to receive.

I don't have crafty skills to give. I have other strengths, other aspects of myself to give that my friends would much rather receive, so I shy away from the crafts.

verucaamish

On the receiving side I'm fine with homemade gifts. it shows that they took the time to think of me and even if the actual gift is not to my taste, the time they took to do it is appreciated. I think this also is connected to the homemade gift I make. I'm a quilter and when I give a quilt, I see it as giving the fit of my services as a quilter. That means the receiver and I will pick a design together (something in my skill level) and I have the receiver buy the fabric. That way, I know that the quilt is something they like.

On a different tangent, holiday cards are my other toe warmers. I love thoughtful cards where someone really thought about me. Or postcards from a vacation where someone notice something I would find interesting. But a holiday card that just says "Happy Holidays" and their signature? Why? If I'm friends with you, I know you care. If I haven't heard form you for a while, it just means you don't have time to really catch up.

Jennifer

I'm a crafter, so I'd y'know, LIKE SOME. I was pleased to get a knitted scarf one year! And to be fair, one aunt and uncle have periodically picked me up a gift at a craft fair, so that pleases me.

Rebecca

It's easy to say early in September that you're going to make all your Christmas gifts this year, and it's another to get to mid-November and realize you only have one done and the rest are in various stages of completion (or not started at all). Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...

What I've done in the past is pick one person in my family to knit something for; since both my sisters knit, if it's for them it would have to be something they might not make for themselves but would still wear, like fancy socks or funky mittens.

As for receiving, most of my friends and co-workers are terrifically crafty people, and I really like getting things from them that they have made.

Lauren

I'm not knitting a single gift this year. I didn't want to get caught up in deadline crafting at the expense of my enjoyment or to make quick-and-easy gifts just to have something done.

I love it when I give a knitted gift and it's well received, and it take it badly when I don't think one is properly appreciated. It's a balance -- I've learned a bit about which of my family members are knit-worthy (this holiday season excepted).

Kyle

Giving handmade gifts can be a bit of a roller-coaster. Last year I gave several family members hand-made (mostly knitted) gifts, and they were really well-received, much more so than I expected! That was awesome. But when I give a gift and it's not particularly loved, it sucks. And it is really hard to guess who's going to appreciate and who's going to be all "meh" about your gift - I thought my mother would be underwhelmed by the scarf I made her last year, but she was delighted, or seemed delighted at least (it was a really excellent scarf, if I do say so).

So, basically, I think giving home-made gifts is a risky proposition; the rewards are potentially great, but so are the costs.

Rachel

I'm always happy to get homemade gifts. I'm personally of the opinion that if there's something specific I really want I should just buy it for my own damn self - I'd rather get something that made someone think of me, or something someone made with me in mind. Of course, I also don't have relatives that I exchange gifts with, so I'm talking about friends, which is easier.

I'm not a crafty person at all, so I don't usually even try, but a couple of times I've given homemade granola to friends that I don't exchange major gifts with, and one year I made (potential toecover alert!) chai tea mix - ground up all the spices and included loose tea and directions for optimum brewing. I actually shockingly got requests for that another year.

Julie

I usually like handmade gifts, and if it's something that shows off a unique talent of the giver? All the better.

As far as giving, I don't generally give handmade, just because I don't have a unique skill that lends itself to gift-giving (although I have made my famous peach salsa as a gift moer than once). But I have a very artsy-craftsy 5-year-old who loooooves making gifts, so I've come up with some good ideas for her. She's made some really pretty bracelets for her grandmothers, funky colorful picture frames for her grandfathers, and a few nifty things for other relatives. Those are always a hit.

Becky

Rachel, my husband made chai tea mix for me one year, and I loved it! (He also got me a tea ball and a good tea kettle, neither of which I had at the time.) I'm sure it would have been a toecover to lots of other people, but I love chai tea, and my husband knew I would appreciate it.

In general, I like receiving hand-crafted gifts, because my experience is that they're pretty thoughtful. I would never give a hand-crafted gift, though, because I am completely incompetent at all crafty endeavors. My husband is an excellent baker, but as has come up in other threads, we generally don't have the time to bake for everyone.

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