Thursday, May 5, 2011

Giving a handmade gift

Am I the only one who hesitates at the thought of giving a handmade gift? I think probably not.

With Mother's Day coming, I've been thinking all week about what gifts to give. Of course, for me, part of this question is whether or not to sew something for either my mother or my mother-in-law. Part of me would like to. The other part of me worries.

What if it isn't as well made as I'd like? What if the fabric I choose is not her taste? What if the thing I decide to make is not something that's really needed?

I have given handmade gifts in the past, and sometimes I get the feeling the recipient is a little less than enthusiastic. Once I gave a handmade gift at a baby shower, along with some store bought items. It was one of the first handmade gifts I ever gave. When the thank you came, it listed item by item what I'd given, thanking me for each thing. Except the item I personally made. I don't know if it was an oversight, a moment of forgetfulness or a true omission. I tried not to take it personally, to give the benefit of the doubt. But I wonder! Wouldn't you?

I know what you're thinking. It's the thought that counts, right? But if that is the case, then it seems prudent to truly think things through and conclude whether your giftee would really like the crafty item you're longing to make or whether they'd be maybe even more excited to get something they truly want (like a massage or an item they've picked out of a Crate and Barrel catalog. For example.)

I personally love handmade gifts. Receiving them is always a joy. Even when the item I receive is not quite right. It's OK -- it's handmade and was made just for me. To me, that makes the item well loved. Much more so than most store-bought gifts. Even if it turns out I don't really use it.

I don't know, though, that others feel the same. And if you have a hunch that someone might not, it is probably wise to just gift them the thing you're more confident they will actually use and like. Right? Something that comes in other colors and sizes and with a gift receipt?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please, tell me in the comments: who do you give handmade (by you) gifts to? Did you hone your craft for some time before you felt your products were worthy of gifting?


  1. Ah - this year has pretty much involved all home made gifts, or home-made combined with dollar store finds. I do hesitate but have had many receivers marvel at the time and skill (or lack of as my sister would argue) involved. I am especially hesitant this weekend with my mothers day present. Oh well - time will tell, and I do believe it is the thought, and a lot more thought and time goes into a home/hand made gift then a purchase made in a store.

  2. I rarely receive handmade gifts, but I would rather have something handmade than store bought. The handmade gifts shows more thoughtfulness!

  3. I only give handmade if the person I'm giving it to appreciates the work that went into it. Once I crocheted a gift for my roommate and a few months later I saw it in our garbage can, ready for the landfill. It's heartbreaking! I really only give handmade to people like my mom. I know she won't throw it away ;)

  4. I agree. I make handmade gifts for family mostly because with them, I can't make anything they don't like. Actually, my parents nag me to death to make them things. But with some friends, I know they'd prefer clothes from a store instead of something I worked on, no matter how long it took. I think some people want it to be store quality - but they don't take into account the amount of time and effort you put into something, which really makes it special. I personally love handmade gifts - maybe because I understand what went into making them :)

  5. For me it totally depends on what it is and who it is for. I went through my list of gifts to give for Christmas and had thought about doing a handmade Christmas. But, when i looked closer I could see that, especially the men, wouldn't be as interested in most of the things I'm capable of making. I don't want to waste my time making something that isn't appreciated since making things typically takes way longer than researching and purchasing the perfect store-bought gift. And a lot of the time it IS actually more expensive (at least here where I live). So I save those items for the truly special people. As for receiving hand-made stuff myself, I'm kind of in the same boat. It depends on what it is and who its from. If they understand my taste and make me something that is really ME, I'm all for it, but if they just made something for the sake of making something without thinking through if it's something I would use or want (I'm a minimalist) then I'd rather them not waste their time (which is really my thought).