The holidays are coming, and that means an uptick of ridiculous commercials put out by companies who want nothing but our money. Nothing like the holidays to remind us of all the things we don't have and absolutely, most definitely need, right?!
If you're in the US and have been listening to the radio recently, you may have heard a T-Mobile commercial advertising one of their spiffy new cell phones. I wasn't quite paying attention the first time I heard it -- at least until I heard the words "so put down those knitting needles" and something about "a crash course in crochet from your gamgam Gertrude."
The basic premise of the commercial is this: why would anyone ever want a handmade gift if they can instead have a fancy new gadget?!
My days of wanting (and expecting) big gifts are long gone, but am I really that much in the minority regarding the holidays and gift-giving and appreciating anything that anyone gives me for Christmas? Sure, there are things I'd like to get my hands on, but I also know that making handmade items and giving them away is a very special act.
There's no such thing as the "right" gift or the "wrong" gift; anything that's given out of love should be appreciated fully. But why do so many people seem intent on sharing the message that handmade gifts aren't good enough? There's a little bit of me that goes into every single thing I make, and that's more than I can say for a lot of things.
Handmade takes time, and items are made by hand because the maker wants to do it. You're likely not going to see a knitter making something for someone who they know won't appreciate it, and that lack of appreciation is an idea that boggles my mind. If someone takes days or hours to make something that's just for you, how can you not appreciate that?! Even if you don't love it or it's not your style, it was made with you in mind the entire time. And I think that is so incredible.
I read somewhere one time that gifts are things others give you that you wouldn't have gotten yourself. And while that's not generally true for everyone and everything, handmade gifts do complement that idea quite nicely. Even though every gift should be appreciated, no matter what it is, that idea is why, for me, handmade items have a specialness to them. They will always be unique, even if the maker follows a pattern or a template or a list of detailed instructions. Even if you "could have made it yourself" (and that's something I say to myself all the time when I see other knitted items), it would never be exactly the same if you had. And that's why handmade is awesome.
I'm generally of the mind that if more people took the time to make things for themselves or for others for any occasion, more people would appreciate the value of things. That's most definitely an ideal world that will likely never exist, but one can dream!
I've been careful not to say anywhere in this post anything to put down those who purchase their holiday gifts, because that's not what this post is at all about. Not everyone can make something as a gift, and even fewer people have any desire to, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. But to put down those gifts that are handmade is silly and trivial.
But that's just my two cents*, and I'd be curious to hear what other people think. Leave a comment with your thoughts!
*I'm guessing people got a whole lot more for two cents in the olden days, because I just rambled for 9 paragraphs and that HAS to be worth at least a quarter!