So, I have this cousin, whom I love dearly and for whom the holidays are always a hard time, why? Because her in laws never seem to take into consideration the needs of her family during the season, they always arrange for the other son’s family. Even after addressing the issue with them, nothing much changed, and every year to add salt to the wounds she is gifted something that is completely not her style, to her taste or even something in which she expressed dislike. I am completely dumbfounded by this family’s complete lack of comprehension on the art of interacting and gift giving.
Of course that same family also does not appreciate handmade gifts of any kind, and rebuked her early in her marriage after she made them all quilts…BY HAND mind you (she refuses to machine quilt and her work is phenomenal!)…Did I mention that her husband is kinda of the odd duck in his family? He loves hand crafted items, and is one of the most considerate people on the planet? Yeah, they don’t get him either. It’s not personal against my cousin, it’s just how these people are, but it still hurts.
So, this is why I write about gifting every year, for both gifters and giftees there is an art. So first things first…Not everyone appreciates handwork, I haven’t met very many people who don’t like mine personally, but I know these people exist. For them? Don’t waste your time, energy or precious yarn, buy them a gift card. There is no point in making people things if they don’t appreciate the fact you made it for them, that being said there is an art to making gifts people will like and possible use, if not treasure!
So, to be a devil’s advocate I have recieved many handcrafted gifts in my life time, some are treasures and some I keep as mementos because of who made it, and some were just down right, “WHA????” I love to give gifts, I love picking out things whether I buy them or make them, that suit the individual that is being gifted.
Here are some of my gift giving tips:
- Pay attention to the person’s house, style of dress, life style. How busy are they? Do they like to handwash items? Do they have cats & dogs in the house? Do they have young children? What are the colors in the kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, bedroom? Do they wear accessories like hats and scarves? Do they ski or snowboard? Do they like the out of doors or are they couch potatoes? What are their hobbies?
- Ask them what their favorite colors are! My cousin hates the color orange, she has told her Mother in Law she hates the color orange, and yet what does she get from her? Orange. Seriously. And no her Mother in Law doesn’t hate her, really I have met the woman she’s just not aware. I try to make sure I don’t automatically use pink for girls, and blue for boys, I find out what the kids like! I ask parents of babies what they want before I make something. Don’t assume you know.
- Before making a large project, ask if the recipient wants one. Before making that huge king sized afghan you might want to ask the recipient if they want an afghan. It’s a lot of work, time, and yarn to spend on something someone doesn’t want. You don’t have to tell them what style, and it’s the perfect time to ask what colors
- If you have a lot of gifts to make think small. Ornaments, toys etc are great gifts.
- Offer coupons for your handwork where the person has a menu of options and you can work on it at another time besides the holidays You could make a little card that gave options for hat/scarf set, hooded scarf or cowl, fingerless gloves, blanket and then list colors and yarn choices for people to circle. That way you know exactly what will please them!
Like I said there is an art to gifting, and in an ideal world most people would just be tickled to know that you put effort into thinking of them; but sadly there are the inconsiderate schmucks out there. And really, you can’t please everyone…but paying attention and checking in can help not have hurt holiday feelings.
Now for some really cute gifting ideas for the kiddos in your life….
FRUIT! Kids love toy fruits and veggies! These are great ideas for the little ones in your life! Click on the picture and it takes you to the awesome tv show Knit and Crochet Now! You can find this and many other cool gift ideas there! These cute strawberries designed by Rose Langlitz from the book Tasty Crochet A Pantry Full of Patterns for 33 tasty treats!http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/tasty-crochet-a-pantry-full-of-patterns-for-33-tasty-treats
Monkeys…who doesn’t love ‘em? And SOCK MONKEYS too cute! Click on the picture and it will take you to the Red Heart Website that has tons of fun patterns for quick and easy gifts! This monkey and hat was designed by Linda Cyr.
Doll Clothes…for those large twin and “American Girl” dolls…I know they make my cousin’s daughter delighted! This cute little peacoat design by Deborah Cooper can be yours for only $2.75 on Ravelry.com…That’s a great price! Click on the picture to get to the pattern!
What? You’re not on Ravelry.com yet? WHAT??? Ok can I tell you that the pattern search alone is worth it! Let alone communities where you can get questions answered, find out about books and other websites, and look and drool at yarns! Organize your projects! Join TODAY and find the CLF under Groups!! http://www.ravelry.com
Stay tuned for more gifting ideas…