Friday, December 21, 2012

The Gift Of Giving

A few years back, I heard a woman in a yarn shop say, "I'm not spending $50 on yarn to knit my grandchild something that will just go in a drawer." That still makes me sad. Because I have dearly beloved handmade gifts in a drawer, where they make me smile every time I see them, and others in the cedar chest as befits family heirlooms. And I bet you do, too.

This is the last pair of crocheted slippers I got from my grandma. I can't tell you how many pairs I wore out. But these I stopped wearing before they wore out so I could save them. I don't remember why I knew they would probably be the last pair, but I did. Picture me smiling every time I see them.

This may be the first pair of crocheted slippers I got from my grandma. I don't remember ever wearing them (obviously). But my mother saved them, and a few years ago they moved from her cedar closet to my cedar chest (which, no surprise, was hers before it was mine).

This came with them. And yes, it's stained. The ribbon is broken and frayed. And it still makes me smile.

Whether you're giving or receiving, a hand-made present gives to both the recipient and the giver. Otherwise, no one would ever make a quilt for anyone but a quilter, or knit a sweater for anyone but a knitter -- someone who can appreciate how much time and effort goes into making a gift.

Right now I'm tucked in under a Christmas quilt that was a gift made by my sister-in-law. She's getting this year's big gift in a small package. It's far from perfect. And it's not quite as large as it might have been, but I think it will stretch out large enough to keep the heron out of her koi pond without distracting from her beautiful flowers.

It was too snowy and windy yesterday to try spreading it out outside. I tried to stretch it out in the basement, but couldn't get it spread out fully without walking on it. I guess we'll find out in the spring if it's large enough, because I think her koi pond got covered with 20 inches of snow yesterday.

Bill and I are self-employed, so we spend time making things when other people might spend that time at a job earning money so they can spend time shopping for gifts. But what we get from making gifts is priceless.

With this one, I get to be an unseen presence in my sister-in-law's garden while she's weeding with her granddaughter -- something I live too far away to do in person. I got to have a conversation with my husband about nets, snares, and fishing (which is practically a religion in his family). I got to improve my skills at problem-solving when netting with a challenging material (bonded nylon instead of my usual linen or hemp). And I had time to reflect on all the treasures my sister-in-law has given me over the years, the greatest of which is her friendship and love.

I hope this season of giving has given you great  joy in the making, and that what you've made puts smiles on the faces of those you love for many years to come. Happy Holidays!

P.S. If you're not on my email list and would like to be, you can sign up here. I included a free printable "made by" tags file in the last one I sent out, which you can find here.


  1. Beautifully said. I have saved some of those handmade gifts, too, that were perhaps not worn a lot, but were made with love and hence have the most value. A gentle, joyous 2013 to you!

  2. I wish grown-ups had more opportunities to do show-and-tell with those treasures, Pat. I love to hear the stories of other people's heirlooms!

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Thanks for sharing, Donna!

  4. Thank you Donna! I have 2 Raggedy Ann dolls that my grandmother made for my kids tucked away - she is long gone and the kids are all grown up but every once in awhile I get them out and doing so brings lots of smiles, tears and joy.

  5. I bet your grandmother loved making those dolls, Kathy!


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