Do Handmade Gifts "Count?"
I have struggled with this question for at least a dozen years. As a life-long "crafter," I have enjoyed finding new projects to make... painting t-shirts, making jewelry, crocheting blankets, sewing aprons, painting canvas, dipping pinecones in wax, and on, and on, and on. Many years, I find a "project," and try to make one for each of our kids, or grandkids, or parents as a Christmas gift. Each year, when I finish the project and it's now the week of Christmas, I have the same thought... "that gift I made doesn't really count." So I rush out to the store, or get on the internet, and buy more present(s) to make up for my handmade gift that "doesn't count."
I have been the recipient of MANY handmade gifts, and never once did I think, "I wish you would have gone to that big box store and bought me a "real" gift." In fact, last year (2020), for our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband crafted a handmade gift so special we were both in tears as I opened it. It was a handmade wooden box with 3 rings he turned on the lathe. So why do I discount my own handmade gifts?
I have a dear friend I met through art. She has always encourage me in life, and in my art - whether with a compliment, attending one of my classes, or with just a hug. She paints and does many other crafts. One of those crafts is candle-making. She has gifted me several of her beautiful scented candles, and I love each and every one of them. Two of them stay in my art studio to be lit every time I go there to create. This friend, with her handmade gift, encourages me every time I go to the studio by providing a light to my artistic path with her handmade candles. And she isn't even there - it is a reminder each time I see her handmade gift that I mattered enough to her to take the time to make something just for me.
So maybe every time one of my kids/grandkids/friends looks at a painting I created, wears an apron I sewed, puts on a t-shirt I crafted, or snuggles up under a blanket I crocheted, they are feeling a hug from their momma/Rah-Rah/friend, and the love that I put into their handmade gift.
I took a huge step in my gift giving ideology this past December. After watching the joy in others as they made birthday journals for their friends as gifts, and after enjoying the beauty of the handmade gifts I have received this year, I created a birthday junk journal for my daughter that was about to turn 30. It was her only present. It counted... it was enough. Watch a video walkthrough of that birthday junk journal on our YouTube channel.
If your are a crafter/artist of any kind (at any level) - please don't wait years to understand that YOUR HANDMADE GIFTS DO COUNT! Keep making - and keep giving.