My love/hate relationship with handmade gifts - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 46 Old 10-13-2007, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll confess... sometimes I don't like receiving homemade gifts. :

I fully appreciate the idea that somebody has put thought and time into a gift for me, so please don't slam me on that. But I have really different taste than the rest of my family, I think. For example, I don't care for things that are "country" or "crafty" looking. So when somebody gives me yet another something crosstitched with yarn onto plastic canvas, I secretly feel kind of bummed, even though I'm grateful for the thought. I know I won't display it in my home. It will basically sit around until I freecycle it or otherwise find a way to pass it on.

That said, I *love* to give handmade gifts. LOVE IT. I've given handmade soaps, jams, throws, potted plants, etc.

Of course, *my* gifts are tasteful and appreciated, right?

Seriously, I worry about this. I really enjoy putting time and effort into giving nice handmade gifts. But maybe everybody else internally groans when they get a gift from ME -- oh, great, what am I gonna do with THIS?

So. What handmade gifts do you LOVE to receive? What do you DREAD? Be honest!
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#2 of 46 Old 10-13-2007, 11:21 PM
 
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I love to get handmade gifts that are consumed and then out of my house. Examples: jam, bread, cookies, canned goods, etc.

My extended family does a homemade Christmas gift exchange and while it is thoughtful and fun (to see what people come up with), I end up with so much stuff that I will never use and a lot of items I plainly do not like.

I don't like country theme things either and don't decorate with them at all. I get a lot of these items for Christmas. Gifts made of barbed wire (old metal fencing material) just doesn't work in my house. I feel so guilty not using the stuff, but I don't like some of it.

I understand where you are coming from especially if you are trying to declutter your life. It is hard, but my family doesn't feel the same way I do, I guess!!

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#3 of 46 Old 10-13-2007, 11:56 PM
 
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I love to get handmade gifts that are consumed and then out of my house. Examples: jam, bread, cookies, canned goods, etc.
This is how I feel too.

I am really tired of blankets to be honest. Every year we get fleece tied blankets. I see the appeal, they are super easy to make, and if you get fleece on a good deal. But we are overrun, and the colors people pick out for us are not what I would choose for myself. Don't get me wrong, I'd love a hand pieced quilt...
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#4 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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So. What handmade gifts do you LOVE to receive? What do you DREAD? Be honest!
I love to receive food as a gift.
I dread all other handmade gifts. :

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#5 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 02:09 AM
 
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I love getting Blankets, well my KIDS love blankets...
I love getting kitchen cloth... towels with the knitted 'hook and button' to put on the stove handle.
One year we got an adorable set of 4 handmade placemats... back before all the kids...
but honestly we LOVE blankets... they get washed alot so hand-tied fleece is great ...
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#6 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 03:42 AM
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I like getting handmade gifts. I don't find that the handmade ones are any more not-my-taste than the purchased ones -- I get plenty of purchased ones I'll never use too! The most obvious example was a photo album we were given for our wedding -- one of those things where the album is covered in fabric, in this case very puffy shiny white satiny fabric with lots of white lace and shiny white ribbons and tons of PUFF! It absolutely never got used -- but the sweet great-aunt of my husband's who made it also lives across the country and will never know that we re-gifted it.

A few of my husband's coworker ladies are either religious or all about the country craft, so we have been able to regift a few cross-stitch samplers and items with a Bible theme that we've been given.

As long as I won't have to display a not-my-taste handmade gift in my home, I don't worry about getting them. But honestly most of them we like -- maybe we're just really vocal about our tastes?
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#7 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 04:03 AM
 
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I really love anything that is handmade, even if it isn't my style. I've had a period in my life where I pretty much gave everything I owned away to live overseas. Guess what I kept? A handmade cedar chest my grandfather made, handmade toys from my childhood made by my grandmother, cheesy decorated hats my mother made, quilts sewn by my MIL, totally not my style cross-stitch things made by my grandmother.... They were the only things that really meant anything to me. However, for the most part I think I get very nice things, never poofy wedding albums!

I like the consumable aspect of some handmade gifts like breads, jams, cookies.... However, when I get them over the holidays I honestly just look at it as more of all the other holidays sweet stuff people give me. It sits there, I don't eat it for a long time and finally I buckle down and eat because it has sat for so long. It isn't that it doesn't taste good, but there is just so much candy, cookies, jams, breads available around the holidays.

But then I don't feel like I am over-run by handmade stuff. I could also see how my feelings would change if I was getting tons of the stuff every year.

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#8 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 04:08 AM
 
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I love consumables and useful things. I have a grandma and a great aunt (in law) who both crochet and knit blankets. My children love those blankets, and use them more than any others. I knit socks and my sister asks for them every Christmas. My husband has also started asking for socks for Christmas and his birthday.

I don't get much that's handmade, so I guess I really like it. I'm one of 5 kids, and I basically get store bought things. If my mom would make something for me, even if it was not my taste at all, I'd keep it because it was from her.
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#9 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 04:14 AM
 
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I think most handmade things look a little tacky: (looking around at homemade decoupage plate and candle, applique picture, etc.) unless it is super professional and unique. Otherwise it just makes me feel obligated to display it. Or, of course, unless my kids made it. I don't get that many gifts though (my family gives only to children), so it isn't a big deal. I don't like homemade food gifts especially, unless it is a basket of healthy/gourmet packaged items from the health food store, things that I would buy anyway but which are treats.

We have a homemade ceramic sugar bowl, but we asked a friend to make that for us, so that's OK.

I do like gifts for kids that are homemade. We have a bench (from a store) that a friend painted and personalized, as well as a canvas bag with a name embroidered on it. Bags are good, because they don't have to be "displayed". I am not talented enough for homemade gifts personally, other than glitter playdough, which I give to my friends' toddlers (and if they don't like it, they can toss it and I wouldn't know).
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#10 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 09:52 AM
 
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Every holiday, I let my mom know that I would like a box of her homemade soap better than most anything. She's also made quilts for my boys that I love. I quilt, too, though, so honestly we're about maxed out on quilts around here. I mostly make ones now to give as gifts.

I'd like jam or something of that nature that doesn't have to be eaten right away. I'm so sick of sweets at the holidays, that not many of them would get eaten. Unless, of course, my dad were to send me a box of his homemade caramel. I'd have to make an exception for that.

I don't really like receiving decorative gifts whether handmade or storebought because they usually aren't my taste. No one really buys them for me, though, probably because I have specific taste.

I have given my mil a few quilts that I have made, and I know she likes them because she asks for more and displays the ones that she has even though I don't live by her.
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#11 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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Thrift stores are full of hand=made or personalized gifts which makes me wary of all that aren't meant to be consumed. Obviously, someone thought their loved one/boss/kid's teacher/friend would love _________ & were wrong. I'm not that good at sewing or anything so it's obviously just as well I stick to the snack mix that is a big hit.

Oh, & speaking of the wedding album, how about this. I went to a baby shower a couple of years ago. The honoree got 4 copy paper boxes that when unwrapped turned out to contain those huge, fabric-covered photo albums from her own mother. There were eight, I think. With so many people using digital cameras & sharing pictures online, who is going to fill up eight enormous binders for one child? They were all very nursery-themed fabric, too, not for later stages in his life.
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#12 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 01:02 PM
 
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I love anything I can put to immediate use - aprons, placemat sets, clothes for dd, blankies for dd. Consumables are good too. And if my niece or nephew makes something, that's gold!

I don't get much not to my taste, but part of that is that lately we're all--in my family--inclined toward simplifying, so homemade things generally do have a use.

But also because we're all into simplifying (a long drawn-out process to be sure), my mom (for example) has been known to say "you do not have to hang onto this dress/blankie/apron/table runner forever!."

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#13 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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Consumables are great, especially the not-so-sweet things like vinegars, bread mixes, and alcohols.

Ditto soaps, lotions, bath salts. Things that pamper us and can be used up.

I've gotten some great scarves and blankets. My sister made us a beee-yoo-ti-ful quilt for our wedding that I will always treasure. She knows our style and really put the effort in to make it work with our bedroom colors and style.

One of the best gifts we were ever given was very simple and easy to make. Our friends took an empty gallon cider jug, put a hole through the lid and attached it to the jug with twine, and filled it with clothespins. Their little boy decorated the outside. Qualia was just over 1 at the time and LOVED trying to drop the clothespins into the top of the jug, closing it, opening it, dumping it out. It wasn't the prettiest gift we've ever received, but it kept her entertained for HOURS. Priceless.

I'm really not a fan of kitsch. Dust catchers, clutter . . . especially Christian-themed or country (or both!). Not only isn't it our style (we're eclectic pagans who lean toward clean lines and jewel tones!), but it's the kind of gift that isn't really given with *us* in mind. It just doesn't feel personal or meaningful; it feels a little pushy.
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#14 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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It depends. I love homemade eatable goodies and stuff for the girls but some of the stuff just doesn't work well in our house. My taste is more 1800's-1940's, so if stuff works with that and it isn't a cutsey chicken or cow, I will use it.

I love just about anything homemade for Christmas/Solstice.

Handmade scarves, sweaters and blankets are so nice and cozy, I love them.

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#15 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 06:52 PM
 
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Well, I come at gift giving from a slightly different angle. Namely, we don't have the money to purchase gifts even if we wanted to so family/friends get homemade jam, bread, and needlework. Or they get a nice card. Over the years I've found that even when a person doesn't like the gift, they like getting that gift more than they like getting nothing!

Anyway, we love getting consumables... food, candles, sweet treats, bath items. And useful small items like knit scarves/hats/gloves in neutral colors or a lap throw for the car or a small cloth doll for dd.

To be honest, I really dislike getting purchased gifts unless they've been discussed with me before hand... I feel guilty if a person speands a lot of money on something I don't like or wont use!

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#16 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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One year my brother noted that the adults had started a gift certificate exchange, so we all agreed to stop exchanging gifts. We buy for the children and our immediate family and just exchange cards with the extended family.

Most of us are at a stage in our lives where we don't need the extra clutter or expense, and I agree with many of you that decorative items rarely reflect your own taste when you receive them as a gift.

Generally the kids and I make ornaments that they give to the adults as their gift.

To receive, I would love jelly, soap and such, but I am among those who don't care much for cross stitch, rusted or distressed anything, or any of the 'country' style items.

I don't think handmade is the issue so much as not thinking about personalization. If you don't know what the person likes, whether it's handmade or purchased it isn't going to be much of a gift, ykwim? Someone could buy me expensive golfing gear and it would still be a lousy gift, but if they made me homemade bread and jam, I'd like it.

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#17 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 08:30 PM
 
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I like homemade soaps and stuff- most of my friends know exactly my taste. But my great aunt crochets freaking doilies in the most hideous colors- very bright red, orange, pepto bismol pink... or slippers. She crochets slippers that are hideous. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but I immediately donate them. I always want to tell her not to waste her time. :

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#18 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 08:37 PM
 
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I appreciated handmade gifts of FOOD. Food gifts rock. Even if *I* don't like the food item, it's so useful-- I can always feed it to someone. For baby gifts, I liked the wearable stuff, but started to get overwhelmed with the blankets and decorative stuff. Because clothes they grow out of, and you are justified in putting away... the other stuff just made me feel guilty when I stopped using it.

I also like soap because it's useful and finite. Even if I don't like the scent that much, I can put out as guest soap.

Oh, and decorative items I can scrapbook with are another thing all together. Like, if someone paints me something, or draws me something, I can reuse the frame as my child outgrows the item but put the item in my child's scrapbook-- that's wonderful.
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#19 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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#20 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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If someone made me a gift with me in mind, I would love it. For example, a scarf, gloves, quilt, blanket, etc. that clearly goes with me/my house. However, that doesn't really happen. My family would never make anything! DH SIL does.

This thread has me rethinking my holiday plans. TO be honest, I would prefer not to exchange gifts with other adults. It just seems to waste everyone's money. I am so ungrateful, I never want anything I get. The only person who ever gives me anything I acually use is DH... and he has given me very few gifts. Usually I tell him not to bother.

I guess I'm really not a gift person. :

Kids on the other hand love gifts. I wish we would just leave the adults out!
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#21 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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I'm so picky that when I do get a handmade gift I'm all you shouldn't have...no REALLy, you shouldn't have. I am a professional artist and crafter though but I rarely give anything handmade away because I think my style is too quirky.

Handmade items I've gotten and loved:
- a cute khaki scarf
- a gorgeous blue/khaki quilt at a baby shower

Handmade items I've hated
- Native American hand woven rug my mom bought at a reservation (hated the colors)
- a Black Mammie toss pillow that my MIL gave me but I thought was racist (I eBayed it)
- doilies my mom keeps crocheting for me
- sunflower-themed quilt (I love real sunflowers though)
- Oak wall thing that holds blowdrier and curling iron (too country...puke)
- country-looking coiled fabric trivet that smells like cinnamon when you put a hot pot on it.
- probably many more I can't think of because I got rid of it already

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#22 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 11:30 PM
 
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- Oak wall thing that holds blowdrier and curling iron (too country...puke)
Doesn't anybody make one of these without the pukey cutesy heart cutout? In something other than oak?

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#23 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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Although I would show appreciation for any gift, homemade or bought…I think it becomes a problem when the gift giver gives no thought of the recipient. I had a friend who mass produced junky homemade gifts every year. Everyone rec’d the same thing. She cranked them out with the intent of them being inexpensive and easy to make – it was too obvious. (Of course this could also be done with store-bought gifts.) It seemed like a waste and the spirit of giving was missing. I kept everything for a while then threw it out. One year it was a two foot high country snowman made from batting. She went crazy with the glue gun!

I think you can make or purchase a nice gift with the recipient in mind and keep it within any price point. (I will add; I enjoy shopping for or making and giving gifts. But if I know someone would prefer not to get a gift or if it would make them uncomfortable, I don't buy for them.)
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#24 of 46 Old 10-14-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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This thread gave me a light bulb: how about a post-holidays-my-handmade-gift-sucks swap?

I love consumables, too, if the person knows what they're doing. I got some apple jelly one year that tasted like gin. EW...
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#25 of 46 Old 10-15-2007, 01:00 AM
 
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Although I would show appreciation for any gift, homemade or bought…I think it becomes a problem when the gift giver gives no thought of the recipient. I had a friend who mass produced junky homemade gifts every year. Everyone rec’d the same thing. She cranked them out with the intent of them being inexpensive and easy to make – it was too obvious. (Of course this could also be done with store-bought gifts.)
Oh that is my mother...not homemade but she buys everything at Costco, she looks for the cheapest thing that "will do" instead of something the person would really want and her focus is more on feeling obligated to buy gifts than it is on really wanting to give a gift to a person.

I'd really rather people do nothing than do it because they feel obligated, especially when they make it so obvious.
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#26 of 46 Old 10-15-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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I really love homemade things, but seems I don't get the things I want. I woudl love my mom to make quilts or blankets for me. I would love some good homemade granola, cultured foods, healthy whole foods that arent sweets and I don't do a lot of condiments.

I do not like to receive sweets of any kind homemade or otherwise. My mil always gives me this homemade relish she buys and although I think the stuff tastes decent enough it has an insane about of sugar and what the heck am I supposed to use that much relish on- we don't do hotdogs. I would love to receive some nice bath stuff or candles- made with natural ingredients- but I cannot stand stuff that is perfumed. I cannot even have it in the house it makes me sick. I can tolerate things scented with essential oil or that smell like food.

I would love some aprons, homemade dishrags, homemade babyclothes. there are about 500 wood working items I would love my dad to make me, but he is always so busy.

I abhor anything country- hearts, blue, mauve, teddy bears, kitschy stuff. I hate anything fadish- dh's whole family latches on to every trend- currently it is everything french and paris- on principal I don't want anything they would like. I am a person who likes antiques.

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#27 of 46 Old 10-15-2007, 01:55 PM
 
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Hmm. I don't think that it's a good idea to give people stuff that is intended to decorate their home for them, handmade or not.

I generally love handmade presents. I have been asking MIL to crochet us a blanket that will fit our bed for about 2 years. I would also love a sweater for me, or some wool diaper covers for our little peanut.

(I am kind of over afghans. I don't crochet or knit, but I can't imagine it's harder to make a blanket of dimensions that fit a bed than it is to make a blanket of odd dimensions.)

My dad is making playstands for DD. I would love it if he'd also make her a toy box, or make us a chest for the foot of our bed.

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#28 of 46 Old 10-15-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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I never cleanse mine. I rotate decks frequently, and occasionally take an entire deck and just rap them on the table to sort of clear the energy if I think of it.

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#29 of 46 Old 10-15-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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This thread gave me a light bulb: how about a post-holidays-my-handmade-gift-sucks swap?
Yes, please!
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#30 of 46 Old 10-15-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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I consumables.

I the wool mittens and socks my MIL knits.

I getting recipes for things I have complemented on.

I anything that reflects the way that person sees me, or a reflection of that person themselves.

The only things I really hate are things that were thrown together to be cheap, or to "just get something." Those rank up there with thoughtless store-bought stuff. Honestly, i'm not into gifts, if you can't afford it or just plain don't feel like getting me something, I'm ok with that. Sit down and enjoy a tea with me on the holiday instead.

Speaking of which, my favorite gift bag is a book, a couple of biscotti and some tea, maybe some bubble bath thrown in, even if it's homeade, and the book is thrifted.
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