Thursday, December 8, 2011

When your handmade gift is underappreciated...

I would like to send a plea out to all you folks who say you want something handmade: mean it. 

Something thrills me about coming up with fun homemade gifts - but the flip side can be really discouraging.

I make things for people that I would love to receive, but unfortunately there are few people in my life who appreciate the awesomeness. Like last year... a person asked for a basket after she had seen my weaving. So I carefully chose one that she should find useful. I tucked other things into it like candy and lip balm, and included it in the bag o' gifts. She pulled it out of the bag, ooh-ed and ahh-ed over each filler item inside the basket, placed the unnoticed basket on the floor and proceeded to go through the other gifts in the bag. I held my tongue and waited until later to tell her why the basket was special. I was interrupted because she wanted me to go to her garage for some unremembered reason.

I let my little-kid ego feel hurt, then decided that the basket (and my efforts, time and money) deserved better than to be shoved in her garage or worse, tossed out later. I mustered all the courage I had and asked for the basket back if she didn't want it. There was no protest, but she tried to pass it off as it being an item "that meant so much" to me. It was amazingly liberating to drive home with a gift that was unappreciated by the intended recipient. On the ride home I was giddy with my assertiveness and felt really badass. I was quite cheeky  to everyone I encountered for the rest of the day!

I am pretty sure my action saved her from guilt (I know her quite well... she is my mother after all). At the time, I offered to make her a custom one to her better liking - "just tell me specifics of what you want, I'll happily make it!" She has yet to take me up on the offer.

So, folks - sometimes it happens. Our super amazing efforts and love and brilliant ideas aren't accepted on our terms, and it sucks. I suggest that we take control of the situation by reclaiming our amazing gift! And next time just give them something with a Starbucks logo on it.

Next post: What gifts I'm making this year! :) 


Melissa said...

Aww, that's kind of a sad story. Mom's never mean to hurt our feelings but it can definitely happen. I think the fact that you put thought and effort into your gifts is amazing. And while not everyone will appreciate it, some people will and that will make it worth it :)


Jenny said...

I agree so much! It wouldn't have bothered me if she hadn't asked specifically for one! I am pleased that I do have appreciative people to make things for as well, and that is awesome.

iris said...

I think a mom would be easier to retrieve a gift from, than a friend!

Megan said...

This made me sad, but I also completely understand as I've been in the same situation. I don't think people realize how much time and love/energy goes into handmade items, and maybe it takes a crafter to appreciate a craft?!

I'm sure the basket was beautiful, and I'm sorry she didn't realize how awesome it was!! Her loss :)

Jenny said...

Aw, thanks. I think you're right that it must take a crafter to appreciate a craft. And we sure are appreciative! :)

iris - I totally agree that this is easier with a mother, though I admit I've used this on a friend since, and it went over pretty well. I think the key is just wanting that the item is loved wherever it is... like a puppy, only less alive. :) It's less about hurt feelings and more about objectively seeing that it's not the right item for the person.

Cameo Armstrong said...

I hear you the same thing happens to me. People act like its less valuable then store bought. Yet in the clothing and fashion industry items are mass produced BY HAND. Its actually comical if people who don't appreciate handmade gifts are not aware of this.Handmade gifts are more valuable, time intensive, and almost alway unique and often one of a kind.