This past weekend my first-grader was invited to a birthday party for a girl in his class. He was excited to go, excited about the prospect of cake, and about giving her a gift. He wanted to give her Barbies and pink, since she she's a big fan of both.
Those of you that have been reading my blog a while know I'm an advocate of handmade gifts. I want my kids to feel that a handmade gift is just as "good" as store-bought. I want them to know that whether handmade or store-bought, there needs to be thought behind the gift. Without the thought, a gift is just stuff.
But sometimes the decision to give handmade can make me waiver a bit, especially when the gift is going to someone we don't know well. What if she doesn't like it? What if it embarrasses my son? What if they think we're too cheap to buy a gift and are offended? Not everyone shares my view about handmade, of course.
I thought about it a bit, but rather than offering up the 20-mile trip to town for a Barbie outfit as an option, I simply asked my son if he'd like to make the girl a wool flower, and told him he could pick the colors. He was all for it, and excitedly picked out the most vibrant pinks and purples I have in my stash, certain that these were her favorite colors in the world.
I helped him lay out the fibers and he did the felting. He picked the beads and I sewed the pieces together. I put a pinback on it so she could wear it if she liked. He painted her a birthday card and together we wrapped the flower up gently in tissue paper and twine.
He beamed, holding the little gift on the ride to her house. I was so proud of him, and happy to have had done the project together, and crossed my fingers and toes that if the present wasn't well-received, that he'd be okay.
As it turned out, she loved the flower, and the family was most impressed that he made it himself. Hooray! and whew!
How about you? Do you value handmade gifts? Be honest. Do you hesitate to give handmade gifts yourself or do you embrace them?