A Handmade Gift and A Resolution

This was my favorite gift of the season–a garland of hand cut snow flakes. It came carefully wrapped in many, many layers of paper by my oldest child.  I unwrapped it to loud exhortations of “Be careful! Mama, be careful. It’s very delicate!”And, it is, very delicate and beautiful.  
He assured me that he had made each one himself.  He methodically walked me through each snowflake, discussing how he made it–how each snowflake was unique. It warmed my heart tremendously, reminding me how much I value the handmade.  That he made the effort, that he thought of me with each cut, imbues the gift with such meaning, such tenderness.
I hand-make gifts for people all the time.  I rarely have handmade gifts given to me. This made it all the more meaningful to me.  Charlie’s snowflakes remind me, in today’s culture of consumption, the continued importance of making gifts.  I know we all get busy and that its hard to find the time.  But, that’s just the point, isn’t it?  If you can take the time in your life to hand-make a thoughtful gift for someone, then doesn’t it add that much more value and meaning?
As Charlie’s snowflakes glisten in the sunlight before my eyes, I think I’ve come up with a new resolution.  My New Year’s resolution isn’t going to be about dropping weight, or getting in shape, or always getting the things on my to-do list done, it’s going to make gifts instead of buy them . . . For one year, I won’t buy a gift. Ack! I’m getting scared as I write this. But I’m going to do it.  If I learned anything from making Allie’s advent gifts – beautiful and thoughtful gifts don’t need to take a long time to make (though blogging about them does ;).  I think this will require some planning, lots of effort, and might make for some belated gifts, but why not!? Will you join me?  I’ll share them with you as I do them so you might have a good resource for quick and beautiful handmade gifts as well.  
Happy New Year to one and all! 
  1. Vicki

    Okay – but for the gifts I’ve already purchased for my nephew and niece’s Jan & Feb birthdays (RARE that I’m so on top of things!), I’m all over this. Thank you for this encouragement, the creativity you inspire, the gorgeous pictures and super-fun ideas. Happy New Year!

  2. tiffany

    great resolution! count me in! i came pretty darn close this year, except for my own children… for some reason they’re the hard ones for me (maybe because i make them things ‘just because’, so coming up with something new for the official gift-giving holidays is a challenge). your son did a fabulous job on the garland too… mind if i ask about the beautiful light fixture? do you happen to know the source? [and finally, thanks for an all-around lovely blog. i’ve been a happy lurker for a while!]

  3. Chris

    Great resolution! However I cannot join you…yet! In the years to come maybe, but this year my resolutions are to skip buying clothes, and instead either get rid of what I don’t use/like anymore, or make it into something new or add on to it to make it like-new instead of just buying something else! I loved all your Advent gifts you made, thats how I came here in the first place! I’m hoping to make a few of those as well 🙂 And next year I will continue to make almost all of my Christmas gifts! This year I was at about 85% of all my gifts were handmade!

  4. cathyb

    What a lovely story. I`m with you. I do often make gift I give but not always and you are right – maybe we should. Like you although I do this I have rarely received a handmade gift myself and of course when I have they are the best. I love that your son took you through each one and how he created it. Happy 2012!

  5. anne

    Yay everyone! I’m so glad you will be joining me. I definitely have to get on it as I have January birthdays to take care of. If you send me your emails at flaxandtwine (at) gmail (dot) com, I will set up a flickr group for you all to share what you’re making!

  6. Alison

    What a lovely post, Anne. This year we came closer to the “all handmade holiday” I’ve dreamt about than ever before. It was so nice. I even received a lovely handknit beret-wearing a handknit that I didn’t knit is the best. I’ll gladly join you as much as possible this year (we have a kid graduating & that will require some precollege tech gifting) but I love this idea. Also all over the handmade clothing idea. Thank you for your holiday gifting to us. The Advent pretties were wonderful! Happy new year!

  7. Anonymous

    I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful ideas!!! I had my kids make each other Christmas gifts this year and it was so neat. The kids knew that the other person had carefully made their gift!! I wanted to tell you that my son (he’s 11) made the strand of pearls ribbon necklace for his sister!! She loved it!! She told him that it was so so beautiful and she wore it right away!! He even made matching bracelets for her and other cousins in the family. I too will join you in making gift this year for others, although I already did purchase a few things. I would love to join you on your handmade journey!! Thank you again. I wish you could see what a wonderful job my son did on the necklaces!!

  8. anne

    Elaine, that is absolutely fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing. Isn’t it funny that there is something extra special about boys who make!? and even something EXTRA EXTRA special about a making brother! So sweet. I’m so happy for him and your daughter. So glad you will be there with me on my handmade journey. I will start a flickr group so folks can share photos of their handmade gifts– coming up on the docket soon

  9. This is something I’m going to endeavour to do too, so you can sure count me in. Although I have already cheated with my sister and bought her some things in the sale for her birthday, but I will make her card – promise!!!

  10. would love to attempt all handmade gifts this year. the women and children aren’t a problem. suggestions for the men?

  11. anne

    Hi! I will do plenty of things for men this year, so keep coming back. Some great ideas would be a manly lunch box, a knit hat or scarf, a gadget pocket (ipad, kindle, computer, etc), knit socks, etc. I’m going to think more on this. I’m make a point of including some manly tutorials in the future!
    Thanks for thinking about it!

  12. ahmet

    great resolution! count me in! i came pretty darn close this year, except for my own children… for some reason they’re the hard ones for me (maybe because i make them things ‘just because’, so coming up with something new for the official gift-giving holidays is a challenge).

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