Treasuring the handmade…
Emma Friedlander-Collins understands the true value of handmade gifts – and so do we….
If you have the crochet bug like I do, a lot of your day will be filled with trying to find excuses to make more things. “Should we have a fifth blanket for the couch?” the excuses start,“I’m sure the children would be thrilled with new mittens and matching hats” or (and this is my personal favourite) “ I need a new scarf this winter”.
The truth is, none of us need to crochet anything at all, but we all love to crochet, and often it’ll be a gift that’ll be the thing that justifies our habit. A new baby? I’ll make them a blanket! A new teapot? I’ll make it a cosy! Another winter? I’ll make you a hat!
But flippancy aside, there is something extremely precious about a handmade gift. Think about it; when you’re doing the spring clean and deciding what stays and what goes, it’ll be the blanket crocheted by your Grandma that you’ll keep. When the babies have grown out of their clothes, it’s the hand knitted jumpers that will go in the memory box. Because holding on to a homemade gift gives you an overpowering sense of the person that made it for you, the love that’s in each stitch, and the time and care that’s been taken, just for you.
I have an identical twin, naturally we’re very close, but due to work and careers and things we don’t get to live near each other. I don’t get to hug her when she’s sad, or comfort her when things are tough, so last year, I made her a blanket for our birthday. A huge, brightly coloured granny affair. Now, when she misses me, she can wrap herself in it, and feel comforted and just a tiny bit closer. AND because I made it myself, it’s in super-bold colours, and oversized and a bit edgy, and flipping cool!
The joy of making something for someone is that you can make something truly unique, that’s just for them. My bestie had been coveting a blanket scarf I made recently, so I made her one of her own, in her favourite colours and she is utterly thrilled with it. It gives me such a warm glow of satisfaction to know that I made something just for her, that she loves, it just can’t be beaten.
The other side to making your gifts rather than buying something from a store is that it has a super positive, environmental impact. You’re not buying something that’s been mass produced in factory somewhere, that will one day just be thrown away, you’re making more and taking less.
So when your ungrateful children look at you with disdain because you’ve made them mittens instead of buying them a Transformer for Christmas, just remember that you’re giving them an heirloom that they will treasure forever. (Well, maybe not, but YOU can look at them fondly when they’ve grown up and are long gone, and can remember just how much you loved making them!)