To bestow a gift that you make yourself can bring immeasurable joy to both you, the creator, as well as the recipient; the value is two-fold and encapsulates emotional elements of life that satisfy our human condition.
Fundamentally, as makers, we are intimately familiar with an innate desire for self-expression, for recognition and applause (and the role these desires play in our work). We learn by doing; we practice and share, improve our skills and reap a sense of accomplishment. We are motivated beyond cost-saving initiatives, customization, quality standards, or recreational and therapeutic processes. Essentially, we work to satisfy our insatiable artisanal spirit.
If we make something specifically for someone else, with forethought and process, the endeavor carries an even greater significance. A new challenge unfolds as we focus on the intended individual we are making something for. In turn, we invest that much more of ourselves.
When we receive a gift made just for us, we are grateful and humbled though feel extra important. Important enough for someone to have spent their time and creative energy to share a part of themselves. A handmade gift embodies the personality of the person who made it for you.
Personalized handmade gifts bring the unexpected - surprise, tears, laughter, love - emotional sentiments of life that are essential to our nature. These gifts are often the most remembered, the most cherished; they evoke treasured memories and create new ones.
I made only one handmade gift this past Christmas, by request. My daughter's nine-year-old puppy, Toulouse, died in her arms unexpectedly last September. Months earlier, Laura had cut the cover of Toulouse’s worn out bed apart, preserving only the piece that held her embroidered name. She asked if I would make a small pillow with it some time.
Two days before leaving to spend the holiday with family, amidst cookie dough and wrapping paper, I made the pillow for Laura; I brought it to New York with me to give to her for Christmas. While sitting at my sewing machine, I recalled the relationship and life's events my daughter shared with Toulouse. I smiled. I cried, too. On Christmas morning when Laura opened her gift, she cried. And smiled, too.