Now that you have given away your many wonderful crocheted projects, how do you feel about your gifts? Are they still yours? Do they now belong completely to the recipient to do with as s/he pleases? Do your feelings get hurt if your carefully made items are not treated with respect, received well, cherished? Have you vowed to never again bother to crochet anything for that ungrateful _____________ (niece, husband, sister in law, child, neighbor). You fill in the blank.
This is a really serious issue for a lot of us who take many hours to fashion handmade gifts for people we consider special. What happens to us when we feel that our laboriously crafted gifts are not well received or are treated shabbily? Has it happened to you? How do you handle this issue?
I have a general practice that once I give a gift, it is not longer mine. I strive to not vest too much emotionally in a gift even if I’ve invest much time and money to create that gift. I have only had one family member (and a former SIL at that) who did not seem to value my carefully chosen, lovingly crafted gifts. I know that she sold everything she ever received from our family at a garage sale as soon as she could! Of course, that makes the decision to spend $10 on her at Target or to crochet her a gift easy. She gets the Target gift! I’m sure she valued that more anyway.
I am not so foolish that I believe that every person who expresses delight at the crocheted scarf or cap they receive from me is actually delighted to receive the gift. Some people are just more polite than others. But, nothing much beats the sheer joy I feel when I see true delight in the eyes of the recipient.
That is most likely to happen when I have given a babyghan for a baby shower. Usually, my afghan is the only handmade item received, making it all the more special to the new mom. But a smiling thank you for a scarf or cap can be just for show. At least no one rubs in my face that my choice of gifts is not acceptable. There are just some people who would rather receive a scarf made in a sweatshop in the Third World than one made in my family room. That’s okay so long as I know about it. And, it typically takes only one event for me to figure that out.
That said, once the gift is given, it is no longer mine – even if I made it with my own hands. Whatever its fate, it has been passed to its now rightful owner and I will separate myself emotionally from it. If you’ve ever seen grandma’s handmade quilt in the trunk of a car used for hauling pets and picnics, you know the feeling of devalued artisanal efforts. Even my grandmother’s tattered quilts are treasured and treated like precious gems. Their value far exceeds the fabric and thread. But, I am not naive. I know that is not the case for all of us.
So, what has been your experience? How have you handled the frank dissatisfaction or the discerned distaste for a gift you hand made for someone? Do you take it personally? Are you able to separate yourself from the item? Are you able to make and give your crochet with no strings attached? Please share your story with us so we can all learn the best way to handle this situation which will inevitably happen to each of us at some point in our lives.
Note: The picture above is actually that of a family’s living room after thieves stole all their Christmas gifts a few days before Christmas. Fortunately, the family received many presents from generous donors around the St. Louis area.