A Simpler Handmade Holiday

I guess I broke my own self imposed rule yesterday with the post about the crinoline Christmas tree. Usually I resolutely avoid anything to do with Christmas until we're safely into December. Maybe this post over on Whip Up had me thinking...

Kathreen talks about how it's wonderful to shift from buying commercial, anonymous, sweatshop-made goods as gifts to either making your own or buying local, handmade gifts. But she also recognizes the hidden pitfall of investing so much your heart in making something for someone who just doesn't love the handmade aesthetic.

I ran into this situation a few years ago, when I was fortunate to not have to work. I used all my time joyfully spinning yarn, learning to weave, knitting, dyeing - basically indulging in all things fibre. One Christmas I made hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand knit or woven items for everyone in my family. They were properly gracious and all, but I think a little overwhelmed. Of course these are GIFTS we're talking about, given freely with no expectation of an equivalent gift in return. But it was a bit much, and soon after that our new family gift policy was initiated.

Since we are all adults and have most of the stuff we need, it was decided that instead of exchanging gifts we would each draw a name from a hat around Thanksgiving, and then make that person a handmade card. Just that person. Non of this multitude of gifts under the tree stuff. The first year, my brother Dave made me this amazing carved card containing a chestnut from the tree that used to stand in front of the house in which we grew up (now long gone.)

There have been some awesome and creative cards over the years, and we don't seem to have suffered for lack of presents!


  1. Yes, what a great idea to set up alternatives to the consumptionfest. But I have to confess I still tend to yield to temptation, and there'll be far too many useless shop-bought (hopefully not unethically produced) stuff around the tree - there'll be a tree of some sort-this Christmas.
    I'm not getting better fast enough!

  2. Oh, I'm sorry if I implied that cutting down on gifts is "better". Every family has their own traditions and needs and yes, there is so much temptation out there! Just being conscious of your buying is a huge step!

  3. What a wonderful idea!

    Unfortunately there is too much emphasis on commercialised 'gifts'nowadays; which results in unwelcome and unnecessary pressure which in turn spoils the whole spirit of giving.

    Keep up the good work and have a fabulous festive holiday!

  4. Sorry about that, I somehow managed to miss the moderation bit and seeing as I have being having problems saving my blog recently I got carried away! All the best, Polly


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