by Jen Walls
Earlier this month I received my annual Elfster notice with the name of a family member I was assigned for holiday gift giving. Immediately, I was struck with TERROR! Is it that time already? Feeling the dread of figuring out what gifts to buy, I decided to launch an investigation. What do people want? How can I truly give a gift the recipient might treasure, a gift that says I carefully considered the options? Most importantly (not that my family is competitive or anything) how can I be THE ONE people want to draw his or her name every year because I give the best gifts?
If you are faced with this dilemma, read on!
I began polling people on the street about their experiences with giving and receiving gifts. Universally, folks were initially stressed, and could name which family member they could never delight, along with who gave the gifts they usually re-gifted. This was not an auspicious start to my investigation! But I persisted, asking about gifts they had given (and received) which were memorable.
"I personally love getting homemade art as a gift, " says Patty C. "It's so personal, unique and one-of-a-kind. Whether it's an art project from a child or a crafty adult, it makes me feel so special when someone gives me something that was made from the heart." I asked Patty about gifts she had given which seemed to be a hit with the recipient. "In the past few years, I've made a couple quilts that I have given as gifts at the holidays and for baby showers," she responded "they have become treasured items for those that received them. No better feeling then having someone consider your hard work a treasured item."
Okay, so the first thing I learned was the gift of hand-made art, given or received, is a home run. But what if you aren't a quilter? Kris R. had just the solution.
"Last year i gave my daughter a gift certificate to a class at Ciel Gallery. I purchased all the supplies for class and wrapped them along with certificate . I signed up for class as well. We met four Wednesdays for class and had lunch after . We learned some new skills , met some great ladies and most importantly spent time together ."
Art classes might be just what is needed! Creating a piece of art (or giving the gift of a class to those who love to create) is just the answer for some of my gift-giving conundrums.
Kris had more wisdom to share: "I have been given gifts that were purchased from local artists . I love that. What I recieve is a part of the creator, unique and no one else has one . It also is special because time was taken to find a one of a kind gift . And I love that it supports artists and community...whenever I travel I look for a piece that is crafted in that area. It is my favorite type of souvenir." Kris' philosophy resonated with me. But what if you're on a budget? Or have half a million people to buy for (I exaggerate, but only slightly!) Kris had more golden nuggets of insight: "There are so many types of artists out there from fine artists to Artisans of all kinds so when i think of gifts it could be anything from a painting , jewelry , glass, pottery... Many artists will create smaller pieces for holiday gift giving . Or prints of their larger pieces . This makes a more affordable option. I personally like to buy cards printed with Artists works . I give them to friends with an appropriate sized frame so they can hang in their homes." A stellar idea! I added several of these items to my shopping list.
My next interviewee was very busy lady with an eye for the exquisite. I was sure she would have the answers I needed. So I asked Wendy H. the same questions. And she told me this story: "Ok so recently a friend was telling me about a question her 8 year old son asked...This is a dear friend who is like a sis to me & her son calls me Aunt Wendy. Her son wanted to know if the Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy & Santa ever get together? In the moment I could see the whole thing in my head. I asked [Ciel Artist] Ladianne to illustrate it.. it was perfect & Jill & Grant LOVED it!!" Aha! So for busy people, the gift of hand-made art can be specially made by a local artist, but perfectly individualized in order to delight! Another check mark on my list.
But where, oh where, you may ask, could a person possibly accomplish all of this in one fell swoop? Aha! I am so glad you asked. Mark your calendars and prepare to be stress free and joy-filled, and also DONE with your holiday shopping!
Have a question? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org