Did you give or receive handmade holiday gifts this year?
I appreciated blogs like this one and this one for offering encouragement and inspiration to crafty elves and their supporters. I implemented a few of the ideas, and squirreled others away for next year.
I did a bit of my holiday shopping at Etsy, and made skirts and matching appliquéd tees for my nieces. My husband received a little photo album from me, with pictures of our dog who passed away over the summer, and it was his favorite gift. For teachers, I assembled “movie buckets” that sort of fell into the handmade category – thanks to my good friend Tami V. for that brilliant idea! They included bottles of Jones soda in holiday flavors, a bag of microwave popcorn, 2 Netflix rentals, and a handmade movie journal, all cello-wrapped in a festive plastic popcorn bowl and tied with a big red and white polka dot bow. I barely finished them in time, so I didn’t get any photos. You’ll have to take my word for it that they were super cute, and looked like a lot of bang for 10 bucks.
I was on the receiving end of some lovely handmade gifts as well – handwritten notes and drawings from my kids, the requisite school projects, and an IOU for a scarf my sister is still working on. The fact I have managed to convert my sister into someone who would even consider MAKING a gift will go down as one of my proudest achievements. It warms the cockles of my heart and gives me hope for world peace, or at least the continued success of the craft industry. If she can be transformed into a crafter, anyone can.
The New York Times ran an interesting article on handmade gifts and how current economic trends caused an unexpected boon in holiday sales for craft stores. It sounds like my sister was probably not the only novice dipping her toe in the crafting pool this season.
And now I need to hop up on my soapbox for just a minute to let you know that amongst the handmade holiday hoopla, there is a disturbing law looming that threatens to put many artisans of children’s toys and clothing out of business. If you haven't heard about it, you can click on the teddy bear to find out more about the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act & learn what you can do to help.
I think it’s important for everyone who enjoys buying or selling handmade children’s items to be aware of this legislation and speak up about it. I have to believe it was an error of omission, and that if we make our voices heard, the lawmakers will amend it to help keep the "little guys" in business. With the booming popularity of indie crafts and the success of sites like Etsy, I cannot imagine they would turn a deaf ear to independent crafters and small manufacturers of quality children’s products.
Hopping off my soapbox now to call my sister and see if she finished that scarf yet...