I don't but what I hate is trying to find unique gifts for my family for Christmas. My family is notoriously hard to buy for and this year I'm taking the handmade plunge and going all out and getting only handmade Christmas gifts for some of the hardest to buy for people on the planet.
I got out of my Mom's birthday easy with some handmade beads for her troll bracelet. For Dad's birthday we got out of it easy with a thick book on drying foods. (He's a farmer) Last Christmas I scored with a reusable shopping bag full of thrift store wool sweaters and a vintage polish coffee percolator. The middle brother got something I don't remember and I copped out and got my youngest brother a…. gift card. I hang my head in shame with that one.
So this Christmas I'm going handmade. But what to get. For my Mom I'll probably get her something again for her bracelet- there are a lot of artists selling really cool lamp work beads for troll bracelets.
I'm not sure what to get Dad or Matt. Allen, well, I'll look for something World of Warcraft related or iPod touch and that will be easy.
I have to start early or I"m left scrambling around in the last week looking like a moron at the mall nearby wandering the aisles with all the men who waited until the last minute. My goal is to buy everything handmade this holiday season!
I used to be a teacher, believe it or not. I taught high
school art for a year and when that fizzled for me I went into working in an
Elementary Special Ed program grades 2 and 4. Both experiences led to many
memorable moments. The teenage girl who drew the penis disguised as a
lighthouse and didn't think I'd notice, the boy with whom I had to have a
discussion "IN MY OFFICE NOW" about respect, the runny noses and hugs
from 2nd graders for whom I was the strange lady who would talk to them like they
were human and doodled in the back of the classroom.
On of the sweetest things about the younger kids was that their parents would
send them in with some unique gifts for the teachers. I used to take these as
offerings to the merciful teachers who would take their hyperactive kids off
the parental hands for 9 months of the year and instill rules, boundaries and
limitations on their otherwise unruly kids. I have a feeling that if the
parents could have sacrificed a goat, sheep or virgin to get the kids out of
their hair they may have done it, but many of the gifts simply said,
"Thank you thank you thank you. I was one step from homicide and the front
page of our small local paper." Their faces told us that they were one
step away from insanity and a trip to the nut farm. As the kids walked into the
door, offering in hand parents looked on, hoping the teachers would be appeased.
The relief on their faces as the doors shut was visible.
Most of the gifts were pretty neat-o: flowers, homemade treats, various
school supplies among other things.(some of which we will not discuss here.)
Now there is no need to figure out a unique gift, a
parent just has to head to artfire.com and pick something and the artisan will
pack it and ship it right to their door. Check out the jewelry section for some
neat stuff. Also check out my shop for some really unique gifts- one-of-a-kind
handmade journals, perfect for note taking or journaling. I know for a fact
that most teachers are office supply junkies and would appreciate a journal
covered in soft leather, or an eco friendly jotter or a larger sized notebook
covered in recycled/ upcycled sign vinyl.
The sweetest gift I ever got was a dusty candle holder in the shape of a watering can,iInside a dusty candle with faded scent. I spent a lot of time working one on one with that kid, helping him with math and reading as well as his speech therapy. At the end of the year he came in with a well wrapped gift for the lead teacher of the classroom and shyly sat at his desk laboring over a gift tag for the candle holder. He then waited until my back was turned and left the candle holder on my desk. Later that day I was talking to his speech therapist who had been talking to his mother that monring. According to the mother the kid had thrown a temper tantrum that morning because she'd gotten an end of yeaer gift for the lead teach but not for me. He woudln't leave the house that AM. He grabbed the candle holder and asked his Mom if he could give it to me. Hearing that story had been one of those moment wher I felt like I'd reached a kid. It also made it incredibly hard when I got the pink slip a few days later.