Gifting Your Work: Think it through before you’re too generous

If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you’ve probably figured out by now that I get the urge to rant every now and then. There’s a method to my madness though. I’m HOPING that by reading my rants, you may save yourself from some heartache or wasting your time. I think this is a big one because I’m sure that many of you like to gift you work. Or maybe not. Maybe you’ve figured this out long ago. For your sake, I really hope so.

I get the impression that a lot of people think that I give handmade gifts because I don’t have the money to afford to buy gifts. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Why would I put all the thought, time and effort into something when I could just pick something out/up in 10 minutes? I’ll tell you, buying a gift sure would save me a lot in the long run!

No, when I make a gift for somebody, it costs me more than you may think. The time that I put into that gift is time that I’m not putting into making items to sell or fulfilling orders AKA making money to feed/clothe my son. Or it’s my allotted “free time” (although what I like to do in my “free time” is the exact same thing I like to do when I work). So that six hours I spent working on your childs’ Minion toy? Yeah, I could have spun up a couple of skeins of yarn or whipped three or four hats. If we’re talking minimum wage here, that means that I’ve invested over $60 PLUS material into their gift.

We’ll start with those afghans that I made for some of my “friends” when we were in high school. I put quotations around “friends” because they sure as hell didn’t turn out to be friends (this only applies to a couple… The ones I’m still in touch with are there for a reason – I love them!). The very first one I made an afghan for turned her back on me because of someone else’s actions before we even graduated. I can’t count how many hours I wasted on her. And she wasn’t the only one to get an afghan from me. I’m going to be honest. I deeply regret making most of the ones I made. (My bestie still has hers though and she proudly had it on display until her little dog decided he wanted to adopt it. And by adopt it, I mean dig at it, potentially destroying it).

Another thing I regret is the Wonder Woman Minion I had made. Well, regret is an understatement there. I spent far more than six hours on that one. I didn’t have a pattern. I went based on pictures. She was a work of art. And for what? I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that there are two faces and some throwing under the bus involved. Now that I know what I do now, I would never have bothered.

And then there’s the ungrateful “family” member. I made them an afghan for Christmas one year. In that case, I did have to make the gift because I didn’t have the money. But it was the nicest yarn I had in my stash and it was NOT cheap. I’d never seen the afghan after I gave it to them. I was asked to make a sun hat for their child – never saw the child wearing it or got the picture I was promised. I have made a lot of things for the kids over the years and have never seen them worn/used after they were given to them. I didn’t have the money to get them a wedding gift at the time – I felt that anything I could afford wouldn’t be good enough. So I thought of what I could make. Nothing came to me. Why? Because I knew deep down it would just get shoved in a closet, re-gifted or donated (I have no issue with donating something after it’s been enjoyed, but this would have probably gone directly to the bin).

I don’t ask a lot from somebody when I give them a gift. A thank you is nice. Appreciation of the love, time and effort is a bonus. When I make something for somebody, I have put a lot more than thought into it. My son is proud to give gifts that I make. Any time he gets invited to a birthday party, I always ask him if he wants me to buy the gift or make it. So far he’s always asked me to make it. There may have been one exception. The other piece to that is that if the child gets a handmade gift from me, I hope they know they have/had a place in my heart. I wouldn’t put that time/effort in for just anybody.

Anymore.

There have been others that haven’t even said thank you.

No, in light of recent events, this really has me reconsidering gifting the things I make. A piece of my heart goes in to every piece of my work. And many of the past recipients don’t deserve a piece of my heart. I have ended up regretting it. I don’t want to do that anymore.

So please, for your own sake… Don’t do what I have done. Make sure that if you’re going to be investing all that time and money into a gift you want to make for somebody, think long and hard whether or not they’re worth it. Will you regret it? Is there a remote chance? If your gut is telling you yes, then save yourself and listen to it.

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12 thoughts on “Gifting Your Work: Think it through before you’re too generous

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I am but a newbie crocheter but I believe I can relate. It’s the same with anything you make for somebody else, it’s special and you hope at the very least they’ll wear/use it a couple of times before putting it away. Thanks for the caution. I hope you’ll have better gifting experiences moving forward.

    • I know I’m going to be VERY selective about who gets a handmade gift from me, that’s for sure. I was angry when I initially thought of writing this post (and I’m sure it came out), but I wanted to help others think things through. I’ve got a few comments on my Facebook page too with other artists saying the exact same thing. Hopefully when those gifts aren’t there anymore, it’ll be an awakening to those who took them for granted.

      • Yes, I think that if you don’t do it often say, just once in a blue moon, it won’t be taken for granted. Keep creating beautiful things anyways, it’s their loss, not yours 🙂

  2. I understand and agree with you wholeheartedly. I always feel that when I give a gift of my crochet the least they could do is allow me to see it worn at least once! ONCE is all I ask
    …………..and I don’t believe that is asking too much…

  3. I am right with you! It is sad to take the time to make something you hope will be useful or possibly loved and used until it is worn out only to find it has been tossed out. *SIGH*

    But the times someone is truly touched or tells you many times they love it – or you actually see them using/wearing it even when they didn’t plan to see you is totally worth it to me 🙂

    • I agree! Like this evening for example. I took my son to see the Minion Movie. We had our hats on and he had his toys I made for him in tow. A girl at the snack bar told me that she had seen a boy in within the past week with one. She told me that he had just got it last week at his birthday party. Well, didn’t I just so happen to make one for my son to give to his friend at his birthday party last weekend! That totally made my day!

  4. I have learned this lesson well. I’m very choosy who gets my hand made stuff. Very few select people and they are the ones that cherish all the time and love that went into it. The exception to this was when my son was an exchange student. His host moms each got a hug from as a shawl. But they all loved them and still rant and rave over the gifts.

  5. Yeah, I have a hard time saying no. Lately, it seems to work if I agree to help, if that person goes online and finds the pattern and then goes to the yarn store and purchases the yarn themselves. Thus far, I’ve never heard from any of these people on the subject again.

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