Thursday, February 10, 2011

PSA Thursday.

I know, I still have to finish my engagement story. But I'm not going to do it today. Don't get too wound up, now. I'll finish it all in good time. And it'll be so worth it. It'll make you laugh, cry, and run out of the house and spin around in the rain with your arms spread out, yelling, "Wheeeee!"

But not today.

No, today I woke up and I looked out the window at the freshly fallen 1/8" of snow and I thought to myself, Today looks like a public service announcement kind of day.

So here goes. My public service announcement:

I was talking to a friend yesterday and she mentioned that she was bummin'. And (being the ever-compassionate friend that I am) I said, "Why?" She told me it wasn't a big deal, that she was probably being silly, but then she explained that she had recently hand-made a gift for a friend of hers. She'd put a lot of thought and time into it and she'd been so pleased with how it turned out. "But when I gave it to her," she said, "she didn't even act like she liked it. She was like, 'Huh. Thanks'."

Her story reminded me of a time (when I was much younger) that my family was going through some financial struggles. My mom was invited to a baby shower for a church friend she'd known for years, and she wanted to give her something nice but didn't have a lot of money. So you know what she did? She painted a gorgeous watercolor of a child's hand being held by God's hand, with a Bible verse underneath it about how the Lord watches over little ones. My mom is a wonderful artist, and the painting came out beautifully. I'm not just saying this because I love my mom. She really is talented, and the painting was precious. She framed it and gave it to her friend at the shower.

Of course, you know where I'm going with this. The friend was mildly pleased... "Oh, thanks." And then upon later visits, my mom saw that she hadn't put the painting anywhere in her house. Not the nursery or the bathroom. Not even in a closet. (Well... okay. I don't think my mom checked the closets.)

My PSA, for all you folks out there who are getting married and having babies: When somebody give you a handmade gift, appreciate it. Go bonkers. Display it.

Today we've become so enamored with expensive, name-brand stuff. We've gotten to the point where we see an expensive gift and think, "A lot of love went into that." But let me tell you, handmade gifts take a lot of love - picking out the project, purchasing the supplies, thinking about what the recipient would enjoy. And not to mention - they take time. I recently bought a cross-stitch kit for a Christmas stocking to make for Brian. I was convinced I could order it in October and get it done by Christmas. Did I finish the stocking by Christmas? Did I finish the reindeer's FACE in time for Christmas?

NOPE! I have put dozens of hours into that stocking and I'm not even a quarter of the way finished. If I had received it as a gift, I would have thought the giver had spent a mere few weeks on it (and I guarantee you I would have appreciated it, but beside the point), but I would have been wrong about the time put into it. Handmade gifts, whether they're clothes or blankets or stockings or wall-hangings, take a lot more time than we realize. And handmade time equals love, in a more precious way than money=time=love.

Do you see what I mean?

So when someone gives you a gift that they made, show them that they've made you feel like a million bucks. And display their work, too. Wear the jewelry. Hang the painting. Put the throw pillow on your couch, for Pete's sake!

In fact, do what my brother- and sister-in-law did this Christmas. I had wrapped a gift for their brand-new baby girl - nothing special, just a few toys I'd bought on Amazon - and on the top of the package I'd attached a Christmas ornament that I had made. It was really simple, just a flat piece of clay in the shape of a teddy bear with a little face and my niece's name and birth date. (I suppose I'm going against my whole point about handmade gifts take lots of time, but this really hadn't taken a whole lot of time. I still put love into it, though.) And my brother in law held it up and went, "WOW! Did you make this?" And I nodded, and my sister-in-law said, "I can't believe you made that! That is so cute! Thank you so much!" And my brother-in-law said, "Seriously. Just that alone would have been an awesome gift."

And you know what? That made me feel like a million bucks.

So go forth, and do the same thing. --- End of announcement. ---



  1. that is crazy! i would have loved that painting!!!

  2. A good message, Maegan! The problem is that everything is so convenient for us nowadays, especially with machines and robots that people do not realize how much work and love goes into something handmade. Many people do not make things themselves, so they do not appreciate the effort and time it takes. Maybe that should be a requirement in life? :-)