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Every year for Holidays we deal with the eternal dilemma - what to buy? There's usually not enough time left to think so mom gets a wallet from Walmart, sister gets some kind of a perfume, and dad gets a bottle of liquor just like every year before that. It is time to end the Holiday stereotypes, to move our personal boundaries, and to give something our (great)grandmas would give themselves - handmade gifts. You can easily make them yourself or buy them from someone that made them with their own hands. With love. And that is not just a phrase, trust me.
Handmade is more personal
When you give a handmade gift to someone, it's like you wrote a letter to that person. It's personal, intimate, it speaks volumes about how much you care for that person. You didn't just stop by the first accessories store and bought you girlfriend earrings that every other High school girl has. You bought unique handmade earrings made of curled wire with her favorite stone. You didn't send an e-mail, you wrote a letter.
At the same time, you're not even aware that those same earrings have their own story. They've been made by someone that enjoyed making them, and their love is engraved into the product. Therefor, these earrings are already spreading positive energy. They were not made by a machine or by an underpaid citizen of a Third World country. Carefully selected material, detailed technique, and "quality before quantity" principle definitely guarantee a long life for handmade items.
When you're buying a handmade gift, you contact the manufacturer directly, it is possible to make personal arrangements regarding the way and time of delivery, without waiting in the line of a gigantic superstore, without having to deal with nervous cashiers or their fake smiles. Besides, artist will appreciate your feedback about their product even more than your money.
Meaning for the artists
Most of the creatives didn't start creating because of money, but because of the pure enjoyment that they get out of it. Most of them have their daily jobs, while the handmade "business" is usually reserved for spare time. We all want to do for living something we enjoy doing, but if you buy mass production items it is not very likely you will help anyone's dream come true. It is more likely you will only help those big corporations get even bigger and give them even more power to abuse their employees even more. But if you buy handmade items from individuals, that put their own hands and talent into it, you're helping them to get a step closer to keeping their dream alive. It means that you support their work and creativeness, which makes you a co-creator of the new economic wave.
It is very important to highlight that the new wave of artists is very focused on recycling and renewing old items, which is extremely important for the society in general. For example, you could end up buying a gorgeous purse made out of used fabric or a pendant decorated with post stamps from the last century. To make a handmade gift you don't need heavy industry, which helps to lower the emission of poison gasses. Don't forget the human rights as well. When buying a handmade product you know exactly whose work it is that you're buying, you know there's not a factory that's exploiting children standing behind that product.
Keeping the tradition alive
Lets go back to our (great)grandmas from the beginning of this post. They would most definitely leave their grandchildren beautifully packed scarf underneath the Christmas tree - the scarf they made themselves. Why don't you try the same thing? Or maybe something similar? The investment is minimal, all that it takes is a little of your time, love and imagination. But the result will be very much appreciated.
Be the inspiration to others, especially to younger generations. Familiarize them with the emptiness of soulless mass produced things, and show them the world of creative expression, where they will learn to value their own, and others work and talent.
What are some of the best gifts you ever received? Were they personalized gifts or mass production items? What made you remember these gifts? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.