Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Handmade gifts -- Something I forgot to mention

There is the risk when giving something handmade to someone, that your gift may be cast off as trash. Hopefully the recipient of the gift has enough good manners not to let you know that they plan to regift it, use it as a trash recepticle or fire starter. But if not, you may face the severe negative emotions of rejection.

Pop psychology says that you have a choice in your reaction when this happens. You don't have to feel hurt, rejected, depressed or suicidal, when the object that you invested yourself, your time, creativity and resources in is re gifted, cast off or disdained. (They don't know much about human nature, do they!)

On the other hand, the Material world view (aka. Carl Rogers and Abe Maslow) says that your reaction is programmed into your psychy and you have no choices and no free will. That free will is an illusion. Your highest end is to self actualize so if other people are getting in the way, triggering negative emotions by rejecting your gifts, you should remove the offending object from your life and continue in your quest to meet your highest good -- develop your full potential. Lots of divorces have been caused by this kind of thinking, while lots of selfish people are self absorbed in self actualization.

The Christian worldview, on the other hand, demands that you love those who hate you and pray for those who despitefully use you. And that although your natural inclination is to withdraw and protect yourself from future hurt, your duty is to continue to love and give, without thinking of yourself. This is a high ideal, but impossible without some supernatural help, since we are born sinful, and selfish, as every mother of a two year old can confirm.

My view is that when you buy a gift for someone you are only giving them money. A person can always make more money, so giving a money gift is just an exchange of goods. Pretty safe and rejection free for the giver and the receiver's response to the gift doesn't matter. The obligation to give a gift in exchange for a gift received, has been met. End of story.

But when you give a handmade gift it is costing you not just money, although that is involved, too, but also your time and all your talents and skills that you've honed over the decades of your life. So when that gift is rejected or regifted it is very personal. You can never make the time that you invested back. Once time is spent its gone forever.

The rejection of a handmade gift is the rejection of the person who gave it. The rejection felt is proportional to the importance of the person to whom the gift was created for, in the giver's life. And if that person was a close family member, the giver must be a very strong person not be feel crushed beyond hope.

In December, I shared with you that our family tradition is to give handmade gifts. But I failed to warn you of the possibility that your gift might be received with disdain and rejection. I'm sorry if I led you down the wrong path, and feel personally responsible for your hurt if your gift was rejected. I should have added that it is very important that you choose the recipient of your handmade gift carefully.

Those who would disdain a quality, handmade gift, created with skill and love, aren't worthy of your priceless time. That's who gift cards were created for.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post. I've been creating and giving hand-made gifts ever since I can remember. Oooo, I have some stories of rejected or abused gifts! It's taken me 40 years to kind of figure it out, and I still miss sometimes, but now I do consider verrrrry carefully when I decide to make a gift for someone. A hand made gift is super special, and it is rather like giving a bit of one's soul to the receiver. Luckily, I have many more success stories than failures, and friends who tell me many many years later that they still have/use/cherish that gift I made for them so long ago.