In my family we would buy gifts for people secretly, we pretended that we were not going to get anything for them at all, but through stealth and detective work we would find out what they would appreciate most and then seek it out for them, or we would purchase something that we wanted them to have, irregardless of whether we knew that they would like it or not. Playing down all the effort that it took to find the exact thing that fit the bill was always the order of the day. Now, in my husband's family they ask you right out what do you want.
"What do you want for Christmas then?"
And you are supposed to tell them exactly what you want and what shop it can be bought in. You then receive the gift you ordered wrapped up as if it were a suprise. Where is the fun in that? And of course there is the dilemma of what to say when you are asked... I mean the honest response to the annual question would be something along the lines of .... new double glazing on the house please, or I could do with changing the car ... but of course you can't say stuff like that. So you have to think about not only how much money you think the person asking you has got to spend, but also how much money are they prepared to spend on you...!! Very difficult and potential for disappointment is HUGE.
Well bearing all this in mind, this year, I decided that the real point of gift giving is exactly that... The Giving of the gift is important, not what the gift is. Of course if someone gets it perfectly right and you are given something that is both a suprise, a thing of beauty and precisely what you wanted or needed, then that is absolutely wonderful and it does make you think more highly of the giver - so you see the gift reflects the giver as much, if not more than the 'givee' if you see what I mean. With this in mind, I have chosen items to make for gifts with each person in mind, some of them I know will be viewed rather cursorily and put aside with very little thought. Perhaps even the comment "I don't wear this type of item" and of course they will be missing the point.
Most of the gifts I made are knitted, some are sewn, and some are items of food. While making them, I spent a great deal of time thinking about the person for whom they were intended. And some of the items took quite a while to make - I remembered funny things the person said to me in the past. Sometimes I thought about the difficulties that person has faced in life and often I tried to match the gift to their personality, the colour chosen, the style, the stitches... a labour of love you might say. Sadly, I KNOW that you can buy these items for less than a quarter of what it cost me to buy the raw materials to make them, and that does not account for the hours of work that went into the making... and for that reason, they will be discarded as if they were items bought for this amount of money... which does make me sad, but that's ok I guess, because I have already decided that it's about the giver not the receiver of the gift, and the pleasure that I gained from planning and executing the making and wrapping of their gifts was enormous!
Now I can't give the game away because some of the people for whom I made gifts read my blog, but here are a few things I made this year...
Chocolate Liqueur! I am off today to seek out appropriate bottles for it... it tastes absolutely wonderful... (Recipe will be forthcoming after Christmas!)
This is one of my favourite gifts... and I made it for me!
I had some wool left over from a slightly larger project and so as a test of the pattern I made one sock. I liked it so much I had to go and buy some more wool to make the second one.
Now I have some of the wool left from that project and I am tempted to make another one... The wool reminds me of Jelly Tots... all those lovely little jewel like colours... and of course the pom poms are a bit of fun...
These are slipper socks which I made for my step mother...
they had to be blue. All her life everything has to be blue. It is her favourite colour and now that she is 83 she still loves blue! I can't imagine loving the same colour for that length of time... my favourite shades have changed with the passing of the years. Sadly my step mother went into a nursing home just last week and is not settling in too well... old age can be very sad. I think she would have appreciated the socks but I am not sure she will know that I made them for her. It doesn't matter, I learned a lot of new stitches while making them, and I thought a great deal about her. That is the point!
Some of my close family are not in the UK this Christmas, in fact we will have a very quiet house, which is a bit unusual for us. It means that we will have to try very hard to 'feel' the Christmas spirit this year. I am hoping that the simplicity of my Christmas Gifts will help with that.