Teacher’s gifts

After school yesterday, the children finished their teacher’s present, in time to take into school today. Felted snowman tree decoration and snowman soup. All homemade by them.

As I was helping them, and left to wrap the gifts up (Hmm! and photo late at night!), I couldn’t help wondering if their teachers would like a gift made by them or something I’d bought from the shops. It’s a repeating thought for me around this time. To such an extent that I find it difficult to make anything for anyone who lives beyond the walls of our home. I do, but I’m not confident. I receive very few handmade gifts, which makes me wonder if I’m dancing to a different beat. Would family and friends all prefer shop bought?

Then two things happened this morning. Walking to school, I met a friend who said that she had something for me. She handed me a jar of her homemade brandy mincemeat, made from the apples that I had given her. This is a friend who handmakes. She understands homemade and knows how much I would appreciate such a lovely gift. And I do.

This brings up the extra question about whether I should limit my handmade gifts to those who hand make.

I continued on to school and was greeted by my son’s teacher. She had a photo that she wanted to show me. Did I have time? I followed her into class. On her mobile phone she had a photo of two of the apple sauce cinnamon tree decorations that I had made with her class. She had decorated these herself and the photo showed them on her tree at home, twinkling in the fairy lights. They looked so pretty and she looked so happy. This is a new craft project for her. She waxed lyrically about the fragrance. It struck me that this was another case where handmade had been enjoyed. I feel more confident that she will like my son’s handmade gift.

I love to make gifts. I do it for many reasons. Probably the most important is that as I craft, I have time to think kind thoughts about the person it is intended for. Out shopping I’m rushed and liable to impulse purchases. This year, I am probably doing less hand making, which I am relaxed about. I’m sure that there must be a name for this hand making anxiety running up to Christmas. Maybe I’ve needed to do less making because I’ve really enjoyed going into school and helping them with their craft activities this term. I’ve helped two classes to make bath bombs as gifts for their families and one class with the apple sauce cinnamon tree decorations.

So what do you do? Do you hand make for all? Is there a category of people who you would never, ever dream of doing anything but shopping for?

7 thoughts on “Teacher’s gifts

  • Friday 16 December, 2011 at 9:15 pm
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    I started to handmake gifts due to lack of funds, and like you I was sometimes not very confident about giving a handmade gift………..but now my family and friends will actually ask for something handmade and I find that something that began through necessity has become such an important part of my life, I love to make things and I’m grateful that my family enjoy the gifts they receive. I do buy gifts for the children of the family in the form of toys, books and games and sometimes add a little handmade gift too.

    Your childrens handmade felt snowman and snowman soup are lovely and I’m sure their teacher’s appreciated the effort and hard work your littleone’s put into the gifts they gave.

    lily x

    • Friday 16 December, 2011 at 10:48 pm
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      Oh Lily, you are in a happy place! I so hope I reach that point!

      I love the things that my children make. I find it is so difficult to let them give them away. Each of the children came home with Christmas crafting that they made in school, so hopefully the teachers will appreciate the little felted snowmen.

  • Saturday 17 December, 2011 at 3:56 pm
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    As you know I hand make a lot of my gifts, mainly because I love to do it and I value the effort and time that goes in to it….I do make for others too, teachers, friends and family and on the whole I have only ever felt appreciated for it. I do hear comments from others sometimes that make me pause…a collegue said their child would throw them out if they gave them a knitted blanket for Christmas (Sam’s special request this year)….but ultimately I think it is them that are missing out if they don’t see the magic of a homemade gift and I am proud that my son sees the work and love that has gone into his present…Keep doing what you love, with love and I am sure everyone who is lucky enough to recieve will be touched by the effort you have made…and if they are not you could always send it to me! 😀

  • Tuesday 20 December, 2011 at 9:36 pm
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    Please keep handmaking gifts, Cheryl, when you feel like doing it, of course! I am sure that your gifts are always much appreciated 😀

    My children’s teachers and other helpers usually receive handmade gifts from us, often soaps and bath salts in the summer, preserves at Christmas. This autumn we made batches of plum and damson jam which were delivered last week. They were still talking about the quince jelly of last year, which went down a treat.

    Making things is just a completely different dimension – it’s wonderful. Handmade things are made with love, and that always works at Christmas, I am sure.

  • Monday 9 January, 2012 at 11:27 am
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    I found your site through a search for homemade gift ideas. I’ve had to make the vast majority of gifts for family, friends and teachers for years now. Like you I have always felt a kind of built in apology went along with them, but I have never had less than an enthusiastic reception and people do indeed start asking both how to make things themselves and if they can have the same next time 🙂 Home made edibles of a stonking good recipe, like fudge and marmalade (and your snowman drink) blow all bought equivilents out of the water for taste and people very soon appreciate that they are not getting ‘cheap’ replacements for bought goods, but gourmet and designer products. My eldest daughter had two handwritten thank you notes from her teachers this year for the homemade sweets she gave them. I too don’t get much in the way of handmade gifts, but I really think its because people think I could make it myself so it becomes a ‘coals to Newcastle’ worry for them. My sister though has caught on and this year gave me a scarf she beaded herself and some runes made from the branch of a tree that was special to both of us. Irreplaceable and wonderful.

    • Tuesday 10 January, 2012 at 1:32 pm
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      Since Christmas, I have had some lovely and encouraging feedback. I need to remember these! Ready for next time. I know what you mean about apology going with the present. I’ve been known to slip a shop bought item in with the present, just to make it better! Crazy, I know! I had not thought about the idea that people would be put off making for me, as I am able to make. Your handmade gifts sound lovely and unique.

  • Sunday 15 January, 2012 at 12:57 pm
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    I have been barred – as in explicitly prohibited – from giving anything handmade to my mother or my sister. This is largely because they were the recipient of too many of my early projects, which were enthusiastic but didn’t always turn out so well… This does give me an added glow whenever they praise anything homemade, without realising that I made it myself. (Recently, a homemade dress and a pair of knitted mittens).

    Most of my homemade presents now go to my little cousins (7 and 9), who surprisingly enough appreciate the time and effort a lot more than I expected. Most recent project – homemade advent calendar of 25 embroidered miniature stockings. Result: big hugs and lots of kisses! In return, they draw beautiful pictures for me to put on my wall.

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