Make it Personal
A wedding, an anniversary, a graduation, a new baby, a retirement or birthdays are very special occasions. Searching for something unique can be challenging. It is so worth going that extra mile to find the perfect gift. It does not have to be expensive. Thoughtful gestures of love and affection can be simple. It can be homemade. It can be second hand. Make it personal. A keepsake to be cherished and not likely forgotten. Think of how wonderful the feeling to know you picked the right gift can be.
Homemade gifts are most always welcome. I love a gift that was created especially for me. It is greatly appreciated by most everyone. If it is not, then nothing you give that person would ever do. I try not to bother those poor souls with one of my creations. It only brings myself sadness to think I couldn’t please them.
Make something new from old family treasures.
Losing loved ones right and left seemed like a nightmare back in 2003. My dad, my brother, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends gone in a blink of an eye one by one as cancers or heart disease took them from us. My dear Aunt Eloise was beside herself with grief to be the last of her siblings and to make things worse she lost a daughter in law that meant the world to her.
My mom and I spent a great deal of time with Aunt Eloise after that to help ease her loneliness and help her do things she couldn’t do herself. It was that year that she gave me a huge amount of fabric that was left behind by my Grandma Sadie. We lost Grandma Sadie in 1972.
Vintage fabric meant for quilts or rag rugs, yards and yards of it, some just bits and pieces, never being sewn into anything. I couldn’t let it be discarded or kept without sharing any longer. I began to find ways to use it. I covered photo albums for special events. Enclosed I would make sure the receiver knew where the fabric had come from. It became a ritual to me. A wedding gift made with pieces of grandma’s fabric, trimmed with parts of the invitation and ribbons or lace or whatever décor I could find. Silk flowers, pictures cut from greeting cards, fabric foam paint, old costume jewelry, beads and sequences, all kinds of things worked well for these unique masterpieces. There were a few doilies that grandma made I could add to the gift. It was personal, it was unique, a keepsake to be remembered. Or at least that was the idea.
One Christmas I covered an album with Christmas fabric I had gotten at a variety store. I filled it with old childhood pictures for my daughter. Her husband was laid up with a broken pelvis that Christmas and she was expecting a baby. She told me that gift was the best she had ever received at a time when she needed something to lift her spirits.
Baby showers were also a great place to give a covered photo album as a gift. Before the age of the digital camera came along the gesture was well accepted and filled with great memories as the baby took his first step and other noted occasions.
Yummy homemade treats make wonderful gifts.
My husband Bill had picked blackberries, and many were in the freezer after he passed away in 2014. I made jam from those blackberries and the following year gave the family a special gift. Topped with some holiday fabric and ribbon everyone was pleased with the idea.
Jams, jellies, apple butter, pickles and relishes make for great gifts. You can’t go wrong with most any kind of a treat. Goodie boxes filled with homemade cookies, candies, breads, and such are always welcome. Perhaps add a copy of the recipe you prepared.
My maternal grandma Katherine Rood made each family on her list a goodie box for Christmas each year. Homemade goodies along with mittens, potholders and coloring books not only were greatly appreciated but the memories of it have lasted for decades to come. Any thoughtful gift comes with wonderful memories.
A special moment in a picture makes a great gift.
The year was 2012 and the 50th anniversary of the long running western classic The Virginian was being celebrated in Olive Branch, Mississippi at the Memphis Film Festival- A gathering of the guns 4. Thanks to my son Jason and his wife Amy I got to attend that event. This year, my daughter Sarah had the picture I had taken of James Drury and I put on slate. What a wonderful Christmas gift and thoughtful surprise that is. Thank you, Sarah. I love it.
Make it personal that only they will appreciate.
Over the years my son, Jason had become very fond of the tv show, The Dukes of Hazzard. Long after the show went off the air, it was still entertaining to him to watch the reruns. I was blessed to have been corresponding with the old classic western stars and privileged to have meant a few of them in 2012. I acquired two 8 x 10 glossy prints of James Best (autographed) to add to my collection. James Best played Sherriff Rosco P Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard. These pictures were of Best in character along with his sidekick, basset hound, Flash. I framed one and presented it to my son on his 35th birthday. Once again, a great deal of thought went into the gift. Sadly, we lost Mr. Best in 2015.
In 2017, I found some vintage postcards and calendars online that I knew my Uncle Bob would love. It was his 85th birthday on February 13. A milestone many don’t get to see. And sadly, this was to be his last. The calendars were from 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934. He was born in 1932. The postcard was that of a special restaurant in a nearby town which held many memories of the 60s and 70s.
Whatever your talent is, you can create a thoughtful gift.
Artwork makes a thoughtful gift. Amateurs are every bit as sought after as professionals when it comes to gifts. A piece of art done by a loved one that has passed on can be handed down to the next generation with great acceptance. Get those creative juices flowing and a piece of art can be done on most any surface. Old handsaws as well as a flat rock can serve well for painted projects.
Look upon your true talents, perfection need not matter. A sewing project stitched with love. A warm knitted hat straight from the heart. A crocheted blanket done with you in mind. No number of mistakes will diminish the effect of a thoughtful handmade gift.
Even a writer/poet can come up with a gift only they can create. As the 2020 pandemic came full swing, I decided to try my luck at publishing my own poetry books. I have written hundreds of poems and the idea of collecting them into one place seemed appealing to me. Years of posting them on content sites didn’t get the audience I was looking for. I published four books and Christmas 2020 I sent these books to family and friends like I would have done greeting cards on other years.
My latest project has been personal greetings for weddings and graduations. It is a picture of the couple or graduate with a personal poem/greeting addressed to them. Unique to the receiver and the copyright belongs to me on the written piece. No two are alike. As with the covered picture albums this gift is one of a kind.
A thoughtful gift doesn’t have to be anything bought or made. A thoughtful gift can be something as simple as time itself. Time to spend with a lonely friend either in person or on the phone. A handwritten letter or text message becomes a gift every bit as special as anything else could be. Plant some flowers, mow some grass, wash a window, walk a dog, maybe a simple gesture of good deeds is the best gift of all. Be thoughtful. Think of what means something and of what may not.
My final conclusions:
We do not always have time to do homemade or we may not have the funds to buy things we think to be the perfect gift. A simple greeting takes very little time or money. If anything, these past couple of years has taught us, one thing is we all know well. Life is short. We never know when unexpected things happen. We lose track of family and friends. We get caught up in our own little world. We let life get in the way of living. It is up to us to make sure those we love; know we never forget them even when there are miles between us. Or we need to mask up and stay six feet apart.
© 2022 Diana L Pierce