Gift giving, the thought is not all that counts.

IMG_0886In a world where there are so many in need of food, warmth, and shelter, it is up to the giver to gift responsibly. Intent will never be of greater value than a gift received by one who truly benefits from it.

There are many reasons a person creates items that end up in charity boxes. I personally find knitting, crochet, etc. helps relieve my stress. However I would not want something that helps reduce my stress to become the thing that causes someone else stress. An act of compassion, love, or charity should come unburdened by expectation. Yet, society seems to demand that well-meaning gifts be accepted with meekness, even when the gifts cause burden or harm.

Year after year, well-meaning people gift friends and family with the handmade items, many also donate hats, scarves, and blankets to charitable causes with the hope that their efforts will bless the lives of the recipients. Each year, I read social media the complaints made by disappointed givers who find that their gifts have not been received with gratitude or with excitement. This is a reality in the world of handmade gifts. These posts are usually accompanied by comments of support for the gift-giver, and the general criticism for those who do not accept the gift with glee, or at least with feigned pleasure.

This year I have seen something new – an attack on a recipient who found the receipt of charity to be a burden, and who was rightfully justified in their feelings. Justification did little to mitigate the condemnation they received.

In the years following the U.S. decision to pursue military action in Afghanistan, there have been many charitable organizations dedicated to sending care-packages to troops serving far from home. In the early years, sending a box to “any service member” would get a package delivered to some random service member. Safety, security, and practicality have ended such deliveries. Now for such charitable deliveries to be received, an actual recipient’s name is required. Unfortunately, this means that organizations need a recipient, and it seems they are not worried about gaining the permission of the recipient before sending the care-package.

There are many reasons that the unsuspecting recipient might find it problematic to receive unsolicited gifts, but when their name is used by a charitable organization as the end point of 20, 30, 40 or more packages, there is little doubt that they would have a problem. The charity might envision a gleeful recipient acting as Santa as they hand out package after package to associates, but not all service members are in situations where they can do this.

Local, national, and international charities all seem to agree that random donations are problematic and not nearly the blessing that monetary funds provide. Sending unsolicited items and care-packages often cost time, energy, and money. The act of charity becomes the opposite – it becomes a burden.

Charity and gift-giving should not cause hardship or stress for the recipient. It is not just the thought that counts. The very basis for giving a gift is the rooted in a caring for another person, even a stranger. The joy of making a gift will never compare to knowing that gift is welcomed. Therefore, responsible gift-giving is paramount.

Saith Me… Artisan’s Wisdom

Developing a good relationship with your tools is so very key to success. An understanding of the nuances of your tools brings accuracy, contrary to what the salesperson at the shop might try to tell you. This understanding, this relationship you might say, only comes through practice.
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Saith Me… Lumps and Bumps and Even Patches

Handspun yarn is much like life. The beauty is found in the lumps and bumps as well as in the smooth sections.

 

Spinning and knitting in small scale can be a fun way to try out new ideas. Working with small gauge needles when the hands no longer cooperate all the time can be a challenge, but I am learning to embrace that challenge. The speed and dexterity of my youth may be long gone, but patience and determination have become my companions.

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Doll Sweaters 02

Artisans and Their Worth

Too often artisans are viewed as having less worth than their mechanical counterparts. In truth, an artisan is not only someone who can create an item of practicality and beauty, but they are often the keepers of the history of the craft they love. Their work is priceless, even when they do place a price tag on it. Handcrafted should never be devalued, nor should people be surprised when a lovely piece of work is priced much higher than the average person might wish to pay. Whether it is the hobbyist or the professional, handcrafted work is much more than just an average mass produced item found in a retail store.

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Fiber Arts – It is Therapy

What other kind of therapy produces a final product in addition to providing health benefits?

What other therapy can be shared so readily with others without stigma or a doctor’s pre-activity approval?

So in a way, we are not only on the receiving end of therapeutic treatment but we are also becoming the therapist!

 

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