This post is going to address two separate issues, relating to the holiday season. I want people's honest opinions on this.
The other day Michelle forwarded to me a Dear Abby column that infuriated her and her friend Cindy. After I read it, I was upset too. Then I started to feel embarrassed and insecure.
The letter was written by a woman, who said that, for the past 5 years, she and her niece have been making holiday cards to send to special family and friends. Her niece was 9 when they started this tradition, and both look forward to it each year. At some point last year, the woman received a letter and a check from one of the handmade card recipients, telling them that the money was so that they could afford to buy "real Christmas cards", instead of sending cheap, handmade cards. The woman was hurt, mostly for her niece, that anyone would ever do something so boorish. She inquired with other people and found out that many people think that handmade cards are considered "cheap". She was asking Abby for her opinion. Abby, of course, sided with the woman and her niece. Abby also told the woman to return the check to the jerk that sent it, and strike their name off every card list.
I've been doing crafts as long as I can remember. My mom had to keep her only child busy somehow, and since she was good at needlework and drawing and doing crafty stuff (but didn't indulge in it that often), it seemed like a natural progression for me to enjoy it too. Michelle and Cindy have also been making stuff since they were kids too. Because we understand the time it takes to make things, we appreciate receiving handmade items too. I love it.
But then I started to feel insecure about my handmade cards. From my point of view, they actually 'cost' more than
boring generic boxed cards, when you take into account the cost of all the papers, ribbons and decorations, plus the time it takes, and the extra postage it costs for being heavier with bulky things on them. For me, it takes about an hour to make 2 cards. Maybe people roll their eyes when they see another creation from me? Please let me be clear, no one has ever complained about getting a homemade card. In fact, a couple of years ago I sent Autumn a funny store-bought birthday card, and she complained b/c she looked forward to her annual handmade card. Colour me surprised!
The other item that I've heard is a way to 'cheap out' on the holidays, is the Gift Card. Personally I LOVE getting gift cards. I do. My boss is big on the gift card and I love him for it. He knows my interests. I'm not gonna turn my nose up at a gift card from Artco Crafts, or Stanley & Seaforts Restaurant, or Shipwreck Beads. They sell gift cards everywhere now. I remember 'back in the day' when you had to go to the actual store to buy one. Now you can get them in Safeway or Fred Meyer, for tons and tons of online stores and real stores. I think gift cards are an acceptable gift, especially if you know the person well. Debby loves getting Home Depot gift cards b/c she and her husband are still renovating their house. I think that the gift card also gives you a chance to go to a store you may not normally visit, and not have to spend your own money. I'm sure one can find something to use the card on (Think: Bed, Bath and Beyond).
What say you? Handmade cards and Gift Cards: Cheap or Acceptable?