Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 19, 2010

Cheap or Acceptable?

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?


  1. Speaking for myself, I love getting homemade cards.I'm terrible at even sending shop bought cards so I appreciate the effort that goes into a personally made card. I think, when you do them as you do, that you can tailor them to the personality of the recipient too, which is an added touch :-)

    Giftcards are wonderful too..especially if they allow me to buy books I wouldn't be able to get normally. Our supermarket sells them for a lot of online and 'normal' stores so (in theory) it's easy to pick them up through the year

  2. I ADORE the handmade cards I get from my friend, Rosie. They are like little bits of art. I save every single one of them. Anyone who would suggest they are cheap, clearly has NO clue what the cost involved can be. I used to make them also, I have gotten lazy over the years and as ashamed as I am to say this, I do not even send out cards because I will not use the cheap mass produced cards. I think I might just have to make a few now.. this has me wanting to.

    As for gift cards, hell YES I love them. Sometimes I prefer not to give one because I love shopping for gifts, but for a few people, it is just not possible to choose the right thing, since they have EVERYthing.. lol But no matter what, I LOVE getting them.

  3. OK good, I thought so too! For my b-day, my dear friends Angie and Michelle got me gift certificates to 2 online shops I've never been to and I cannot wait to check them out. I was so surprised and excited to get them!!

    Handmade stuff rocks. That's all there is to it.

  4. angie4:21 PM

    joanne, i love your handmade cards. i don't have time to make my own (esp since i make other handmade gifts for xmas), and i therefore refuse to buy the boring, boxed ones. people deserve better! the only time i don't enjoy gift cards is when the person choosing it clearly has no understanding of who i am...then it becomes clear they have no idea! but amazon, craft stores, online art those. and henri loves home depot because he can wander happily around and choose something.

  5. Anonymous5:00 PM

    Ditto on what Eliza said about the handmade cards.

    As far as gift cards go, I much rather give my rarely seen niece and nephew a gift card from their favorite clothing store than even begin to think of a gift they might like or use. Their parents do the same for my kids, and the kids love it.

  6. JoJo your homemade cards are a treasure!

    As for gift cards....I love them, I'm hoping I get one from my favorite store (Target) this year.

  7. I LOVE handmade gifts cards!Not only have you put in money BUT time and effort--and my Pagan self says,a little bit of yourself. YOu know what pisses me off?Store bought cards with barely a signature on the inside or WORSE the ones that are photos on one side and inkjet printed names on the other side w/ some generic greeting---also printed via mass printing machine.

    And giftcards???Freakin' awesome!!!!I like any of them---food,retail,online,any of them.

  8. Anonymous3:46 AM

    Love both homemade cards and giftcards.

  9. Anonymous3:47 AM

    Sorry JoJo, that was me Elka in the last comment.

  10. I ADORE your cards, which are the only home-made ones I seem to get nowadays. They are true works of art. This year Mr Blue - yummy! (I just had to take him down temporarily 'cos the window fitter is here and he was in danger of damaging my hunk, but he'll be back as soon as possible.)

    As for gift cards, I'd MUCH rather get them than some expensive thing I have no interest in.

  11. Anonymous12:19 PM

    I made my own cards just ONCE; and it cost far more - in terms of love, time, effort AND money! - than buying them from a store.

    You make beautiful things Jojo, all of which are perfectly acceptable!

  12. not only acceptable, but i look forward to them; they are made with love; you take your time to customize and decorate each card and they are beautiful. much more heartfelt than plain-old-store-bought-cards.

  13. Maybe I have a very low self-esteem. Or maybe I am an EXTREME patron of the Arts.

    But I think of hand made cards as a beautiful ego-boost and an outright I-LOVE-YOU from someone who actually took an hour of their lives to make ME something!!!

    And not just that, but the talent that your cards display is absolutely stunning, and far far out-weighs anything on a fucking shelf in a store!! I'm pissed that you actually had to post this, dammit.

    That woman who sent the money....someone should send her money to buy a heart. Then again, money can't buy appreciation of beauty.

  14. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Wow, I can't even believe someone could be so insensitive as to send a check and request store bought cards. I had commented on your post about your homemade cards and how I would frame any one of them. That still stands. I consider them an original work of art, and the time and love put into each of them is priceless. No one ever hints at what they want at Christmas so I fall back on giving out the gift cards. At my grocery store, there are tons of choices and I get money off to buy myself gas for my's a win-win. Not to worry! You keep right on crafting your Christmas cards and I bet no one would ever request a store bought one!

  15. Both are great! (presuming the gift cards are from a desirable source)

    I even enjoy cheesy Xmas family newsletters, although only a couple of my friends still take the time & effort to create 'em...

  16. I so wish I'm artistic and can create wonderful homemade gift cards! I envy those talented artists who could. However, there are others who have different opinions and point of views about receiving cards. Each individual is different and that's just one small part of the big difference. There are individuals who are grounded whose two feet are flat on the ground. But there are ones who hover high up who think they're flying. Sometimes it's too late for them to realize that they're actually falling face-flat. The important thing to consider is that we all arrived naked in this world. AND we're leaving with nothing as well. Cheap and expensive stuff can never be brought to our final destination.