Keep on Giving

Dear Reader,

When was the last time that you gave someone a handmade gift? Handmade gifts were a staple of my childhood. I even remember in grade school that sometimes around the holidays, the art project would be holiday themed and intended to be a gift for a parent.

As an adult, handmade gifts always seemed a bit childish to me—expect in the case of artists, craftsmen, or other skilled professionals. Anything I make by hand looks so obviously like it was made by hand. All of my crafts are literally rough around the edges with little mistakes mixed in. In short, the things I make by hand generally ought not be gifted.

Christmas is fast approaching and I am still getting gifts together. Some gifts are easy, as some family members have ‘recurring’ gifts—for me, I can count on someone wanting lottery tickets every year. Others are more challenging, because the family member is silent on the topic of gifts or because what they want is way out of my price range. Still others are nearly impossible. Some people are hard to please, however at the same time sometimes we just don’t listen. Sometimes I don’t listen and get things wrong. However, this year, I will finally get this gift right.

I have a family member who asked for a handmade gift. My schedule is generally pretty busy, so handmade gifts to me just sound like a bunch more work. I knew this request was coming, the request comes annually but it’s just so hard for me to put in effort for something l am not interested in doing. This year, I did have some extra time so I adjusted my mindset and became eager to start on the project.

I set out to write a short story of this family member. I drafted a short adventure tale. It reads like a kid’s book and looks a little like a comic—but with stick figures rather than expert drawings. Each page has one to three simple sentences as well as a drawing in colored pencil. To make up for my mediocre artistic skills I threw in as much humor into the tale as possible. I must say I spent a lot of time on this little project. I tried to complete chunks of it in one-sitting which left me very hungry and dehydrated. Like all of my other works, this one was rough around the edges, yet amusing.

At the end of the day, a gift is about the recipient. While it would have been much easier for me to buy something, this would just have been a waste of my own money if it wasn’t what my family member wanted. Even though this was a long (and surprisingly arduous) project, it was well worth it. I did have a good time making the little book. I also love that I got to see it from start to finish—from a few little notes on my iPhone to a colored and (crudely) self-laminated production. This little gift already brought me joy. Dear Reader, the absolute best gifts are the ones that keep on giving.



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