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Topic MSN - BOYCOTT! ANTI-CRAFTINESS! Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By faerie_eyez On 12/19/03  

LOOK what I just found on MSN, in an article on the top 15 things not to do/give for Christmas:

"10) Gifts made by your own $40-an-hour hands
At some point, the Spirit of Frugality will pin you to the floor and tell you that the best way to save money during the holidays is to make all your gifts by hand. Resist this impulse! First of all, just because you don't have money doesn't mean you have talent. Second, handmade gifts always cost more than you think, in both time and money. My truly talented sister-in-law, Deirdre, decided to make people jewelry one year. She quit when she found out how much it was costing her in supplies, never mind the all-nighters spent stringing tiny beads."

*GASP* This is blatent anti-craftiness! It's totally biased. I say we boycott them. Who's with me???
(I should point out that I'm only half-serious here - before some of the motherly types start complaining and correcting.)

By velvet On 12/19/03  

In a way I agree with that. Some people don't appreciate a handmade gift, they think it's cheap. I ranted about this over at my blog just this morning....not that i'm bitter.


By kindarana On 12/19/03  

I hate to be snarky, but they've got a point. If you're crafting gifts just to be cheap, you shouldn't. But if you've got talent, you should. It should be something you do for fun rather than for frugality.

By schnitzle On 12/19/03  

Velvet I read your blog and I feel ya! My friend knitted me a really nice hat last year for x-mas. I really thougth it was nice, and I appeciated it, but I had NO IDEA how much the yarn cost!! I almost feel guilty now that I do know, I should have made a bigger deal out of the gift.

I posted a while ago about why the heck I was bothering to make gifts for ppl who obviously wouldn't appreciate it. Then I realized... "I craft therefore I am." ;) So while I cut way back, I am still doing some holiday crafting, because, well, I guess I WANT to. So :P to that article!


By loudxmouse On 12/19/03  

i craft because, as i say, "it keeps me off the streets"

i don't give a flying dick whether the person TRUELY likes the gift... as long as i have someone to give it away too. otherwise my room would be piled to the ceiling with scarves. my point is "it's the thought that counts", MSN be damned.

By cinderellen On 12/19/03  

It's a thorny issue. I do make some gifts every year; this year I have made about half of my gifts. I only make gifts that are as nice as I would otherwise have given, and figure that the time I put into the items is part of the gift. I then give them ONLY to those who I know will appreciate the time I put into them. For my youngest daughter who "doesn't want a bunch of made stuff" I will make only quick crafts like sewing, as I don't want to resent her reaction to something I put a lot of time into. I do want her to have a few handmade items, though. IMO a hand made gift is a gift of love (plus you can weave spells and charms into them). The crafter benefits from the loving feelings as much as the giftee. The other thing that children especially get from a handmade gift is the concept that ordinary people can make things. It makes them look at the world in a different way, even if just for a minute.

By looloo On 12/19/03  

I, myself, realized this past week how much my gifts were costing...in time and money...but I too, only make them for those that i feel will appreciate it. They should not have said "don't craft" they should have said "craft wisely"...

By seventwelve On 12/19/03  

1)I think many of us have learned the bitter lesson of only crafting for those we know will be truly appreciative.

2)I'll confess, sometimes I do do it to be cheap. I made something for the office gift exchange that was fabulously crafty, cost me less than $5, and that people loved and really wanted. But I always get screwed in those things, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money because I always end up with something crappy. Which I did. So I only feel moderately bad because I got something awful, but I didn't spend too much on my contribution, and it made somebody else really happy.

By emogee On 12/19/03  

There are a lot of people who still really appreciate hand made gifts...

I still have the baby blanket crocheted for me by a friend of my mom's...28 years ago. And I still wear the last dress my grandmother made for me before her stroke.

My mom wore the first scarf I made for her so often that it began to unravel. She brought it to me last spring and insisted I fix it (ever try to frog an inch off the starting end of a knit scarf, and try to "fix" it? lesson I learned was to leave a much longer tail at each end)

And any how, the act of crafting is usually the reward itself; the time spent working with our hands, the chance to be creative, the accomplishment of finishing a project.

So phooey to MSN :P

By misshawklet On 12/19/03  

phooey, I agree!

I agree that depending on WHAT you are crafting, it might be just as expensive to make than buy. but you have to think about WHY you are making and not buying. I personally did mostly making this year, and saved a ton of money. It takes time, but what else do I have to do at night, really? I'd rather spend the time making things than at the bar, which I do enough of anyhow.

By GranolaMom On 12/19/03  

MSN is all about pushing their consumer agenda. All of their financial support comes from online retailers. Have you ever clicked on one of their headlines? It inevitably takes you to a site to purchase something. All of their "Top Toy Gifts" were at walmart.com. YUCK!
When I see something interesting that I might like to make myself, I know I can do it less expensively. That doesn't mean it is free.

By pixiebmm On 12/19/03  

ooooo, I was appaled when I read that.My crafty hands show that I care not that I'm cheap. I made my best friend a queen sized quilt this this year, I'd like to see any purchased gift top that!

By DeborahM On 12/19/03  

Making gifts gets expensive...as stated in the artical.
It also takes much time...as stated in the artical.
If your not good at it,you may be better off not gifting...As stated in the artical.
I love handmade gifts.
I love to give them,but only if I have the time,the desire and the money to enjoy making them!

By cat_in_the_hat On 12/19/03  

I have to say that I semi-agree with the article--just not it's tone. Like, if you expect ALL your crafts to be super cheap, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Some crafts are pretty cheap and can look very professional and impressive if you're willing to take the time to do it right, but alot of them do work out to be kind of on the expensive side (especially if you are one of those people who gets into the bad habit of buying supplies for your craft that you rarely use).

And some people's crafts? Just suck. I always try to be appreciative of handmade gifts, but it's hard to be appreciative if they look ugly and are poorly made. Especially if the person giving them thinks they are just the CUTEST. THINGS. EVER.

Frankly, I don't have enough time for crafting to churn out homemade gifts for everyone I know. So, if I know someone will not appreciate a homemade gift--they don't get it one. I do think if I had kids or nieces and nephews (or any small kids in my life), I would probably make them something even if they weren't going to be ecstatic about it. All my baby blankets were made by either my mother, my grandmother, or my aunt, and even though I didn't particularly LOVE them when I was small, I really love to get them out and just look at them now and think about all the love that went into them and how lucky I am to have such wonderful relatives. Especially since my grandmother died when I was seven and I didn't really know her much at all--somehow I feel like I know her through the blanket she made me.


By ursonate On 12/19/03  

You needed that to boycott MSN? MSN should be boycotted simply because it is M$.

Besides, why make yourself crazy making stuff if you don't have the finances/inclination to make stuff. It's not for everyone and if you are not giving your handmade items to someone who makes stuff ot *understands* about making stuff, then your efforts are likely to not be appreciated anyway.

By elf power girl On 12/20/03  

what the hell?
this is really strange because msn is one of the sponsors of the diy channel and they have many little vignettes on there with everyday crafting people. this is so hypocritical.

By palestar On 12/20/03  

I find this such an interesting and never-ending topic i just had to chime in.

FIRST off, BOO-HOO to MP Dunleavey, the author of this article. It's so interesting that in THIS article she so overtly emphasizes that you should spend your time getting the most perfect present when she is ALSO the author of a much lighter article in which she actually quotes an 86 year old woman saying :

"...'Giving is a state of mind...It may cost a little. The cost is not a part of the expression, it's the DOING that counts'."

Read the anti-handmade article here: >http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/SavingandDebt/P43221.asp

Read the happy, oh when did buying presents become the focus of christmas, let's change, article here:

While I'm at it, here's another list of BOO-HOO's:

BOO-HOO to the entire dry over-mass-marketed materialistic audience that appreciated her non-handmade comment.

BOO-HOO to people who think they deserve more than a "handmade" gift. - You want a certain something? GO BUY IT YOURSELF!!

BOO-HOO to people who give a gift and expect something (or something they rate just as good) in return...they should re-visit what the definition of a gift is.

and finally a SUPER BOO-HOO to people who think my crafting gifts are a frugal no-no. Their need to fulfill their own materialistic nature by wanting me to overexpend my family's budget is selfish and undesirable. And those kind of people don't deserve my handmade love.

By ladyjane On 12/20/03  

Hi! I have a bunch of thoughts pinging around my head on this subject...

If you note fairie eyez original post, she was being partially snarky.

I wasn't aware of the diy channel having to do with msn. Really? That's really interesting and surprising to me, because...

MSN *is* very consumer-ist. The whole thing is one gigantic ad, at times.

It's kind of hard/annoying living in a consumer-ist culture. I just realized my own hypocricy here, though...I have an empty Frappucino bottle in front of me. *blush* Busted!!!

And I use hotmail. I kind of think of myself as a parasite on the back of corporate culture. Hypocricy is everywhere...I'm not sure what to make of it?

The thing I loathe about consumerist culture is that there's a "price tag" mentally attached to gifts. Somehow, hand-crafted gifts are percieved as "cheaper" and "less well-made" than store-bought gifts. Which is bogus. Depending upon the crafter or artisan, the quality can be far superior. It also bothers me that sometimes the time spent is not acknowledged (and I'm not even a crafter).

One of my most prized sweaters was a rainbow-colored sweater knitted by my gramma. I could always tell who I wanted to associate with by people's reactions. It was quite a cool sweater, and some students (I was in middle school when I first got the sweater) wanted to know where they could BUY it. Well, of course they couldn't buy it, unless they paid my gramma, and she didn't have enough yarn to make another sweater. The people who were pissed off that they couldn't BUY it are the ones I didn't want to associate with much. The weirdest reaction? Girls who thought I was lying about it being hand-knit, b/c they thought I was a greedy jealous bitch, and didn't wanna share where I bought it. (????) The whole, "I'll be your friend, ladyjane, if you tell me where you bought it." "Uh...it's handmade." "No, quit lying, where'd you buy it!??" I *seriously* don't understand people like that! I just don't get it. I mean, I feel like a martian, sometimes, when people are all into buying stuff. The people I *did* like talking to asked stuff like, "Oh, did you knit that yourself?" or "Wow! Where'd you get that yarn? Or is it a bunch of little pieces of yarn tied together?" These people always said, "Wow! Your gramma is so cool!" or "Wow! Your gramma put a *lot* of work into that, she's so thoughtful! She's very talented."

And, finally, the phrase "SUPER BOO HOO" seriously cracks my shit up! :)

By beeosh On 12/20/03  

I am not BUYING or MAKING any gifts this year except for my daughter who still believes in Santa. The whole GIFT GIVING FRENZY that CHRISTMAS has become is CRAZY! I'm celebrating KWANZAA from now on. :^) I hate getting unwanted/unneeded store-bought gifts DUMPED on me every year. I'd rather people not give me anything! And I'm not being CHEAP... I just can't take the STRESS of it anymore.

One thing I REALLY HATE about CHRISTMAS is THE whole GIFT WRAPPING thing... You spend all your time wrapping your gifts in nice wrapping paper only to have the gifts RIPPED open and the wrapping paper thrown away! And my relatives look at me weird when I try to salvage the crumpled up wrapping paper and perfectly good ribbon and bows out of the garbage bags...

By kindarana On 12/20/03  

beeosh: get some super cheap xmas fabric after the season, and make gift bags. my mom did this 10+ years ago and they're still going back and forth. (actually, since xmas is at my house, they don't go back and forth so much but still go back to our cupboard - less paper for us at least!)

If you get some nice (i prefer the wired) ribbon to tie it with it's quite festive.

By senorcoconut On 12/20/03  

IT'S CHRISTMAS!! The season of GIVING!!! Not buying! Damn it!!!! Be glad that I got your sorry ass anything at all! I hate people who don't appreciate the thought that goes into gifts!

Every year my in-laws get us something they put a lot of thought into but we don't need. But, being crafty, Mr. Coconut and I turn it into something cool.

I am not playing that consumer game anymore. All my gifts are well-thought out and within MY price range. Not MSN's. If I want to make something, I will! If you don't appreciate it, then don't expect anything next year! If I or my planned out gift is not good enough for you, then Bah! Humbug!

By ladyjane On 12/20/03  

Oh, yeah, the whole giving frenzy. I told my 'rents to please not give me any gifts this year. I'm in my 30's, fer cryin' out loud. Christmas is for children, let them enjoy it.

We're not going home for the holidays as originally planned (and it's a relief!) Maybe we'll do the tree, maybe we won't.

Consumerism sucks. :(

By peanut On 12/20/03  

sometimes i can't tell if people will enjoy hand made gifts or not. it's funny, a friend of mine saw me knitting and we were talking about it and he said "you're not going to GIVE your knitting to people are you?" he had this serious and kind of mean tone.

mind you, I am a very good knitter. I mean, like most glitterati, i make high quality arty and well-thought out things. and i make my own knitting patterns.

so i was shocked. he said that he knew someone before who gave people her knitting and used it to somehow indebt those people to her..... wtf? so i think the problem people have with hand made gifts can be not just cheapness/undercomitment, but also overcomitment. I mean, i think sometimes people are happy if something impersonal, like money, buffers all of their interactions with other people. another example would be how sometimes people seem to think it better to go out to dinner than to come over for dinner, etc. i think people are kind of freaked out by the intimacy of diy sometimes. or something. maybe the domesticity? the (IMPLIED) feminity/domesticity of some things?

i'm totally flummoxed by the whole pro-buy, anti-diy thing that shows up in some of the farthest left place i know.


By ladyjane On 12/21/03  

Then again...playing "devil's advocate" here, the *worst* kind of gift giver, it seems to me, is the person who gives gifts with the added pressure that you must enjoy it and be completely, visibly, over-the-moon giddy happy.

I have a childhood memory of being screamed at on xmas...I'd been excited (and yes, overly bossy. My bad) about what I'd wanted for xmas, so I was a naggy little brat. Well, finally, xmas came, I opened all my presents, and I felt a weird kind of "post-christmas letdown." Like this weird mix of guilt, and the build-up being better than the actual day. I stopped believing in santa at age 2, very young, so I knew my parents had knocked themselves out, and I felt *very* guilty that they had. I couldn't fake being happy, and my mom verbally tore me a new one. I mean, serious hair-pulling, stomping around, screaming, "screw this crap! That's the last time you get any christmas presents! No more Christmas, EVER!" I'd put too much pressure on her, and she put too much pressure on herself, for the perfect xmas and gifts, and I nearly fucked it up for my big bro, who still believed all the way to grade 3. So, the first part of the problem was I was a spoiled brat, and I realized this fact on xmas. The second problem was my mom put too much pressure on herself, too. The third problem was, she put too much pressure on *me* to be a shiny happy little kid that day. I did the equivalent of faking a bad orgasm, and caught serious hell for it.

Maybe that catching hell for not being super-over-the-moon appreciative is what that guy was referring to? Some people, if you don't like their gifts (or don't like their gifts enough for their tastes), get very angry and aggressive, and might do something crazy like scream "You sonovabitch! That's the last time I do anything nice for you!!!" Which, obviously, is not in the spirit of giving. :)

Gift giving is so emotional! Eeesh, it's kinda crazy if you think about it.

By peanut On 12/22/03  

lady jane,
yeah, i totally know about the trauma of not looking happy enough. what freaked me out about this guy's comments though, was that i was just knitting and we were just talking about the SCIENCE of designing knitting patterns, and how it was all math, and then, boom. i has made no suggestion that i was going to give him any knitted product. oof.


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