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Gift Giving

by SewMagical

Spring time seems to be a time of year when gift-giving is big topic. There is Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, weddings, anniversaries, and graduations. Not to mention the birthdays and baby showers and wedding showers! It’s no wonder we so often hear of people looking for gift ideas.

What I want to talk about, though, are the kind of gifts you can’t buy in a store. Let me explain.

A few years ago, I started to make clothes for fashion dolls. Because of that, I retrieved from my father’s house the boxes with my old doll “stuff”. What I expected to find was the dolls and accessories I played with almost 50 years ago. What I did not expect, however, were the memories stirred up by the sight and feel of those bit of plastic and fabric.

As I opened the boxes and removed each item, I found myself thinking back to my excitement and pleasure when they were new. There were the clothes with that manufacturer’s label inside, each of which came in a bright pink package, although the package is long gone. There were the tiny shoes and purses and all the other ready-made things.

What really started me reminiscing, however, were the homemade items: clothing for the doll, made by mother with pieces of fabric recycled (who knew that word back then?) from old shirts of my father’s, old dresses of hers, and bed linens too worn to be used as bedding.

Holding those tiny garments, made so carefully, made me start thinking about the gifts my mother gave me. She was the one who taught me to sew, coaching me through constructing my first garment, a gray and orange jumpsuit for my doll (and, yes, that was still in the boxes too!). She gave me other gifts too, although I did not realize it at the time. My ability to write a well-crafted letter, whether of compliment or complaint, came from her. I learned to comparison shop by going with her to different stores looking for the best price, although I didn’t realize at the time that I was learning it.

Of course, that got me started thinking about gifts from the other people in my life. My father gave me his love of photography, a hobby whose equipment has changed through the years, although the skills needed remain much the same. It is probably from him as well, that I enjoy crossword puzzles and word games (I have been called a “vicious” Scrabble© player by some!)

My great-aunt Tillie (yes, that was her name, and yes, she was great) first taught me to crochet. I can recall sitting next to her on her sofa as she patiently taught me the first basic stitches. Crocheting is an activity I still enjoy, and I think of Tillie as I work with my yarn and hooks..

These people gave me the gift of creativity, determination, and perseverance. There are so many others who have given me gifts as well. There were the people I met in college, who let me see that others could value my friendship and my affection.

Even today, I am still receiving gifts. I have friends who give me the gift of their friendship, and their support and love during difficult times. I have a husband, whose presence in and of itself is a gift, because of the special person that he is.

No, the gifts I have received are not the kind with a dollar-and-cents price tag, or wrapped up in pretty paper. But I think they are the more valuable kind. They have given me memories, and they have helped make me who I am today.

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11 Responses to Gift Giving

  1. Ms. Virginia says:

    WHY didn’t you preface the reading of this very heartwarming text with, “get your tissues out” warning? This is so very beautiful and touching as it sends me back to some of the most important and memorable times of my childhood. Thank you so much for sharing your source of inspiration.

  2. rango says:

    yes we did not realize at that time of our lives that we had the best gifts of all from our peers – it was such a nice way to make everyone remember what they learned through life as they were growing up thanks for helping us bring out our memories of the yesteryears.

  3. Lean Jean Dancing Machine says:

    Thank you for sharing. It also stirred up my own memories and gifts I was given. I am so very thankful to all the special people in my life that took the time to love me and leave their footprints on my heart! It’s so important to reflect. I hope the ones I now give handmade and homemade gifts to will one day look back to appreciate them like I have.
    Great Gift Giving Article from the heart!
    Thank You for making me stop and reflect ;o)

  4. rubyanne2009 says:

    What a wonderful read. Although we had so little in the way of “things” in those days we were so rich in our joy of others. Something a lot of todays youth are poor in methinks.

  5. Yoya says:

    Who can put a price tag on love? Those gift that were given to us, especially the homemade ones are priceless and still more cherished than the broken dolls and toys. Thank you for reminding us of those old fashioned memories and to always be grateful for the love that has been shown us even if at the time we don’t really understand it.

  6. shelley skudowitz says:

    i love your outlook on life. beautifully written

  7. I am the only crafter in my family (my niece is just learning to crochet) and I’ve been making gifts for b-days, Christmas, new babies etc for years. One year for Christmas, I just didn’t have the time to make gifts (I have a VERY large family w/lots of nieces and nephews) so I bought gifts. BAD decision!! My little nieces and nephews were so disappointed that I had bought gifts instead of making them. It made me feel good–yes I know that’s strange, but up until that point I didn’t realize how much the kids truly loved and enjoyed the things I made for them. I never made the mistake of buying gifts again.

  8. Cherrylmaree says:

    As I read this lovely insightful piece, I felt goosebumps…..just recently a friend explained that she and I were both being given a great ‘gift’ from a dear mutual friend who is terminally ill…we have been able to reconnect and renew a friendship started 45 years ago between ourselves and , together, have been able to support in her journey…our learning never ends and it really does make us the people we are.

  9. SewMagical says:

    Thank you all for your comments. I had no idea I would touch so many people with what I wrote. I am flattered and touched by all your responses.

  10. Ronda says:

    I usually have extra gifts hide in the craft room just for occasions of this sort. A simple lap quilt or sofa throw goes a long ways when it is made from your hands, usually all it takes in a few dollars and a little time to and you have a gift that will last for a long time that will get past from generation to generation.

  11. carolmarie says:

    You’re absolutely ‘spot-on’. I have a friend at our lawn Bowls club, and she and I are giving each other small gifts all the time for no other reason than being friends.
    I collect ‘elephants’ & she collects ‘ducks’ and ‘christmas trees’ in very small sizes, so if we find one in our shopping sprees, we buy them for a gift.

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