Saturday, 21 November 2009

Gifts from the heart

As part of Tif's Ultimate Challenge, I will be buying handmade presents this Christmas, which I thoroughly recommend to all of you dear readers, whether you are participating in the Challenge or not.

But one of the difficulties I have found is that whilst the most delightful parcels of handmade goodies have been coming through my door, I can't share their contents with you because you never know who might be reading. However, I have made a little exception today because Princess Bunchy and I were so excited to receive a little package from Chrissie at Niminy Fingers.

Chrissie very kindly included a little present for a princess, for which we are both so very grateful - and in fact, Princess Bunchy's adorable felt bracelet is so lovely that I feel quite envious!

The other bit of handmade goodness in the picture below I will leave you to guess at, for one of you might be receiving it for Christmas - but just admire the beautiful way that Chrissie has presented it in a handcrafted muslin bag, and ponder on what it might contain. And you can go and look at her Etsy shop, Make Your Presents Felt, to find out what she makes, and guess what is in this little bag, and then wriggle with excitement at the thought of what might appear under your Christmas tree very shortly.

The blue bowl is also handmade, by a potter called Lars Gregersen - this was a present from the dear Seaside Landlady (for which I haven't yet written a thank you note, horribly remiss of me, and I hope you will forgive my omission, dear sister-in-law!) - and looks very beautiful on the much loved and used old meat plate.

So my thought for today is: why not make your Christmas shopping easy and special - don't venture from your computer, save your petrol and parking charges, and buy your presents from small-scale self-employed crafters rather than global corporations. You can be sure that you will not be exploiting anyone, you will be helping a small business, you will receive a prompt and personal service, and probably make a friend in the process. Not only that, many of these people will make custom orders in particular colours or styles so that you can give a truly original present.

I can't show you any more pictures, because I don't want to spoil any 'surprises', but I can thoroughly recommend all of the following, whose wares are as now stacked in my present cupboard, (or are on my Christmas list - are you listening, Head Chef?). I think I have put everyone down, but let me know if I have missed you out - everything is tucked away in bags and boxes, so I might have overlooked one!

And for all those men in your life, who like all things techie and practical, try The Centre for Alternative Technology shop - it might not be handmade but at least it is green and ethical: a great source of presents for boys of all ages.

My theory is that presents should be useful, beautiful or consumable, and bring joy to both giver and receiver - for me this is the way to achieve that, and I hope that you, too, will see this as a way to a stress-free and ethical Christmas, and a small way to counterbalance all those mountains of plastic tat, and overwhelming consumerist frenzy, which leave us all the poorer in more ways than one.


Victoria - Florence and Mary said...

You put me to shame with your honourable Christmas shopping this year.

Victoria xxx

Unknown said...

I love your beautiful goodies! I so agree, we should all try a buy (and make) handmade christams gifts where we can do! suzie. xxx

Floss said...

Good principles, Pomona, which you are putting to good practice! (Excuse the possible spelling mistakes - those are two of my worst words - the 'p' ones!)

I would add the 'Alternative Gift' websites to your wise list - last year we gave my sister a lovely personalised card which told her we had bought her footballs for a girls' school team in a developing country, and we were 'given' an environmentally friendly stove in India by my brother in law, who works in environmental science. The boys have had hens and bees in the past too, and they 'got' the idea.

Serenata said...

You have done well!

As you know I too am aiming for homemade Christmas presents this year, although are now running slightly behind schedule - must get the antipodean parcels posted asap! Oops, got to make them first!! ;-)

Might have to look at the techie shop you've linked to for the boys though.

Sarah said...

I quite agree. It is my plan to make gifts for teachers, friends and family - it would be foolish not to especially as it's what I do! Always been nervous in previous years making goodies, but not this year!!!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

JuliaB said...

Great post Pomona. I've been thinking alot about the festive season today and feel one of my 'ranty' posts coming on!! xxx

Karen L R said...

Yes, Pomona, we are on the same wavelength (and not for the first time...) today. Love your fun links, and thank you so much for sharing them.!

Michela said...

Hi Pomona,you've made me laugh with the comment you've just left me! I love your shopping advices!

whoatemycrayons said...

We are so singing from the same hymn sheet. I am all for a hand-mad Christmas! Having been exposed to the talented artisans and makers out there it is now a struggle to choose what to go for - I want it all!

sarah-jane down the lane said...

How lovely, you are an inspiration. I am about half way to meeting your challenge. Unfortunately with so many boys to cater for there are still books and CD's in the present stash this year,

Sarah x

menopausalmusing said...

There is an awful consumerist frenzy isn't there? I find it quite scary....... thanks for the lovely links and the encouragement re crochet.

Sue said...

Just been reading your post,thank you for all the links I've had a very enjoyable time looking them all up,several have now been added to my favourites list. Thanks again.


Lola Nova said...

Wonderful post! I have made most of my presents for quite a few years and now of course will be buying handmade and thrifted. I will have to check out the links that I am unfamiliar with. Thank you for sharing.

Chrissie said...

Thank you not only for the lovely kind mention, but for all the great links to other shops! I'm glad PB liked her bangle - thank you for letting me see her wearing it!

Joshy and belle said...

thanks for the link for the men - that;s the bit that i find hard, i can find loads to make and buy on etsy for the girls but my husband cringes when i talk about knitting socks or making him something!! i love the lower bracelet too! very pretty, fliss xx

Simply H said...

Thanks so much for the mention Pomona and for the other links, I am going to have a good look through them now!! I hope you recipient likes their simply h gift!!!


Lovely presses, I expect when it comes to it you won't want to part with them!

Have a lovely week

Reading Tea Leaves said...

Oh such loveliness every time I visit your blog Pomona. Love the dischloths and though I am a complete knitting novice I may just give them a try!
With so much choice now for handmade goods and buying from artisans and independents, for the past couple of years Christmas shopping has become the absolute pleasure it should be. Thanks for the great links too.
Love the little flower bracelet!

Jeanne x

mooi hoor... said...

Hooray for handmade indeed! And the thought behind that is profound enough to me ;)
Enjoy your shopping and making.

Callies Cottage said...

I am doing the same this Christmas and am THOUROUGHLY enjoying making,crafting and sourcing special little things for people !!
Warm Wishes,
Cally x

. said...

My problem is that as soon as my Etsy presents arrive in the mailbox I become so excited that all thoughts of giving them as gifts are totally zapped so I have to keep them for myself!
Selfish maybe, greedy definitely, sublimely happy whilst up to my neck in handcrafted lovely...oh yeah!

Fabric and Lucy said...

What a fantastic theory!!!

I'm afraid Christmas presents are pretty much the same as every year for the majority of my receivers. HOWEVER.. my three best friends are exchanging our own handmade gifts to each other this year. So every little helps I guess, and it's a start! : )

Well done you though and thank you for sharing...

- L x

Lululiz said...

There is nothing nicer than making and receiving handmade gifts. They make me smile and glow and feel really appreciated. My best ever Christmas present was from my youngest son, who gave me three booklets of vouchers - cup of tea vouchers, donkey vouchers ( any kind of job ) and best of all massage vouchers. That was a few years ago now, and I have tried and tried ever since to get some more, alas, it was a one off, sigh.


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