Why do we make things for ourselves? I do it because I like to think that getting off the hamster wheel of consuming industrial-made goods is a statement of my convictions. This planet matters, one person's behavior can matter. Yeah, I buy yarn and fabric so I'm not completely eco-friendly, but animal fibers are an allergy issue for me, and I'm looking into trying to reclaim yarn and fabric in the future.
I'm one of those people who buy gifts all year round. I don't wait until october-november to think about christmas. I'm buying things in february on sale, or june on sale, if I think someone might like it for a gift. I have my gift box where I collect these bits of stuff and then when gift season comes I "shop" these bargains I already have, for myself and my mother when she can't think of what to give someone. Since I live a couple hours from my family I often go in on gifts with my parents, so I contribute from the box.
I was thinking though, I've been looking to make things for myself, either from scratch or remaking something I have into something I'll wear, but I still think about buying gifts brand new from stores. I buy at thrift stores for myself because of my ethic, but I blithely spend money at the mall for other people. Is this some sort of grave conflict in thinking? I know many people don't like second-hand or used, or even new if it came from a thrift store. But I often feel like I should apply my ethic to all my purchases, not just the ones I make for myself and my household.
So I've taken steps to do just that. I've been keeping an eye out at the local Goodwill for stuff I can give as gifts. I found a whisk ornament for $0.99 and cast iron shaped muffin (?) tray for $7.99 for my baker cousin. Well, the baking tray will be hers after I scrub it clean, if it comes clean. Obviously if it doesn't clean I'll find something else. My mother is making scarves for many of the women in our family as well as dish clothes and potholders from cotton yarn (my mom is way better at crochet than I am) for the adults. We'll have to buy the gifts that are food items like special spices some of the guys like and hot sauces. Other than that, stuff will be made.
For boyfriend's family, I made a scarf for his sister-in-law and am in progress on a scarf for his sister. I found a ton of boucle yarn on clearance for $0.97 per 255 yard skein. My mother graciously made a scarf for his older niece that I made a matching hat for so she can match. Younger niece is also getting a hat that matches her older sister. If I have time I wanted to make skirts for them so they can match (older sister likes pink and her baby sister so I thought matching pink skirts would be cute), if not I will add diapers to younger sister gift. Not sure yet what I will do yet for brother and parents. I'm thinking something in sports colors for brother and maybe some cotton washcloths for mother since she mentioned she had one she liked. Father I am clueless, kindof like with my own dad. Funny how that works out, must be a dad thing.
I still look at thrift stores for stuff I can use, re-use, or clean up and give as is. My standards are a bit higher for gifts than they would be for myself, but you can still find things that, if you didn't tell them, people would not guess you bought from a thrift store. And I feel better knowing I am being consistent with my principles and still giving great gifts.
How do you feel about gift-giving? Are you a shop on the 24th kind of person? Do you try to make gifts or thrift gifts? There is a button on the right side of the screen for the Crafty Christmas Club that I will be signing up for in the fall when they take pledges for the coming holiday season. You should check it out too.