“Me to the Librarian: “Could you please help me find the decent craft books so my kids don’t give my parents another piece of painted garbage with buttons glued on it again for Christmas?”
Librarian to Me: We’ve got a nice selection of children’s craft books over here…
Me: [Scream and run the other way]
The truth is that I’ve scoured every single one of those craft books and holiday books, and even multiple years worth of family magazines. But I still can’t find anything my kids could ever make and give to my parents that won’t make them cringe with love.
“Cringe with love?” you ask? We have all seen the look. I know I’ve been seeing it in my own parents’ eyes for decades now. After I slave away and use all three of my artistic brain cells, I no doubt have created yet another ugly craft. They, being good parents, raise their eyebrows and exclaim, “oh, Karrie, it’s beautiful! I love it!”
They really do love it, because it came from me, and I came from them. But let us consider the year I used my woodburning kit to create a stunning image of my dog standing in the yard, with the words “No Pooping!” burned across the top.
They may tell me they love it, but the raised eyebrows are definitely saying “where are we going to hang this thing where no one will ever see it???” (In this case, the answer was “the basement.”)
But even after all of the junky heart-felt gifts I gave my parents (I eventually grew tired of the woodburning kit), I still wrack my brain every year on what presents my own kids can make for the relatives. And being that they are still young, it’s been slim pickin’s.
We have tried a number of gift ideas for them, and without question, each year has involved a large quantity of glue and washable paint, and at least a dozen buttons and pipe cleaners. And the creative team of my children and I (that makes a total of eight artistic brain cells) is quickly running out of acceptable ideas.
There have been numerous ornaments, bookmarks, boxes, and even hot chocolate mix, which didn’t itself contain glue or paint, but was sweetly packed in heavily decorated jars, all which caused the giftee to cringe with love.
I do have my own set of low standards for their presents. I absolutely refuse to have them stick together some shapes of colorful foam – I insist on their gifts being crafted with love, all the while having a little bit of class, which means no googely eyes.
But here I am again, another season of giving and I’m looking through the craft books again, wondering if we could accumulate enough toilet paper holders in the next few weeks to make napkin rings for the whole family. We could really fancy those suckers up with paint and buttons…
So I have to question—do parents and grandparents really want these poorly concocted hand-made gifts?
The answer came to me over Thanksgiving in the form of a turkey with feathers coming out of it’s head, and not out of it’s body. “I made it myself, mama, just for you.”
It’s hanging on my kitchen wall.
So to parents and grandparents everywhere, get your eyebrows ready to raise and your arms ready to hug. I promise that you will cherish it, no matter what it is.
To my parents, I’m not sure what you’ll be getting, but I can assure you that there will be as much love as there is glue. Just be thankful that the kids aren’t old enough for a woodburning kit… yet