Abby Letner
[mashshare]

Handmade Gifting Etiquette: 5 Tips to Avoid Heartbreak

crochet gift giving etiquette

You love making gifts… but do they love getting them?

When I was twelve I was really into making doilies. They were well-done, too—not to brag or anything. By that time I had been crocheting for a few years, and you couldn’t tell my doilies were made by a kid.

I pretty much gave them to my grandma—this is good gifting etiquette, by the way; your grandma will always appreciate a handmade gift.

But I was beginning to get brave enough to make things for people other than my grandma.

One day we went to a White Elephant party. I don’t know if that’s a name everyone recognizes, but the gist of it is, you bring a wrapped gift to the party to put on the gift table. Then everyone gets to take turns choosing a gift.

The other part of the rule is, once you open the gift, you get the option to trade it if you want what someone else has.

Gift Etiquette Tip #1:

DON’T bring handmade gifts to anonymous gift exchanges, gift exchange games, or any other kind of event where the gift-giving isn’t personalized.

woman with gift giving thumbs down

I was so proud of the beautiful doily I had made until I saw the look on the person’s face who opened it. It was a small party with an intimate crowd, and she knew immediately who had created it. She told me what a great job I’d done and opted to keep her gift.

Remember, not only had I spent hours creating that gift, but I was also a twelve-year-old-kid. What was she supposed to do?

via GIPHY

It hit me that I put her out of the game because of my gift. I’d created an obligation where there shouldn’t have been one.

These sorts of events are NOT the time and place to give handmade gifts.

Gift Etiquette Tip #2:

DO make something for your grandma or any of the grandma-like figures in your life. People who dote on you and are so proud of you no matter what you do…they deserve something homemade.

woman giving grandma gift

And not just once, either.

I try to make my grandma something every Christmas. Since she was the one who taught me to crochet, I like to remind her of how grateful I am for the gift she gave me.

But even if she hadn’t, she’d still adore something I spent time making just for her.

Gift Etiquette Tip #3:

DO think before you gift at weddings and baby showers.

two women exchanging gift hugging

 

Handmade with love gifts are truly special, both to the giver and receiver. Sometimes a wedding or baby shower is the right time to give one.

However, if the couple is young and just starting out their home, or the mom-to-be is having her first baby…consider practicality.

You’ll learn a lot by looking at their registry. If they have a lot of basics on the list, that means they need help getting themselves set up for the challenges ahead of them.

You can absolutely still crochet them a beautiful afghan. Just throw in a little something practical from their registry to go along with it.

Gift Etiquette Tip #4

DON’T make it about you.

hands holding a heart

This is a tough one because you’ve spent all that time and care making the perfect thing, and now you want to see the look on their face when they open it.

You’re picturing it now—they open the box, their eyes go wide, they say the usual, “OMG, did you make this?”

And you humbly blush and say, “Yeah, well, I had a pattern for it. It wasn’t that hard.”

But they just keep going on and on about how beautiful it is. Until they jump up and show it to everyone. Then they pose it on a table and take a photo for Instagram and tag you in it.

It’s nice, right?

via GIPHY

Stop imagining it!

It MAY go the way I just described, and it may not. And if it doesn’t, there could be tons of reasons.

Maybe you gave a gift to someone who isn’t emotionally demonstrative. Or maybe they’re just having an off day. Maybe they were hoping for a new iPhone.

Setting expectations about their reaction will only lead to heartache for you.

So before giving the gift, remind yourself why you made it. Because you thought they needed it. Or because you wanted them to have a part of you to take with them. Because you hope they’ll find use for it.

Whatever the reason, it’s about them. Managing your expectations around this will save you from a lot of sadness and frustration.

Gift Etiquette Tip #5

This is kind of the opposite of #4. Or the other side of the same coin. Sometimes fearing someone’s negative reaction will prevent us from giving generously of our time and energy.

In this case, I say…do a small amount of research and then take a leap of faith.

By research, I mean—does this person wear beanies? No? Then maybe don’t make them a beanie.

Once you land on a gift you think they will like, you can make it with confidence knowing that you’re doing what you do best—being you.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m a person who crochets stuff for people. That’s who I am. My family knows this. I do my best to give handmade gifts appropriately, but there are times a gift doesn’t particularly land well.

It Happened to Me…

My dad had this leather jacket he always wore, and I thought a stylish, off-white scarf would go well with it. I wasn’t wrong. I gave him the scarf, and I’ve never seen it since.

We could argue that I should have thought a little harder about his personality, but I also don’t want to hold back from how I show love.

So I just took it as a learning opportunity, and now I only make him manly, woolen hats for the wintertime. Real manly ones. Only brown, blue, or green…but not a combination of the three, because color coordination isn’t manly.

*Disclaimer: the above definition of “manly” belongs to the author’s father and does not reflect the views of the author or of Happily Hooked—in fact, we encourage men to add some color to their wardrobes. Live a little, guys. It’s time.

You can give Thoughtfully AND Fearlessly

The point of these tips is not to make you overthink gifting your handmade things.

In fact, I’m hoping it will encourage you to do more of it.

Or if you’re someone who has tried giving a homemade gift once and got burned—I’m hoping you’ll see, through this post, that you’re not alone, and that you CAN get so much joy and reward from making things for the people you love.

The Happily Hooked community is full of crocheters who not only enjoy giving handmade gifts…but actually have their loved ones begging for the things they’re making!

Here are a few recent posts for the Happily Hooked Members’ Community:

Love this hat. Youngest daughter claimed it before it was completed.
~Maria P.

Just finished the Lakeside Tote from August 2020 PPP. Still need to line it. I was going to send it to my DIL but my niece has claimed it for a book bag.
~Mary S.

I love how easy this was to work up! It was claimed by a friend before I could get it off the hook!
~Lynn S.

My 4yo, the absolute light of everyone's life, saw this bag and has begged me to make it for her so she can carry her horses in it.
~Alexander B.

You CAN and SHOULD gift your beautiful creations.

However, if you want to gift with confidence…join Happily Hooked for the giftable patterns and the fun and supportive community!

Our designers understand that everyday crocheters like you and me are just looking to make something we can be proud to pass along to our loved ones.

Click the button below to join Happily Hooked, get amazing digital patterns, AND be among people who get how awesome crochet is!

patterns from Happily Hooked

(these are just a few of the 90+ giftable designs waiting in your Happily Hooked digital library)

 

join Happily Hooked button

Author Info

Abby Letner
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I'm Abby — mom of three, lifelong crocheter, voracious reader, and aspiring novelist. At some point, I was supposed to grow up ... but so far I still spend most of my time playing with books, paper, and yarn. In my mind, I live a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. My crochet speed is 1 beanie per 2 episodes of The Mandalorian. I'm beyond grateful to work with the team at Happily Hooked, and I'm excited to see where this journey takes me!

Abby Letner

www.happilyhooked.com

I'm Abby — mom of three, lifelong crocheter, voracious reader, and aspiring novelist. At some point, I was supposed to grow up ... but so far I still spend most of my time playing with books, paper, and yarn. In my mind, I live a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. My crochet speed is 1 beanie per 2 episodes of The Mandalorian. I'm beyond grateful to work with the team at Happily Hooked, and I'm excited to see where this journey takes me!

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