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Homemade Gifts and Gift Cards

February 19th, 2019 . by maria
My mother was a 1st grade teacher in the 70’s and 80’s. We had a enough apple themed ornaments to decorate our whole Christmas tree, and quite a collection of mugs. I’ve seen several articles telling people what gifts they should or shouldn’t give their teachers (or other service providers). Most fall on the practical side. While we definitely could have used the cash, she NEVER would have been critical of someone’s choice of gift. (Besides, homemade gifts usually cost less than even the most modest gift card.)
A gift reflects both the giver and the recipient, and their relationship, and is not based on need. The gift is a token of the relationship, and the time or thought put into it is reflective of time spent thinking of the recipient. This is why cash/gift cards have often been maligned as impersonal. Recipients also play a role in this, being thankful for the recognition, for the time/work in the handmade gift, or for the giver’s taste or thoughtfulness.
Need-based gifts are called “charity”, and there is certainly room for that, but not necessarily as a replacement for the gifts we give out of love/appreciation. Certainly if you are in a position of great wealth relative to others, who depend solely on you (i.e. the corporate magnate in a small town Hallmark movie), then you should be wafting $100 bills at all and sundry. But this says much more about your power over them than it does about your good will toward them. Don’t be ashamed to give a thoughtful homemade gift as a token of appreciation. And if you happen to receive a “useless trinket” instead of a gift card, remember that it took time and planning to pull off, and be gracious to the giver.

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