I think it's safe to say that the x-mas shopping has officially begun. Most of the time I find it fairly easy to find things for my friends/family, but sometimes I wonder if what I'm giving them is special enough. Was it thoughtful enough? Caring enough? Creative enough? Since I'm a crafty person to begin with I often make a few X-mas presents (earrings, purses, clothing, that sort of thing) but what about those people who love the crafty stuff, but don't have the skill, tools, time or know how to give these crafty gifts?
Buy Handmade Video from Etsy on Vimeo.
Well it appears a lot of people feel this way, and out of this need was born the Buy Handmade site, and the "Pledge to Buy Handmade" gifts. I found out about this site when Janick from Nea jewelry sent me an invite on Facebook (oh Facebook, get out of my head...). The pledge to buy handmade is only one small portion of this site. The makers also generously include all sorts of information about the grassroots crafting movement, conscious consumerism and links to pertinent documentaries (amongst other amazing articles, etc)
While it may not always be possible to buy handmade for EVERYONE on your list (lets just say a crocheted Wii is not the same as the real thing...) you'd be surprised how much variety is out there in handmade stuff! Electronics and home appliances aside, a lot of what you would buy mass produced is being handmade out there somewhere!
Here's a quick list from the site reminding us all why handmade is so great!
Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving.
The giver of a handmade gift has avoided the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, s/he feels the satisfaction of supporting an artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that can
be seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.
Buying handmade is better for people.
The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. We are encouraged to be consumers, not producers, of our own culture. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost. Buying handmade helps us reconnect.
Buying handmade is better for the environment.
The accumulating environmental effects of mass production are a major cause of global warming and the poisoning of our air, water and soil. Every item you make or purchase from a small-scale independent artist or crafter strikes a small blow to the forces of mass production.
Image from Buyhandmade.org (Flickr Pool)