Thanks to everyone who commented on my Christmas shopping post. Murr, who has a wonderful blog, mentioned how she makes her gifts. Which I love.
Husband and I decided our first married Christmas to make each other something. And I was instantly outdone. Let me say upfront that I have no artistic or craft skills. I cannot knit, sew, paint, draw, or otherwise create. I can bake, but as I bake cookies all the time that's hardly a gift. So I wracked my brain and came up with the only thing I can do which is write. I wrote a packet of letters from me to him as if we were living in early 1900s and I were touring Egypt. I wrote about the archeological sites I'd seen, going down the Nile, and various stories about my fellow travellers. Then I aged the paper with tea and creases, tied it all up in a red ribbon, and that was it.
And then Husband went and made a book.
Here's the background.
Years ago my friends and I wrote a parody of cheesy Romance novels entitled The Adventures of Aphrodesia Lovejoy about an incredibly clueless heroine working as a governess in a brooding castle full of handsome rakes and one well-hung carriage driver. This book was really special to me and my friends and remains a source of happiness. But it was really a collection of stories written about all of us printed out on a Mac and stapled together. So Husband, who has a background in publishing, hand made a hardcover book. Complete with a dust jacket and slipcase. He even got my friends to write those blurbs like you see on bestsellers. Imagine Husband contacting ex-husband for an author's blurb! He hand sewed the folios together, put in end papers, it looks like an actual published hardcover book. There are even illustrations gathered from some of the worst romance covers ever published.
It is, in short, amazing. I mean no slight to my "took all of an hour" letter project, but holy cats! He must have spent two or three months formatting, getting the info from our friends, learning how to actually make a book by hand, and doing the work. And, to top it off, he wrote a hilarious epilogue to the saga. It was easily the most incredible gift I've ever received.
The problem is, how do I compete with that? I mean I know it's not a competition, but really. It's like I give someone a hand-made ashtray and they give me a Porsche. And no, of course not, he never made me feel like that. It's just my natural insecurities coming out when faced with amazement. Husband pronounced himself delighted with the letters, but that book...!
So that ended the handmade gift thing. The next year I looked at what I could do in terms of making things and said "nope, not gonna." And, frankly, I think Husband was relieved too because he couldn't top it either.
My hand made, hardcover Christmas gift remains a treasured possession. And, to make it even better, Husband went above and beyond and made books for every one of my friends who had written chapters. And they treasure them as well.
Husband is incredible. But I'm glad I don't have the pressure of making something or, worse, coming up with an idea of what to make. Besides, I love buying him gifts. And yet I live in awe of those of you who can, and do, hand make.