A guest post by Jenny Alexander of The Painted Lily.
The holidays are officially upon us! My radio is ablaze with Christmas carols already and stores have been playing them for weeks now.
Everywhere we turn, especially right after Thanksgiving, there are gift choices laid out in front of us like a feast before the king. It’s like a Vegas buffet with something for everyone. Any store that you might visit has all of their best sellers and biggest sales right by the front door to catch your eye and snag what’s in your wallet.
But maybe you don’t want a run of the mill gift. Maybe you want something different. Giving a handmade gift is a great option. Giving handmade goods means that your loved one is receiving something beautifully and thoughtfully designed, something personalized just for them, something one of a kind or something that you don’t find in a store.
It’s a wonderful gift to give, full of thought and great intention!
What you might not realize is that giving a handmade gift, bought directly from the artist, is not only great for the recipient and great for you (cause you’re so thoughtful and sweet!) but is also terrific for the artist. It’s a perspective you might not have considered before and is something good to think about when deciding whether or not to give handmade items to the loved ones on your holiday list this year.
Artists are a hard working bunch, putting so much of themselves into their work. Putting that much of yourself out there isn’t always easy and artists are often left questioning their vision…
- Is it good enough?
- Will anyone like it?
- Does anyone “get it?”
- Should I even continue on?
The artist might have put other parts of their life on hold. Maybe they’ve quit their day job to make this dream happen. Maybe they’ve got a family to support and other little lives to maintain.
As a consumer, every handmade purchase you make directly contributes to the life of another person… a real live person who is paying bills and buying groceries just like you do. You are allowing that artistic mom to stay home with her kids and still live out her dream job. You are supporting that college grad to step out on their own and be a small business owner. The retiree you just purchased from may be using the profits from that sale to pay for doctors’ visits or medication.
I’ve been running my own art business full time and, to be honest, each sale still gives me a thrill. Each friendly communication exchange with a buyer who loved what I made, still makes me shine a little brighter each day. The knowledge that people are using and enjoying the pieces I make, brings me great joy. My customers urge me to continue and tell me that they appreciate my work, my vision. They don’t even need to say a word – their “buying dollar” says it all.
My customers are helping me to contribute to my family’s financial situation and we are living a much bolder life than we could without their support. My children are learning the power of following your passion and are seeing the hard work it takes to make things happen. What a powerful lesson that my customers are allowing me to teach.
There are lots of ways to find handmade gifts this year to check off your Christmas list. Start keeping an eye out in your local newspapers or in your neighborhood for signs about upcoming holiday craft shows. These will be great ways to discover local talent and meet the artist in person.
And, don’t forget to check out great sites online like Etsy, ArtFire and Supermarket for hundreds of thousands of gift ideas. Buying on sites like these really opens up the choices for you and I guarantee you’re going to find things you’ve never seen before!
Buying handmade items as gifts, during the holidays or anytime of the year, is a win-win-win situation for the giver, the receiver and the maker.
As a consumer, buying handmade gives you great power – the power to directly affect the life of another human being.
What a thrill, what a responsibility, what a gift!
Jenny Alexander is the collage artist behind The Painted Lily. Her work is inspired by the imagery of the past and the comfort of home.