Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Crap and a Handmade Pledge

Well another Christmas has come and gone. And one thing I've noticed growing over the past several years is that this holiday more than others, makes me more and more depressed.

Don't worry. It's nothing serious. It only seems to last a short while, as everything I've witnessed over the frenzied holiday season helps me become more and more passionate about what I do.

But I'm finally beginning to understand what it is that really bothers me about this holiday.

It's all the crap. And by crap, I mean landfill. And I'm not just talking about the wrapping paper, the plastic packaging, the cardboard boxes, the bows and all of that rubbish. I'm talking about the presents themselves. Have any of you noticed how much of that stuff is just crap?

I have young nieces and nephews and I sit quietly in the background and watch them tackle all their new loot. Some of it was broken before it even left the factory/store. Some of it breaks trying to put it together. Some of it is broken after the first attempt at using it. Some of it breaks by the end of day one. And then what? It's off to the landfill. Garbage. Petroleum based products, made in China and elsewhere by people who work far too long for far too little. It's packed in container ships fuelled by more petroleum and shipped half way around the world, to sit in energy-hungry stores, filled with workers who again, work for far too little. And for what? So kids can have 'stuff' to open on Christmas morning?

What's the point of having 'stuff' anyways? Especially if it's just crap that's broken before it can even really be enjoyed? Do the benefits of all of this 'stuff' really outweigh all the negative consequences?

I guess I'm growing cynical.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

For me, I take comfort in the fact that many of the presents from me to my loved ones this year were handmade and/or upcycled. Being a strong believer in 'what goes around comes around' I have made a conscious effort over the past few years to support my fellow artists and craftspersons. And while my reasons for doing so started out as perhaps a little selfish, I can see it has much further reaching consequences.

I understand that I have no control over what my loved ones actually DO with the gifts they get from me (and I'll admit it, some of them may even head to the landfill). But I hope that it sparks something in them, no matter how small, about the importance of handmade. I hope it brings to their attention just what it means to have quality made things, to support your communities. I am very aware that handmade work is expensive. But there's a reason for that, and surely LESS of BETTER stuff is way more important than MORE of CRAPPY stuff.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays this season, and that the gifts you received are ones that will be cherished (and functioning) for a long time to come! And to those of you who took the time and made to effort to buy handmade, thank you, for the consequences are far and reaching in ways that you cannot even imagine.



  1. Here, here Melissa! I totally agree with your posting today. I experienced a similar thing this Xmess watching my family. Luckily, most of the gifts I exchange are also made by fellow artists, or upcycled and preloved items. It is the thought that counts afterall.

  2. I grew up fairly poor so we had just one gift each for Christmas.
    My father used to say we are too poor to afford cheap things so we always had one thing which was of good quality and it lasted for a long time..I'm trying to do the same now with my own family.One meaningful,good quality gift each.I had to settle for practical instead of meaningful this year :)