The Heart of Handmade Presents

Reader Contribution by Sarah Beth Jones
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Sayjal was my best friend growing up. As so often happens, our life paths have diverged since college – mine turning toward a simple, homespun married life and hers careening into a fast-paced career in entertainment. (TV watchers have likely seen her in a commercial or two.) We manage to catch up with each other only every few years, but I am reminded of her daily by the many gifts she made for me, each one a handcrafted reminder of times when you could barely slide a piece of paper between us.

As I write this, my neck is warmed by a scarf she made for me, her first-ever knitting project. In my jewelry box hangs a necklace she strung, blue glass beads punctuated by one that looks like a broken peppermint. I have a glitter-crusted box and drawings of horses and comic book characters, all showing her unique personality and talent. These things dip me daily into a most lovely nostalgia that warms me from the heart. 

More recently, I moved from my hometown for the first time. And though I miss the friends and family who remained in that familiar city, I feel their presence constantly by the gifts they, too, created with their own hands. On my desk is a metal leaf made by a dear friend who stamped “Big Love” on the back. My dresser is filled with knitted, crocheted and sewed apparel from my mom and sister, and on display in my dining room is a colorful turkey my nephew made from an old glove.

These are the gifts I treasure. Sure, I squealed like a kid when I unwrapped a stand mixer from my husband a few years ago, but the gift I will always treasure most from him is a card he made for my birthday when we were first dating. It’s funny (celebrities sending birthday wishes), touching (signed with a shy “love”, our first) and it shows his willingness to take time out of a busy life to make something unique and special, just for me.

What are the best handmade treasures you’ve given or received over the years? In case other readers are stuck for fresh ideas, share your stories in the comments section below.

Sarah Beth and Rob Jones are making almost all of their holiday gifts this year but we can’t tell you what they are because our friends and family are reading…