Christmas Gifts Worth Saving For
Mass-production and outsourcing, or quality craftsmanship and art?
In the age of mass-produced goods imported from overseas, our society has lost touch with quality craftsmanship and the beauty of hand-made gifts designed by individual artists.
It used to be that every kitchen utensil, every shoe, and every piece of clothing was hand-finished and made to last. Now that people of the United States have become so used to easy access to cheaply priced products, it is easy to romance about quality craftsmanship as a thing of the past. However, I truly believe that in the years to come, people will come to recognize quality over quantity once again, and will feel confident shelling out a few extra bucks for something that they feel is worth their money. The anonymity associated with huge companies and their cookie-cutter products is becoming undesirable- more and more people want to know that their money is going to a self-employed artist or entrepreneur, who has a face and a name, and whose designs mean something.
My Resolution for the Holiday Season.
That is why I am making a resolution this Christmas. All of my gifts will be either homemade by yours truly, or else I will purchase items that incorporate beauty with smart design. I may be paying extra, but I will feel rewarded with quality, durability, and customer service.
A great place to buy these custom-made gifts is Etsy.com. Their selection of clothing and crafts is wonderful, and many of their products exhibit extraordinary talent. The best part is that most of the sellers and studios are do-it-yourselfers—women and men who put heart and thought into their work and sell and promote it themselves.
Albert Frank's Fine Jewelry
Another such artist is a friend of mine- Albert Frank, a Delaware-based jeweler. The first time that I stumbled upon Albert’s shop, I was impressed by his craftsmanship and attention to detail. Unlike most jewelry shops, which import standard silver and gold pieces, Albert’s products are truly unique, and are increasingly more difficult to find. Not only does he design all of his own jewelry, when he casts it he only makes a few pieces of each design, so you can be sure that you’re getting something unique. The benefit of his being such a small operation is that you can easily have a custom-made piece—you give him a design and he will create it for you. You can see such fine work on his website, albertfranksfinejewelry.com.
Why have I resolved to support only small-scale artists with my Christmas shopping?
In a time when pressure to gift drives consumerism, it is easy to feel that you just want to “get it over with”, because you feel there is a certain “gift quota” that you must meet. However, when you are able to take the time to chose your purchase and feel happy about whom the money is going to (Let’s face it—who doesn’t feel at least a little bit of guilt after seeing sweatshop videos on Youtube?), you feel happier with the holiday craze, and the more thought you have put into your gift makes it much more special for your loved one.
A Closing Thought
If you need one more reason to think twice about where you buy gifts from this holiday, I suggest that you look around your community. Is it full of strip malls owned by faceless companies, with your neighbors working for low wages and feeling unfulfilled at their jobs? Or is it full of vibrant, confident people who earn a living doing what they love and feel fulfilled with work because they are able to think, create, and give back to the community?
In the long run, where do you want to live?
Online Shopping to Support Small Businesses & Artists
- Home | Albert Frank'sAlbert Frank's | Fine Jewelry
Handmade Jewelry by Albert Frank, a Lewes, Delaware based artist.
- Etsy - Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies
Buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies on Etsy, the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace. Share stories through millions of items from around the world.