It was Christmas morning, and two of my children were simultaneously opening their second gift from my workshop. Five-year-old Molly had just received a wooden airplane and her brother Brandon, two years her junior, a toy truck. They just loved them. Both projects were made of oak with a large measure of love thrown in. The identical toys they were now ripping from the colorful paper were toy-sized versions of the space shuttle, a new and exciting topic of the times. The toys were painted and well proportioned, and I was pretty proud of my creativity, and the fact that I’d completed them in time for the holiday. No sooner had Brandon pulled his free from the package than the precocious three-year-old yelled, “Look! I got a spaceship”! “No,” replied his sister with a deadpan expression … ” You’ve got two space ships.” And promptly tossed her toy to her brother.
So there it was … the only major pitfall of giving away gifts you’ve created in your shop. And it is a dilly. Your effort, design skills, creativity and that indefinable something that is so personal about handmade gifts are placed in front of someone (probably someone you love) to be accepted or rejected. And while your adult loved ones may be more subtle than Molly was, you know what they are thinking … don’t you?
Why am I bringing these buried memories to the surface? To give you a chance to unburden yourself of the psychological scars formed by a similar sad incident. Send in your story, and I’ll put your name in a virtual hat to win a cool tool … a DeWalt DW682K biscuit joiner!
We’ll share some of the most dramatic and, umm, “heartwarming” stories on our Feedback page. And if a few show up with tearstains on them, well … I’ve got my crying towel ready.
Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal