The Island of Misfit Gifts

By: carolyn mcneil

Is making gifts, instead of buying gifts, a waste of time? In today's society, Christmas (and other gift-giving holidays) has become so commercialized that we are constantly inundated with the latest "hot" products to buy and give. Television, radio, print and web advertisements present a world of merchandise that our loved ones "cannot live without". Call me old-fashioned, or just call me old, but I prefer the hand-crafted gift, the gift conceived of love. Unfortunately, the rest of the world does not agree...

Over the years, I have created hand-made crafts and given them as gifts. And, alas, over the years, most of the gifts vanish to that place unknown to most humans, "the island of misfit gifts". The island of misfit gifts is also known as the closet, attic or basic storage area that exists in most homes. This is where unwanted gifts are sent, never to be seen again (until spring cleaning and yard sale days...). Yes, I admit it. I am one of those nasty people who actually check to see if a gift that I have given is being displayed or used. I am pondering the possibility of forming a group to combat this gift-wasting phenomenon. I will call it "The Society for Rescuing Unwanted and Discarded Presents from the Island of Misfit Gifts", or "TSFRUADPFTIOMG" for short. As the future founder of TSFRUADPFTIOMG, I have bravely ventured into the island of misfit gifts (the occasional closet or storage area) and found some shocking treasures. For example, the ceramic chess set I made in 1983 (homemade ceramic chess board included) for my sister. Broken pieces of this set and a partial chess board were all that remained in her back bedroom closet. This set took six weeks of ceramics classes to create, plus the green ware, paint and firing costs. On the bottom of each piece you would have found the initials, CAM 1983. Why carve my initials and date into the bottom of each piece? Because an unsigned masterpiece will never gain in value. This is a piece of wisdom my ceramics teacher passed on to me, at no charge. Now, of course, this lost chess set (homemade ceramic board included) will never gain in value...

In previous years I have also ventured into the world of painting, only to find the paintings that I have given as gifts did not "match the decor" of the home to which the painting was given. Although never spoken aloud, this fact became obvious to me when year after year none of my paintings could be found on any walls in the home. To date, none of these original masterpieces have been located in the island of misfit gifts. I can only conclude that they may have been accidentally included in a yard sale of some kind. So, if you should ever happen across paintings signed by CAM 1989, CAM 1990, CAM 1991 or CAM 1992, be sure to keep them somewhere safe, where they will increase in value...

Currently, I have been working in needlecrafts. Actually, I have enjoyed needlepoint for about twenty years or more. Instead of working from store-bought kits, I choose to design my own pieces. I have a few projects that are consistently praised, followed by the question, "will you make one for me?" My answer is always, "sorry, I do not have the time". Translated, this means "sorry, but I have no intention of wasting my valuable time and money creating a gift of love that will be discarded the day after it is given. My time is better spent updating my needlepoint site, stitchopedia.com ...an encyclopedia of stitches." So, anyone out there anxiously awaiting a gift of needlework from me would be advised to visit my needlepoint site and learn the stitches needed to create their own needlepoint project. Just be sure to sign it with your initials and the date so that it will increase in value...

In conclusion, as the future founder of TSFRUADPFTIOMG, I believe it is my duty to prevent the further over population of gifts on the island of misfit gifts. Therefore, I will not be giving hand-made gifts this year. Wal-Mart, Sears, Amazon.com, here I come...

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