Teaching the Value of Handmade

write with moxie, teaching the value of handmade, Lisa Bacon

My 6 year old is an advertising companies dream. Every time she spots the next new plastic toy in between her cartoons, she proclaims that she just has to have it. Personally, I think they should ban toy commercials during kids shows but that is another post altogether! 😉

This year I made the decision to only buy her handmade gifts for Christmas. You see Santa Claus and his elves prefer to make gifts rather than buy them from Walmart…this is the subtle hint I have been giving her for a few months now and it seems to be working. I even managed to get my family on board and they plan to buy her only toys that are educational, handmade or made in the USA (baby steps here).

So how do you move away from the next new plastic junk that your kids need now but will be thrown out tomorrow?

Introduce your kids to handmade
I have been making things for Gia since she was little but I also like for her to see things that other people make. Let your children surf Etsy with you to see all of the treasures out there that are unique and different from the big box stores.

Stress the importance and story behind handmade items
There is a story behind every small business and maker. Explain to your children that handmade items are crafted with love and extra care versus being manufactured in a warehouse for the masses. A lot of times you can see behind the scenes photos or blogs showing how things are made. This is especially true during craft demonstrations at art fairs.

Get out and join in
Check out your local craft fairs and let your children see handmade items up close and personal. Most larger towns have seasonal festivals in the Spring, Fall and around Christmas.

With all of that said, you may have to start slowly…especially if you yourself are new to the handmade scene. That’s ok, it is the intention that counts!

Here are some gift ideas to get you started…

1. Baby Sock Monkey by LilHipsters
2. Crayon Take Along Wallet by Jody
3. Bunny Hand Puppet by busybusyfingers
4. Felt Food Set by itsthesmallthings
5. Sidewalk Paint by SidewalkSensations
6. Scavenger Hunt Card Set by blynkenandnod


  1. Great post! I love the line about the elves wanting to make toys rather than shop at Wal-mart! Each year I have my girls chose one special school friend to make a gift for, it is fun. And of course, Nanas and Papas love handmade items too. Are you on Pinterest? I’d love to add you as a contributor to this DIY Handmade Gift Ideas collaboration board:
    http://pinterest.com/zina/diy-handmade-gifts/ If you are interested email me and let me know! 🙂

  2. Jess says:

    Such cute gift ideas! As I sit here staring at the bald Waldorf doll I’m making for my daughter you’ve given me the enthusiasm I need to go spin some yarn for her hair!! 🙂

  3. jojoebi says:

    I always buy a handmade ornament for my son each Christmas and one of our traditions is taking them our, remembering which year each represents and talking about what happened that year and about the ornament itself.

    We don’t get much bombardment with ads as we live in japan and tend only to watch specific programs, we also have the advantage that family don’t buy cheap crap because they have to pay for the postage! we usually get asked if there is anything specific he wants – this year Lego was the only request, he will get a tonne of new books too.

  4. cinzia says:

    great post! i’ve been making gifts for a long time and I find that especially children do appreciate them. my nieces ask “what will you make me for my birthday this year?”. My kids always bring a handmade gift to teachers and to friends’ birthday parties. The reaction they get is that they are so unique. And they are proud that their mom is so talented. They are now satrting to make gifts themselves because they want to impress others too!

  5. I have quite a number of Christmas gifts to buy each year (two large families!)…many adult gifts as well as young and teenage children. I’ve been subtly sharing the value of handmade with many of them for a while now. I’m delighted to say that this year, each and every gift I have purchased is handmade!

    • Jessika says:

      I love hearing how you are all valuing handmade this year in your own ways! We have a small budget for Christmas every year because my DH’s birthday and mine are the week before! I aways feel so good about making gifts with the help of my girls and giving to family and friends a little bit of our hearts. I always budget to buy gifts from the handmade community online and locally too-it is an awesome feeling to know your $ is going to support a creative dream while also bringing something special into someone’s life.

      Lisa it is fabulous that you encourage family to buy gifts you will actually use-my family has finally gotten used to my “odd” requests that people shop locally, handmade or pass down something. Some of the best gifts we have gotten are an old set of Golden Books, handmade blankets & vintage clothes. Thankfully my mother & I had little money growing up and I always had a handmade holiday so most of my family is already on board. It makes opening presents so much more meaningful if you know what is inside was chosen & gifted with love!

  6. Helen says:

    I love this article! I always try to do a mainly handmade Christmas, and my kids usually love their gifts.
    I hadn’t realised that there are commercials played through On Demand TV programs so now my two kids keep talking about wanting American Girl Dolls… I have just switched to Netflix so they can watch occasional programs without advertising/ brainwashing, and I hope they fall in love with their handmade dolls instead.

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