It’s the Thought That Counts

Over Thanksgiving dinner with the family, I made a very important announcement.

“I will be making all y’all homemade Christmas gifts this year.”

The conversation immediately ceased. Forks were suspended in mid-air and silence reined in the dining room.

“Yeah, I’m a crafter now,” I explained to my peeps. “That means someone who does crafts.”

“I do remember you posting something about cutting and gluing awhile back,” my mother-in-law offered.

“That was child’s play,” I said. “I’ve graduated to actually sewing stuff together using a needle and thread.”

“That’s wonderful, Rima!” my mother exclaimed. She’s always been my number one fan, and she’s been pushing for simple, grassroots Christmases for years.

Just to prove how serious I was, I explained that I’d made one test craft gift already, a present for a friend’s newborn.

“What did you make?” the family wanted to know.

“A teething ring,” I said.

“That’s interesting,” my mother mused. “And you sewed it, you said?”

“Yeah, I sewed up a tube out of some fabric scraps and stuffed a bunch of wooden beads in it separated by knots. And I sealed the whole shebang off with some hot glue, which has hopefully cooled off by now.”

“Did you say, ‘wooden beads’?”

“Yeah, all sewed up inside some fabric with a big old bow I hot glued to seal it shut.”

(Contemplative silence.)

“And the baby sucks on the fabric with the beads in it?” my aunt needed some clarification.


“That’s kind of gross.”

“Not to mention a choking hazard.”

All of a sudden I started feeling kind of bad about my handmade teething ring. I guessed it was probably not the optimal choice for a first attempt at a sewing craft, what with it being a potential choking hazard and all. My mother was still being pretty supportive about it, but I noticed that other people in the room – such as one of the Brothers-In-Dawg – was snickering over his digestif.

“You know what?” I said. “Forget it. As soon as my friend opens the package – which by the way I handcrafted – I’m going to intercept her and throw that stupid teething ring in the trash!”

“You wrapped it up already?” somebody asked. “Like you were actually going to give it to her?”

“Well, yeah. But forget it. I’m just going to rip that teething ring right out of my friend’s hands when she opens the package and throw it out!”

“Well, wait a minute, now, Rima,” someone offered. “You don’t have to throw it out.”

“Yeah, just tell the mom it’s a hood ornament.”

Well. I ended up gifting that teething ring, after all, but I told my friend that under no circumstances should she ever give it to her child. “It’s kind of a choking hazard,” I said.

She seemed to understand.

But I’m not giving up. I already made my friend V her handmade Christmas gift, and gifts for all Jonas’ teachers’, too. I also made a funky little flower pin which Twitter confirmed looks vaguely communistic (you can see it on my sidebar), so clearly no one will be getting that. I’ve been AWOL in blogland because what I do now is just wander up and down the aisles at Jo-Ann’s crafts, stalking the other crafter ladies to see what they have in their carts.

I would share some of my creations here with you, but they’re gifts, so it’s a surprise.

But just remember, family, when you open your Christmas gifts this year: It’s the thought that counts.

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9 thoughts on “It’s the Thought That Counts

  1. Audra

    Love it. I’m totally with you on the no blogging in return for more time to waste my few free minutes on etsy, and thinking up 100 different ways to supplement our lithuanian kids stuff. i currently have a pile of magazines, and some carboard gift boxes waiting to be turned into a “pasejau dobila” diorama. yup. i do. and a photo book i’ve been spending 2 hours a night on for A’s grandparents for Christmas, and ideas for making my own linoleum stamps with the characters from Du Gaideliai on them…..thank you, for letting me confess my awful secrets.

    1. Rima Post author

      Audra – those sound awesome! A “Pas?jau Dobil?” diorama and “Du Gaideliai” themed stamps? I would pay good money for that! I’ve been looking for interesting lugan craft blogs but so far not much luck. Most of them just have links to American stuff, anyway. I hope you post pictures of the stuff when it’s donw!

  2. Marta

    Haha. I love your idea for homemade presents, but yes I would definitely say wooden beads hot glued and knotted is definitely a choking hazard. Maybe a lovely bracelet for when the baby is older?

  3. Kat

    HAHAHA!!! You are awesome. It sure is the prettiest teething ring I’ve ever seen. For sure! ;)
    Seems we’ve all been missing from bloggyland these days. Just too many other “things” going on. Tis the season!

  4. Murr Brewster

    It is the thought that counts. I made all my family’s and a few friends’ presents every year for the last forty years. They got more and more involved all the time. The least amount of time I ever spent on one was about eight hours. Many were in the fifty- and sixty-hour category. Last year I suddenly ran out of ideas. I couldn’t come up with a thing, and I finally realized it was because I didn’t want to do it anymore. I told everybody and they all said it was fun while it lasted but they didn’t blame me a bit. Except for my sister, who says she still wants hers, so now I make One. It’s the thought that counts. And I think I’m all done.

  5. ginamonster

    We made our gifts for awhile. then my sister had an early baby so all the crafting she was working on had to stop. Then she had another one (on time) and I’m not sure she has time to do much of anything but keep the girls from dancing on the kitchen table. It’s a noble effort.
    I intend to make my gifts but the bulk of everything has to be done by Thanksgiving so I can’t procrastinate doing it until December in which case, I bought my gifts this year.

  6. April

    Great story Rima, I am sorry to hear that your relatives didn’t approve of your gift. It doesn’t mean they don’t approve and wasn’t impressed with your talents. I am glad you weren’t easily discouraged and for sure all your love ones will be impress with what you made for them this Christmas. Thank you for sharing and hope you can visit me at derivatives.

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