Friday, 14 November 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: By Hand

What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.


This morning I was attracted by some new orchids in the flower department of the local supermarket. It was a special offer and I have a thing for orchids. They bear flowers for at least two months and when the flowers go to the happy flower hunting grounds, you can keep the remainders, hoping that one day they will flower again. Now and again they do flower again, but in the meanwhile I have a green corner in the living room. They are mainly bug and virus free, do not smell and only need water once a week and some fertiliser once a month. What could go wrong? In the photo you can see my latest trophy bearing many buds showing the possible shape of things to come. I bought it myself. Of course, I could have said to Mr. Swiss

“I want that orchid.” and he could have answered

“I will buy you one”, but he asks himself what is the point, she will buy it herself.

Not that we are ignorant and avoid social pleasures of the day. It often happens that Mr. Swiss will return from an excursion to the local town and bring a small package of special hand made chocolates from the local chocolate confiserie, These are special chocolates, known as praliné and cost more than twice as normal chocolates, I love them and the gift is very much appreciated. Mr. Swiss loves them as well, so we share.

Giving presents have slowly come out of fashion in my family. If we really want something, we save and we buy it ourself. We have even stopped the Christmas present orgy. Why spend days walking around a crowded shopping mall, looking for something to give as a present? At the same time someone else is secretly doing the same thing and the day arrives when you give the wrapped presents saying “just what I wanted” when unpacking them, so why bother. We decided to rationalise the process. I don’t believe in christmas in any case, the only good thing being that the family might come together and eat a good meal. The human biology needs a few positive effects in life, something to look forward to.

I did not grow up in a do-it-yourself family. The talent was not present. Dad had some good ideas. I remember he once decided to re-organise part of the living room, where there was once a fire, but no longer, being boarded over. It was an old house, and real fires became extinct over the years. So dad had some colourful plastic remainders, known as formica. He cut out shapes of various colours, found some glue and did a sort of mosaic. Mum laughed, I asked if it was finished, and it was the last do-it-yourself job he ever did.

My mum and her sisters loved knitting, so it might often be that my cousins and I were presented with a new knitted pullover for Christmas, or our birthday. Not that we were ungrateful, but you could not play with a pullover or eat it, so these gifts were generally very much appreciated by the parents, knowing that the kids had something decent to wear which cost no money. We kids were not so happy, I had cousins and Aunt Lil knitted them two cardigans - they were twins.

“Oh, look boys they are nice.” said their mother.

“What’s that, Oh clothes” and the pullovers were thrown into a heap in the corner, while they were busy unpacking their favourite car or toy gun (yes these things were allowed at that time).

Swiss schools seem to be completely engrossed in teaching the kids to make things. It might be a book mark, a calendar, even something made of wood shavings which you do not really know what to do with. No problem, we parents pat the kids on the head, say “well done” and try to find a place in the home where it will be seen, but not too much. Shopping list holders are best of all, you can hang them in the kitchen.

Coming to a conclusion I do not remember with nostalgia or otherwise that I ever received anything handmade. Perhaps I did, but it made no big impression on my life.


  1. I don't think I've ever received a hand-made gift, not that I recall anyway, although I have received a hand-made Christmas card once or twice in the past. Had to laugh at the part about boys not being interested in clothes, preferring something more interesting like a gun or an airplane. I seem to remember that was definately me!! I hated getting clothes!!!